After two years of being unable to host our traditional Sheepherders Ball, we are excited to resume our traditions. As you may know, the Sheepherders Ball and Lamb Auction is the primary source of funding for the Basque Foundation’s charity account. The first Sheepherders Ball was held in 1929 after John Archabal convinced two Basque men’s organizations to combine their annual Christmas dances into one unified event. The idea was to have an annual dance for Basques and in 1974 the Sheepherders ball was open to the public and Basil and Dorothy Bicandi Aldecoa donated a lamb for the annual lamb auction for charity. The Basque Foundation Charities has benefited ever since from the Sheepherders Ball and Lamb Auction.

This annual event is a great opportunity to help the Basque community support families in need. The majority of funds raised from the Sheepherders Ball is reserved for a primary beneficiary each year, while the remainder is shared amongst others in need. This year’s primary recipient is Angie Dennis. Angie is the mother of two, Chloe and Paytan Dennis, who are members of Euzkaldunak, The Basque Foundation.

In June of 2021, Angie, who is 48 years old, was having abdominal pain and went to seek medical treatment. There was a large mass found in her liver that was likely cancerous. Further testing revealed it was a rare liver cancer and she was referred to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. In September of 2021 she underwent complete surgical resection/removal of the tumor and was officially diagnosed with Intrahepatic Cholangiocarcinoma which is a very rare bile duct liver cancer. There are about 8,000 new cases a year for the US population and it is found in .7 people per 100,000.

Angie began chemo shortly after to help ensure it wouldn’t spread further, unfortunately, the cancer returned six months later in March of 2022 and was classified as stage 4 in June of 2022. They have tried chemo again with no luck and it has continued to spread.

Due to the rarity of the cancer, there is uncertainty in treatment. Additionally due to her inability to meet the hourly requirement at her job, she lost her health insurance benefits in September and is now paying out of pocket to keep her health insurance to cover the cost of treatment with hopes to prolong her time. Since the nature of the cancer is so rare, she has also had to face the challenge of traveling every 9-12 weeks to Mayo clinic which adds on the cost of airfare, hotels, and transportation for her and the family member accompanying her, on top of paying for insurance, medical bills, treatment, and prescriptions while being out of work. To add to the financial stress Angie has applied for disability but has yet to receive it. This has been financially and emotionally draining for her and her family. The hope is she is now on a recently approved targeted treatment option with the potential to slow the spread of the cancer and growth of the tumors. With your help and support, we can make this year’s auction one of the best to help Angie and her family through this difficult year. Donations are tax deductible and can be made via the following methods:

  1. Go to the Sheepherders donation website to make a donation via credit card: www.basquecenter.com/donate/
  2. Drop off a donation at the Basque Center
  3. Send a check to the Basque Foundation Charities:
    • Basque Foundation, Inc
    • Sheepherders Ball
    • 601 W Grove St.
    • Boise, ID 83702

Your generous donation to the Basque Foundation, Inc. will help ease the family’s financial burden during this long and difficult journey and allow them to focus on spending precious time together and support Angie in her fight against this rare cancer.

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