Steamboat Springs Longtime Steamboat Springs resident Jesse James “Buddy” Romero was hit with troubling news in October after suffering a seizure in his home.
Following a CAT scan and an MRI, Romero learned he had a grade 2 astrocytoma brain tumor and stage 2 brain cancer.
The tumor was removed, but Romero’s battle to regain his health was only beginning.
“I did six weeks straight of radiation and chemotherapy,” said Romero, who has lived in Steamboat most of his life.
As the sole provider for his wife and two young children, including a 9-year old son with muscular dystrophy and an 8-year-old daughter, Romero was forced to take off work following his diagnosis, leading his employer and coworkers at Neste Auto Glass to spring into action.
Company owner Jeff Sexton helped get Romero a reliable car to travel to appointments in Denver, and coworkers started a GoFundMe page to help the family keep up with rent and everyday living expenses.
And, in anticipation of Romero’s slow return to work in the future, staff at Neste Auto Glass have also transformed part of their building into “Buddy’s Hobby Hut,” a remote-controlled car, truck and drone store they envision Romero running.
“We put in shelving and fixtures and got some cars, trucks and drones,” Sexton said. “We’ll sell as well as fix them.”
Romero said he is thankful his coworkers, who include his brother, would do so much for him and his family.
“It means a lot to me that they would make something like a hobby hut for me to be able to keep me around while I’m not able to work,” Romero said. “I’m so honored.”
Romero starts a new round of chemotherapy Monday, which is expected to continue the next 12 months.
Sexton said Romero and his brother have worked for Neste Auto Glass more than 15 years, adding it made sense to help Romero and his family in any way possible.
“Buddy has been here for 15 years, and you just get totally attached,” Sexton said. “He’s had a lot of bad luck lately.”
Buddy’s Hobby Hut is located at Neste Auto Glass, 3162 Elk River Road.
A GoFundMe page for Romero and his family can be found by searching the site for “Funds for a father of two” or typing gofundme.com/jesse-romeros-medical-funds.
To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow