COMMUNITY SAYS ‘EFF CANCER’ AGAIN WITH OVERSEAS’ MARK BELILE DAY

Mark Belile, left, and his wife Charlene Sprinkle Belile together have more than 50 years of service with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office. CONTRIBUTED

At this point, the willingness of the staff at Overseas Pub and Grill to step in and help a community member in need has become a hallmark of the Marathon eatery and watering hole.

But ask any of them, and this one hits a little differently.

In another “eff cancer” effort, Saturday, Jan. 21 is set to become Mark Belile Day at Overseas. A retired 32-year veteran of the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Army, Sgt. Belile and his family are battling Mark’s rare diagnosis: stage IV neuroendocrine pancreatic cancer that has now metastasized to his liver. While Mark has undergone intense rounds of chemotherapy, the family is now, in their words, “praying for a miracle,” and has already pulled more than $19,000 from their savings to cover medical expenses. 

Upon hearing of the family’s fight, bar manager Andy Sharf knew it was time to break out his signature rallying cry on Facebook: “It’s that time again!”

As they have so many times before, Overseas’ bar staff will donate all their tips from the day to the Belile family. A silent auction until 10 p.m. with around 70 items up for bid – by Sharf’s estimation, his largest ever – will include items from boat repair certificates to helicopter and jet ski tours, fishing charters and AirBNB stays, cumulatively valued upwards of $50,000. Another round of “F*** cancer” koozies donated by Ryan Schraffenberger’s Promotions Guy are already on sale, with all proceeds going directly to the Beliles. 

Local musicians and DJs including the 79th Street Band and DJ FIJI will provide the musical backdrop for the evening, capped off by a special 10-song set from “I’m From Key West” rappers Mike Stack and D-Lew at 9 p.m.

“Andy reached out to our law enforcement family that he’s friends with and discussed it with them, and it just snowballed,” said Belile’s wife Charlene, herself an MCSO employee for 28 years who currently serves as a lieutenant in the Islamorada district. 

Support began flowing immediately, fueled by the family’s extensive ties to service and law enforcement throughout the Keys. Belile’s 22-year-old son Travis is a corrections officer in Key West, and he’s proud to call himself a father figure to 28-year-old Jack, a fellow veteran and current nurse. 

In addition to Overseas’ upcoming fundraiser, Charlene praised anonymous donations to the family already made through the Monroe County Stars of Hope, an organization committed to “taking care of those that protect our community in the direst of times.”

“The amount of support is unreal,” she said. “Random people will just walk up and pray with us or pay for our breakfast. We’ve had complete strangers from different churches come and stay with us and give their support, and another gentleman who owns a local construction company came out and fixed our roof that was leaking.”

“Mark and Charlene are the most thoughtful people I’ve met,” said family friend Marie Blanton, who together with her husband Tyler and many others have stepped in as often as possible to provide child care for the couple’s youngest son, 6-year-old “Little Mark.” “They would give or do anything to help someone, no matter if you’re family friends or a local stranger.”

“Mark and Charlene have given so much of their time to serving their community both on and off the clock,” Tyler told Keys Weekly. “They never cease to exhibit true selflessness in every aspect of their lives. They are both extraordinarily amazing members of our community and deserve the greatest amount of support.”

“I didn’t know anything about what they’d planned at Overseas,” Mark told Keys Weekly. “It came as a total surprise to me, but I’m so blessed to have people coming over and praying with me at the door.”

To support the Belile family, visit Overseas all day on Saturday, Jan. 21 or visit the family’s GoFundMe. Businesses may donate silent auction items by contacting 252-256-1413.

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.