Winning a 1971 Dodge Charger 500 has been an answered prayer for an Acampo woman suffering from liver cancer.
Pat Munoz, 65, won the car last weekend in a raffle organized by members of Ebenezer Church. She said she plans to sell it to help pay for her medical expenses, which include copays, medication and travel expenses to various Kaiser Permanente campuses and affiliates.
She said she didn’t know how much in bills she has to pay, but selling the car will definitely help. It is valued at more than $19,000, according to www.hagerty.com, an online classic car price guide.
When Munoz first learned she had won the Charger in a raffle last weekend, she thought it was a joke. She purchased one $10 ticket for the raffle, not expecting to win.
“When things are for charity, and especially for children, I usually do something to help,” she said. “But I knew I wasn’t going to win.”
Munoz was in Corning visiting family when her son received a text message stating she had won the car. She didn’t believe it until she was flooded with calls and texts from friends.
The Charger was part of a huge raffle at the BBVA Compass Bank at 1150 W. Kettleman Lane last Saturday to help raise funds for Ebenezer Church and the charities it helps, including the One-Eighty Teen Center and Lodi House. MacKenzie Freed, Miss San Joaquin County 2013, drew the winning raffle ticket for the vehicle at 2 p.m. out of a large bucket.
Another reason Munoz bought the ticket was because not only was the car a Charger, but she is a lifelong fan of the San Diego Chargers. She even has a tattoo on her right wrist of the lightning bolt the team sports on its white helmets.
Coincidentally, her team beat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 on Sunday to head to the NFL playoffs. The Chargers play the Cincinnati Bengals this coming Sunday.
“I was so excited when they won,” she said. “I won the car, then the Chargers won, now they’re headed to the playoffs and the Super Bowl.”
Donated by a Lodi resident, the car has a rebuilt V-8 engine, new paint and dashpad cover, bucket seats, new stereo, carpet and headliner, among other features.
Parts were donated by S&A Auto Sales, Pine Auto Supply and Graffigna Bros.
Munoz, a breast cancer survivor of more than 10 years, learned she had cancer again when doctors found a tumor on her liver last January.
She was devastated to learn she was diagnosed with cancer after already beating it once, she said.
“I knew I wouldn’t make it, because people just don’t,” she said.
However, Munoz was put on a waiting list for a liver transplant through Kaiser Permanente shortly after her diagnosis.
In the search for a living donor, her family spread the word of her situation on social media sites like Facebook. She said within days two friends from church stepped forward to offer their livers.
She said now it’s a matter of waiting for them to be screened and approved for the procedure. She will learn if the donors have be cleared by the end of January, she said, and she hopes to have the transplant done by March.
“I was just thanking the Lord when I won (the car),” she said. “This was just an answer to my prayers. I’m still in shock though. It still doesn’t seem real and I’m still on cloud nine.”
Chuck Webber, co-organizer of Saturday’s raffle, did not yet know exactly how much had been raised. Sixty percent of the funds raised will help the church, and 20 percent will be used to help charities including the San Joaquin AIDS Foundation in Stockton, Court Appointed Special Advocates for Child Abuse and Foster Care in Modesto, Galt Rotary Club, Real Men’s Club of Galt and Shepherd’s Gate in Livermore and Brentwood.
The final 20 percent of the funds raised will go toward next year’s raffle, which Weber said will be a Richard Petty Tribute car.
Proceeds from next year’s raffle will benefit Victory Junction, Petty’s year-round camp for children ages 6 to 16 with chronic medical conditions or serious illnesses.
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at firstname.lastname@example.org.