Published in the May 23 – June 5, 2018 issue of Morgan Hill Life

Amgen Tour of California’s time trials May 16 was a cycling success for the South Valley. And Morgan Hill’s Lisa Aragon, a 13-year cancer survivor and chair of the city’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Group, fired the starting gun at the May 16 time trial.

Aragon was chosen to participate in the official start on behalf of the company’s “Breakaway from Cancer” initiative, which aims to increase awareness of resources available to people impacted by cancer, from prevention through survivorship. The longtime resident and Anritsu employee was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005, at the age of 41. Now 54, she has become increasingly active in the community since she became cancer-free.

We love your spirit, Lisa!

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Some “guest stars” performed in the South Valley Civic Theatre’s most recent youth show “Annie Jr.” Morgan Hill Mayor Steve Tate, Gilroy’s culinary legend Gene Sakahara, Jonathan Spencer, Jay Hanson and Alan Chipman and Morgan Hill Life Publisher Marty Cheek played the role of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the end of the musical play.

They helped Annie put away the bad guys and find a family at the end of each performance.

“Why an adult in a youth production? We felt it would give more stature to the role of a famous president for our cast and the viewing audience,” director Kathy Tom told us. “FDR is such an icon in our nation’s history, so we wanted to underscore that by doing something that would immediately catch the audience’s attention.”

The cast of child from throughout the region were excited every night to see who would be joining them on stage, so there has been a very positive energy there, she said.

Spencer performed at the May 6 afternoon matinee. He has Niemann Pick Type C, a terminal genetic illness, and at that show the SVCT held a raffle to benefit his health foundation, Johnathan’s Dreams.

“Johnathan’s family has been part of our SVCT family for many years, so we felt it would be another fitting way to give back to our South Bay community,” Tom said.

Cheek said he enjoyed playing the role of the wheel-chair bound FDR, who became handicapped from polio. “He was an extraordinary man, who took the nation through a decade of the Great Depression as well as fearlessly facing the fascism of Europe,” he said. “It was an honor to portray him. That’s the closest I ever want to get to being POTUS.”

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Carol Sanford loves seeing her granddaughter Bevin Sellers dance. And she was very impressed with seeing the senior and all the other Sobrato High School actors performing in the musical “Chicago” recently.

“All the lead actors were extremely strong singers and seemed to push each other to greater heights with each song,” Sanford told us. “I learned afterward that many plan to pursue performing careers in college.”

We, too, love seeing the arts come alive and our young people shine on the stage.

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The Rotary Club of Morgan Hill is helping its sister club in Ameca, Mexico, by sending that community what Rotarian Peter Anderson described as a “mountain” of medical supplies from St. Louise Regional Hospital. The members worked on Saturday May 12 at the De Paul Health Center packing the supplies to ship to people who could use them.

“Much of the supplies they can’t use because the packaging has passed its ‘shelf life,’” Anderson said. “Even though they may have expired, essentially all of the supplies remain sterile because the packaging is secure and they have been stored properly.

The hospital contacted the Rotary club to see if members could receive some of the supplies. They know that whenever they travel to visit Ameca, a small town outside of Guadalajara, they take extra suitcases of expired supplies for their Red Cross and their local hospital — both of which suffer chronic and dire shortages of every type of medical supplies.


Gavilan College Nursing School was also there to take whatever supplies they can use for their educational program. There was also a group that does humanitarian service in Haiti and a group from the RotaCare clinic in Gilroy, a Rotary organization that operates a free clinic one evening a week.

“We must have packed up at least 100,000 medical devices, materials or supplies,” Anderson said.

The Rotarians thank Marty Laguna (materials manager), Luciano Costa (facilities manager) and John Hennelly (CEO)  of St. Louise Regional Hospital.  And a huge Thank You to the local Bekins moving company for donating dozens of packing boxes.  And a huge Thank You to Cochrane Self Storage for loaning us a temporary, unused locker to store our boxes in until we get Mexican customs clearance for shipping.

We’re sure the people of Ameca also appreciate receiving the supplies for their health care needs.


Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at
Robert Airoldi