When Colorado cannabis industry executive Jason Margolies passed away in August, it was more of a "see you later" instead of a full "goodbye" for many of his friends and loved ones. And Margolies is still bringing people together.
The Kickin' Cancer's Ass Jason Margolies Golf Tournament will return for a second year on Monday, October 14. Originally founded by Margolies's friends to help him cover the cost of his fight against stage-four colon cancer, the charity golf tournament is now held in his name to help others fighting disease pay for their medical bills.
For Jason's brother, Ari Margolies, the tournament is a chance to meet some of the people Jason impacted the most. "It was all too short. He loved a lot of people, and they loved him," he says.
Ari and Jason had been estranged for several years after a soured business venture, he says, but the tone of their relationship shifted during Jason's illness. The Margolies brothers were united again — and by that point, that's all that mattered, Ari explains.
"No one knew what the outcome was going to be. We were looking for answers. He needed chemotherapy to live, but the chemo would've killed him. So we moved him to hospice," Ari remembers. "And even in all the pain he was going through — knowing he was going to die — he's asking me if there is anything he can do to help with a rental scam I'd just been through."
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Since Jason's passing, Ari has met several of his brother's friends and colleagues in the cannabis industry. So far, those connections have been extremely difficult...but also necessary, he says. During a recent Sensi Magazine event in Denver for the cannabis industry, Ari almost broke down after encountering some of Jason's closest friends.
"I went back in the car, and I wanted to go home. I just didn't know if I could do it. But I did, and I met so many nice people. I'll go through the same thing on Monday," he says. "I definitely have a lot of anxiety, but it helps with closure. I'll get to meet the people he allowed in his life."
People like Kevin Sterbakov, a friend and occasional roommate of Jason's for over seven years, as well as an executor of his will. According to Sterbakov, Jason was one of the main reasons that Green Dot Labs hired him for his current courier position.
"I got into working there because of Jason," he remembers. "I was driving Uber for a while, and Jason went to work for Green Dot, so I started doing some deliveries, and then they offered me the job."
Sterbakov and plenty of others in the cannabis industry will be at Englewood's Meridian Golf Club on October 14, including representatives of sponsors such as A Cut Above dispensary, Grassroots clothing, Incredibles and Green Dot Labs, Jason's former employer.
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According to event organizer Amy Sharpe, who was also a close friend of Jason's, proceeds from this year's tournament will benefit three individuals with steep medical bills related to Lyme disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders.
"The exciting part is that we have so many sponsors who jumped in," she says. "It's overwhelming, the impact Jason had on this industry. It's mind-blowing that one individual had the impact that he did. Everyone always says how he's the nicest guy, and how he pushed them to do better."
In addition to the golf tournament, there will be driving and putting challenges, raffles and more activities for those who don't want to swing clubs all day. Cannabis use will also be allowed on the course, according to Sharpe, as the event is privately ticketed and only open to guests who are at least 21.
The cost is $220 for a single entry; $1,000 for a team of four and $42 for a spectator. Find out more and register here.