Group raising funds for cancer research

Published 12:01 am Friday, July 29, 2011

Each year, more than 600 children in Covington County seek medical attention at Children’s Hospital.

That’s why Caitie’s Army, an organization founded to raise money for research in honor of Straughn’s Caitie Rhodes, who is battling brain cancer, is teaming up the Children’s Hospital to raise money for cancer research.

“The money raised will go directly to childhood cancer research,” said organizer Shelia “Tee” Terry.

Generally, less than 2 percent of all money raised for cancer research goes to childhood cancer research, Terry said.

The “massive” fundraiser will be in conjunction with childhood cancer awareness month and is ongoing through September, Terry said.

The fundraiser will include placing jugs at local stores, selling spots on T-shirts, a poker run and a car wash and bake sale.

Terry said jugs will be placed at local stores, and if anyone would like one placed at their business, she would be happy to supply the jug.

Currently, the group is selling spots on the back of a T-shirt for $250 each. Terry said shirts will be the official shirt for the events.

“Checks are made out directly to Children’s Hospital,” she said. “Everything is a tax donation. You will get a receipt from Children’s Hospital.”

Caitie’s Army is also collecting drink tabs, which she said goes to fund spots at the Ronald McDonald House, which is a place for families dealing with child medical isssues to stay at little or no cost.

“These tabs will help the children’s moms and dads,” she said. “At Ronald McDonald House, you get a hot shower; you can lay down. It’s connected to the hospital. It’s not like being in a hotel; if you are needed they call you to come and you can go quickly.”

Terry said a recycling center in Birmingham takes the tops and gives the charity a really good price for them.

Plans are under way for a September car wash and bake sale.

The fundraising efforts will culminate with a poker run on Sept. 24, beginning at Soggy Bottom on Hwy 84.

Registration is at 9 a.m., and the first bike goes out at 11 a.m. Cost is $20 per bike, and $5 for an extra hand.

Afterward, there will be an auction, raffles, a 50-50 drawing and more, Terry said.

Terry said it’s important for Covington County to sponsor a fundraiser for the hospital.

“Dothan has the radio-thon,” she said. “Right here in Covington County, we have never done a fundraiser. The money we raise will stay in Alabama. It doesn’t go to Florida or Missouri; it stays here.”

Terry said childhood cancer research is “highly needed.”

“Caitie has brain tumors and brain cancer,” she said. “She’s been fighting since 2006. We did a lot of stuff with research. Right now, we’ve had four brain surgeries, and Caitie is doing well. She’s 18 years old.

“Finding the research and getting into programs is what saved her life,” Terry said. “It needs to be funded. If we don’t have our children, then we are going to be extinct if our children don’t live.”

Terry said the family worked a lot with TJ Fleming, the Florala native who passed away last year from a rare form of cancer in his saliva gland.

“The type he had, there wasn’t enough research to do anything,” Terry said. “If we can get more research funded, doctors won’t have to tell parents ‘We just don’t know.’ I hope no other parent has to hear that, but sadly, that’s the truth. If they haven’t done the research to find a cure, it’s all a guessing game.”

Anyone interested in helping with the fundraisers, can call Terry at 388-4182 or 504-4095.