I can’t remember ever meeting a more impressive person than Heriberto “Eddie” Avila, whom I wrote about in today’s newspaper. But Hononegah’s wrestlers, coaches and parents didn’t even have to meet Avila to support him. The Hononegah wrestling family flooded Avila, who had his left leg amputated after a freak wrestling injury Jan. 12, with get-well cards and raised $1,000 for his benefit fund. Hononegah knows how to support other wrestlers, in part, because Hononegah senior wrestler Matt Rader is fighting leukemia and has been helped out by the Make A Wish Foundation, among others.
“We don’t know him at all,” former Hononegah wrestling coach Marty Kaiser, who now helps run Hononegah’s youth program, said of Avila. “But we’ve had tragedy and issues in our own program, with Matt Rader fighting leukemia.
“We know what tragedy is. We know when people need help. There will never be a time that something happens to a kid in the area that we won’t help.”
I wish I had been at the NIC-10 wrestling meet Saturday. Belvidere North coach Gary Thacker said Avila was able to come home for one day for a visit and received an incredible welcome from the entire wrestling community when he made an appearance at the NIC-10 tournament.
You can read the incredible story about the unbelievable upbeat attitude of Heriberto “Eddie” Avila after having his leg amputated here. To donate to a benefit fund, call Belvidere North wrestling Gary Thacker at 815-721-9880 or -email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.