SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Springfield community members gathered at the Springfield Elks Lodge on Saturday to honor the life and legacy of Alex Cotton. It’s been just over three years since Springfield resident Alex Cotton passed away following a short battle with pancreatic cancer.

In his memory, his family has created the Alex Cotton Memorial Fund Inc., with a goal of helping other families impacted by this diagnosis. The organization’s biggest fundraiser each year is the Memorial Ride and Barbecue which took place on Saturday.

“The proceeds go to families that are battling pancreatic cancer, because when you’re trying to recover, and just trying to take care of yourself, you want to minimize stress factors and one of them is financial. So, we try to help as many families as we can each year,” expressed Kidon Gebersadik, the President of the Alex Cotton Memorial Fund Inc.

Cotton was an avid motorcycle rider. A passion he shared among his family and friends.

“You know, we’re just here to support him and his family,” expressed Springfield resident Noel Rodriguez, “He’s greatly missed.”

According to the American Cancer Society, pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US and about 7% of all cancer deaths. This cancer also disproportionately affects Black Americans.

Kidon Gebersadik told 22News, “The main thing is, just being aware of how high the numbers are in the African-American community, and it doesn’t hurt to get a screening.”

The day’s events featured raffles and food, along with a tribute to Alexander “A.J.” Cotton who was Alex Cotton’s son. He was murdered in Springfield back in April and with such tragedy hitting the Cotton family, loved ones are grateful for all the support.

“So, seeing people come out, they don’t even know my dad, never got a chance to meet him,” expressed Gebersadik, “It’s very heartwarming, it really makes me happy and we’re going to continue this, and I’m sure my dad is very happy as well.”

Kaelee Collins is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Kaelee on X @kaelee_collins and view her bio to see more of her work.