COSTA MESA — When Dan Chirilov received an e-mail from his longtime friend and co-worker inviting him to play golf at a special event, he turned down the invitation.
"I said, 'Why are you sending me this? I don't play golf. I don't have time for golf,'" said Chirilov, a used vehicle director for 15 auto dealerships in Southern California.
The sender of that e-mail, General Manager Lew Beshoff of Prime Auto Auction in Carson, reacted with a volley of flustered exclamations — Chirilov had just been accidentally notified of a surprise fundraiser by the event organizer himself.
Beshoff organized a golfing fundraiser at the Costa Mesa Country Club to benefit Chirilov's 5-year-old grandson, who was diagnosed with Wilms' tumor, a rare cancer of the kidneys that typically appears in children 6 months old.
Since the first surgery, which removed an avocado-sized tumor along with his kidney, the young Daniel has had multiple tumors removed and been in and out of chemotherapy — the last session so aggressive it wiped out his immune system.
Daniel is in isolation in a hospital in Northern California so his immune system can rebuild itself. So far, medication has been successful in repairing his remaining kidney and elevating his blood count, Chirilov said.
The golf fundraiser organized by Beshoff, with the approval of the AutoNation chain of car dealerships, will donate 100% of the proceeds to Daniel's treatment.
Although this is an instance of a company taking care of its own, it's not something done for all employees, Beshoff said.
"There (are) a lot of suffering families out there with heartbreak, unfortunately," he said, adding that AutoNation has more than 30,000 employees.
Teams of four players, all AutoNation employees, will tee off July 14.
The event will be followed by dinner and a live auction of donated items, which also will fundraise for Daniel's treatment.
"I didn't think that there were people out there who cared," Chirilov said of finding out about the large response from AutoNation employees.
Due to space constraints, event attendance is limited to participants and their families — most of whom are well know to Chirilov through his employer.
"It's going to be a very emotional day, especially for Dan," Beshoff said. "I'm going to have to tell him, 'Buck up, man. Look at all the people who are here for you.'"
How To Help
This event is closed to the public. However, donations to 5-year-old Daniel Chirilov can be made by contacting Lew Beshoff, general manager of Prime Auto Auction, at (562) 577-6411 or email@example.com.