Damon Owen loved baseball.
He was a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and grew up cheering for the University of Missouri. His passion and drive led him to play baseball at both St. Louis Community College’s Meramec campus and later Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville.
While in college, he met Amy Jorgensen, a 1996 Panorama high school graduate and the daughter of Dennis and Kay Jorgensen, longtime pharmacy owners in Panora and Lake Panorama residents. The young couple married on August 25, 2001.
On October 13, 2007, Damon passed away after fighting thymus cancer for almost four years. He was 30 years old. The couple’s daughter, Kendall, was almost two at the time.
Today, Amy and Kendall live in Platte City, Missouri, with their family, including Amy’s husband Joe Johnson and two more children, Kiernan, 3, and Kase, 1. Amy works as a freelance graphic designer and runs her business, KenKier Designs.
And while she’s busy raising a young family, and working, she felt a pull to start a charity. As Panorama principal Mark Johnston, who died this past year, had battled with cancer and others close to Amy in Kansas City had been touched by the disease as well, she felt a nudge to do something.
“Ever since Damon passed, I’ve wanted to do something to honor him and remember him,” Amy said. “Kendall doesn’t remember him, and I would like something more than pictures for her to hold on to.” Amy said she thought about joining with an already existing local charity. But she decided that to honor Damon, she had to do it on her own, so she created Damon’s Rally Cap Charity.
The charity is dedicated to providing assistance and hope to those affected — either directly or indirectly — by cancer through monetary donations, meals and other forms of support.
“Damon was so active and loved baseball, so it was fitting to go with something baseball related,” Amy said of the Rally Cap theme. She recalled a time when Damon threw batting practice to the Panorama baseball team when his brother-in-law Brian Jorgensen played for the Panthers.
It means a lot to Amy and her family to get the charity up and running.
“I am excited to help other people, and Kendall’s excitement is fun to watch,” Amy said. “My hope is for her to take it over someday.”
A Charity Kick-Off Benefit is planned for Saturday, July 16 from 6-10 p.m. at Seven Bridges Clubhouse in Platte City, Missouri. Tickets are $25 each or $185 per table of eight. Sponsorships are available, and silent auction donations are being accepted.
“So many people I know have been affected by this horrible disease, and only those close really know what it is like,” Amy said. “I realize everyone is different, but what I know from what I went through is every day is filled with ups and downs. It is awful to watch someone you love hurt — it is hard on everyone.”
Damon’s Rally Cap Charity will work to ensure individuals and families affected by cancer won’t have to fight alone, she said.
“We understand the devastation that surrounds a cancer diagnosis, and we want to help those battling this disease rally with hope,” Amy said. “Every person and family impacted by cancer deserves their own cheering section.”
There are several ways for people to get involved with the charity. You can donate by visiting www.damonsrallycap.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I remember what it was like, and every little gesture people made was so appreciated,” Amy said. “Things as simple as a visit, to bringing over dinner … it really is great to know someone is thinking about you. We’re here to rally with you.”
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