Mahala Velasquez, Grade Tech’s Office Manager, is celebrating her fifth anniversary with the company this month. Her hard work and dedication helps to keep Grade Tech operating smoothly. To recognize Mahala, Grade Tech has made a donation to an organization that is close to her heart – Ink Against Cancer – Cancer Warriors Foundation. The grassroots organization unites national, statewide and local tattoo artists to raise cancer awareness and provide assistance to individuals, especially children, and their families who are facing cancer.
The charitable contribution is part of Grade Tech’s “giving back” program which supports the local community by celebrating employees’ work anniversaries (after the first 3 years of employment) by making annual donations to the employees’ “charities of choice.” This is the second donation that Grade Tech has made to Ink Against Cancer in honor of Mahala.
Mahala has been volunteering for the local 501c3 non-profit organization for 3 years. Her passion for helping the organization has grown from personal experience of seeing cancer take the lives of those she loves. “This organization means so much to me because I have had family members struggle through all the hardships of cancer and have lost some wonderful people because of it,” she explains.
Mahala and her daughter, Gabi got involved with the organization through an association with the organization’s founders, Hilde and Jay Koenig. The couple, who are the parents of Gabi’s best friend, Brian, began their charitable endeavor by handing out food to homeless people who stayed in a downtown park. When the couple’s friend, Austin Monty “Wolf” Bell, was diagnosed with cancer, however, they shifted their focus to raising money to help ease the financial burden that cancer was having on him. Unfortunately, Wolf passed away before the first fund raiser took place. To honor their friend’s memory, Hilde and Jay formed the local non-profit organization to help others facing the same struggles.
Mahala and Gabi moved from helping hand out food to fighting cancer by volunteering at the organization’s events, the largest of which is the annual Ink Against Cancer fund raiser. The 4th annual event this year will be a little different from past years, due to the new normal and social distancing guidelines. But they feel it is more important than ever to come together to support cancer warriors and their families. This year they will have an online auction, tattoos and more.
Mahala explained that she understands the financial and emotional impact cancer can have on families and that those struggles – coupled with her admiration for the Koenig family – motivates her to stay involved.
“It means a lot to me because the family that runs the non-profit are amazing and truly the most loving and giving people I know,” she said. “I try to help with any or all of the various events because there are so many people, including children, who struggle with cancer, and financial issues shouldn’t be something that they have to worry about.”
Mahala hopes that the foundation and events continue to grow so that she and her fellow volunteers can touch more people and continue to make a difference for those suffering from cancer and the emotional and financial hardships that result from fighting the disease.
Everyone at Grade Tech applauds Mahala and her mission to “Ink Out” cancer. We thank her for her dedication to our company and support her mission to help those in need.
To donate to Ink Against Cancer you can use the QR Code Below!