SANTA CRUZ—David Rose was a local renowned general surgeon who passed away nearly two years ago.
His former colleague and close friend George Mendoza couldn’t do anything to honor him due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
On Saturday, he’ll get a chance to pay tribute to his former golfing buddy, and fantasy football competitor, at DeLaveaga Golf Course during a memorial golf tournament being held for Rose.
“This is very important to me,” Mendoza said. “He meant a lot to the community but also he was such a kind man, great friend.”
Mendoza, who is an anesthesia technologist, worked with Rose for several years.
The 40-year-old Watsonville native said Rose was someone who would listen to what people had to say or do something spontaneous like going out to dinner.
“He’s just one of those great guys who would think of you when you wouldn’t think he’d be thinking of you,” Mendoza said. “Just an all-around great guy, he was awesome.”
Mendoza teamed up with Santa Cruz Fantasy Football League Foundation president Marc DesChesnes—who also worked with Rose—to put together a golf tournament.
“I’m glad we got together, we spoke about it and we made this thing happen,” Mendoza said. “It’s just going to be one great event in honor of [Rose].”
The tournament will feature 128 players and about 25 volunteers to help run the event that will include a bagpipe player to perform for the crowd.
“Because he loved the bagpipe, he loved golf and he loved football,” DesChesnes said. “So we put all that together.”
The golf tournament was also a chance for DesChesnes, who’s been a cardiac nurse for the past 30 years, to raise funds for his friend who has a 7-year-old son with 22q Deletion syndrome.
22q is a disorder caused by a small missing piece of the 22nd chromosome, according to the 22q Family Foundation website.
The website said that “This tiny missing portion of chromosome 22 can affect every system in the human body. 22q can be the cause of nearly 200 mild to serious health and developmental issues in children.”
22q Family Foundation also reports that it is believed to be the second most common genetic disorder behind Down syndrome.
“Everybody gives money to the trisomic and to the Down syndrome people, which is totally great,” DesChesnes said. “But the 22q didn’t get anything.”
And what started off as a friendly fantasy football league with co-workers transformed into Santa Cruz Fantasy Football League.
The SCFFL now features eight legacy leagues with 112 players who have connections within the community.
DesChesnes recently turned the league into a 501(c) (3) organization. They are now known as the SCFFL Foundation, which is committed to helping better the lives of children, youth groups and school programs in the community.
The 54-year-old Quebec native said it was a three-month process. However, he also had enormous help from Dominican Hospital co-worker and Watsonville native Jardine Wilson.
“One of the things that [Wilson] brings to us is that he connects people, as well,” DesChesnes said.
DesChesnes said he’s managed to morph what he thought was a side project into what he calls a “huge beast”.
“The whole idea is to help alleviate some of the pain and needs that the children have,” he said. “It’s mostly for children.”
DesChesnes—who has three daughters and a stepson—wants to show his kids the exemplary thing to say is if they have enough of one thing, they can share with others.
Meanwhile, the fantasy football managers have bought into plan with no questions asked.
“The idea was not very hard to sell to the guys,” he said. “I want to help this kid and we both worked with Dave Rose.”
SCFFL has organized everything from a mini 36-player golf tournament to softball and flag football tournaments.
This year the group decided to put together a much bigger golf tournament that would include a fundraiser.
“We got to be able to do something much better than just hanging out, watch football and drink beer, pay money for it,” DesChesnes said. “Let’s raise money for the kids and sure enough, we all got together.”
The group began raising funds last year starting with a Super Bowl pool. DesChesnes didn’t want to get stuck with paying more taxes so he created the non-profit organization.
SCFLL was able to get set up at DeLaveaga Golf Course. DesChesnes got companies such as Dominican and Sutter to agree to sponsor holes on the course.
DesChesnes also got others such as the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Santa Cruz Warriors, San Jose Sharks, San Francisco Giants, San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Athletics to donate to the fundraiser.
He believes they’re going to hit more than $20,000 in donations from nearly 40 sponsors including local businesses such as Deluxe Foods of Aptos, Maunel’s Mexican Restaurant and Todal Fitness in Santa Cruz.
“I thought at first I would raise about $4-5,000 and we’re up to $20,000,” DesChesnes said. “If we had a little more time, we would’ve hit a little bit bigger.”
The money will be split with half going to the 22q foundation, while the other half will go to David Rose Foundation for The Children’s Center.
SCFLL is putting together a raffle and a silent auction that’s paired with the golf tournament. Some items include a one-of-a-kind wooden sculpture carved by a local artist and a basketball signed by the 2019-20 team.
In the fall, the group plans on having a Texas Hold ‘Em Poker tournament to help raise money for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County.
DesChesnes plans to go all-out next year. He anticipates 256 golfers and numerous sponsors including Sutter, Dominican and Santa Cruz Warriors committed to donate again.
He also has plans to put blood sugar machines in all the schools in Santa Cruz and Pajaro Valley Unified School District.
“My wife is a librarian at Amesti this year, so I want to get more involved toward Watsonville, as well,” he said.
DesChesnes said he just wants to be part of a community where people are willing to give to others who are still in need. His job is to let the donors know his foundation gives them the opportunity to do so.
“If you give the opportunity for people to give, they will be generous and give,” he said. “There are many options out there but not all options are managed the same way, or presented the same way.”