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‘Freeze’ seeks family

Cancer is a terrible disease that puts many burdens on its victims and their families, but one local charity hopes to put a “freeze” on at least a portion of that financial burden.

Caleb Davidson, organizer of “Cancer Freeze,” announced Thursday that proceeds from the fourth annual fund-raiser would be donated to an area youth who is fighting cancer.

Davidson started the fund-raiser in 2007 in memory of family and friends who had passed away with cancer. For a $20 entry fee, skiers brave the waters of Florala’s Lake Jackson in the middle of the winter — which led to the name “Cancer Freeze.”

“The first year, we raised $1,000 to the American Cancer Society and $1,500 the next year,” Davidson said. “Last year, we decided to do something a little different. The story of Julie-Layton Bryan and her fight against retinoblastoma — or retinal cancer — well, that story was laid upon my heart, and I thought of how much help the money we could raise would be to her family.”

Julie-Layton, whose story was featured in The Star-News, was diagnosed with the disease in November 2008. The family was required to make multiple trips for treatment to New York. She is now cancer free.

“At the time of planning (the last event), Julie was in the middle of her journey,” he said. “Helping families affected by cancer was the whole reason this fund-raiser was created and we thought how much better it would be if we could help someone local.”

Davidson quickly saw how helpful the event could be.

“We donated more than $10,000 to Julie-Layton,” he said. “After the huge response from the public, I decided from then forward, proceeds should go to an individual.”

Davidson said those who wish to apply for the proceeds should fill out an application, and a board of community representatives will choose the next recipient.

Applicants must be currently diagnosed with any active form of cancer, be under the age of 18 and live within 50 miles of Florala.

Applications can be found at www.cancerfreeze.net and can be printed from the Web site. They must be mailed or e-mailed and received no later than Nov. 1.

This year’s event is set for Feb. 6, 2010.