Community holds dinner, auction for beloved coach, family man

Heather Nyberg-Schlotzhauer

Beacon Correspondent

On Saturday at the Riverlodge in Fortuna community members will gather to support a local hero to youth in his battle with cancer. Team Ed Houseworth is holding a dinner and auction to help support the longtime coach and youth supporter with his battle with cancer by raising money to help offset the seemingly endless expenses associated with the disease.

For ticket information you contact "Team Ed Houseworth" on Facebook, the Scotia Inn, or Jodi Cook at 499-1111 to check for availability.

Tickets are $50 for a tri-tip dinner catered by the Scotia Inn and an entry into the door prize. There will be a full no-host bar with cocktails beginning at 5 p.m., dinner at 6:30 p.m. with the live auction to follow.

There are around 90 donations for the auctions that range from overnight stays to concert tickets with everything in between. For those who can't say no to puppy eyes there will be a black lab up for auction. Items such as massages, fire and light, rafting trips, car detailing, gym memberships, photography sessions, candles, birdhouses, and many more will make up the live, Dutch and silent auctions.

Ed "Eddie" Houseworth and his wife Karen met through mutual friends and married in 1999. Only nine short years later in 2008, the Houseworths would be rocked by the news he had cancer as the couple were settling into their life with three beautiful children -- Abby (12), Emma (10), and Jake (6).

There were no symptoms for the athlete, just the nudge of a wife wanting the father of her three children to get a routine colonoscopy. Ed Houseworth agreed and had the procedure. His wife sat in the waiting room eager to take her husband home after a routine procedure, but instead was approached by his doctor with news of a tumor.

For Ed the hardest thing was telling the loves of his life alongside his soul mate that he had cancer.

"It was so hard to see my oldest daughter's reaction," said Karen Houseworth. "She was so stunned and scared. It was such an emotional time for all of us."

When the Houseworths look over the past five years and the growth and strength of their children the pride flows out of them along with some tears.

"Abby has been such a mother hen through all of this process," Karen Houseworth said. "Even at the initial surgery at only 8 years old she was by Ed's side feeding him ice chips, straightening his hospital room, and helping him get out of bed."

Chemotherapy has been a grueling process for Ed Houseworth. After initial surgery to remove the tumor, six months of chemo, clean scans, and then again in late 2010 the cancer had returned to his lymph nodes. Chemo would begin again in January 2011 for five months and then clean scans until his blood work began to change in early 2012.

At this point doctors were on to the returning lymph-node cancer and opted to remove the lymph node in April 2012. In late 2012 the cancer returned and so did the now third round of chemotherapy in November 2012. After another span of chemo the doctors decided the patient should stay on a revised treatment bringing the cocktail down to one instead of the normal five for an undetermined length of time. So every Friday, Ed Houseworth undergoes chemo.

"Ed is such a nice caring person," said Karen Houseworth. "It cracks me up when he is in treatment and he will be asking his nurse if she has had lunch yet or a break. He will tell her he will be fine and to take care of her needs, "said Karen.

Ed Houseworth is well known for easygoing nature and athleticism. He is a teacher and coach and loves to be active. This is something that he says he fights to get back to full-time against the wishes of the energy-depleting chemotherapy drugs he has been taking off and on for five years. He had taken three leaves of absence from work due to his illness, but has been able to go back part-time to what he loves.

The community is coming together not only to raise money to help the family with expenses due to ongoing medical bills, loss of wages, and traveling to doctors but to show Ed "Eddie" "Coach" Houseworth that he is loved beyond words and donations.

"I choke up even thinking about all the support we have gotten," Karen Houseworth said. "So many people love him. Our family had been our solid rock support. Our friends have delivered meals, watched our kids, cleaned house, driven Ed to appointments, and sent card of encouragement," Karen said.

"We are so blessed," Ed Houseworth said. "We are so grateful for everyone that has opened their hearts to us."

Photo by Andra Stringer Photography