Volunteers put $30K freeze on cancer

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Amanda Hart and Kimberly Adams work to shave the heads of Gerry Kimbril and Jan Allred.

This year’s Cancer Freeze fundraiser raised nearly $30,000 – which means about $9,000 for each of the event’s three beneficiaries, said organizer Caleb Davidson on Monday.

Thanks to the weekend’s beautiful weather, the Saturday event garnered its biggest crowd ever with crowds gathering on the shores of Florala’s Lake Jackson all day long.

At the annual fundraising event, a $20 donation purchased one the chance to water ski, tube or wakeboard on the lake’s normally-frigid waters. This year, 100 people got in the water, Davidson said.

“The people, what can I say, they are the reason this thing was such a huge success,” Davidson said. “With the better weather, we stood a better chance of people staying longer, but to stand up on that hill and look down – it was completely mind blowing. There’s not a word to describe how seeing that crowd and how it can make you feel.”

Donation buckets were strategically placed at tables for contributions, and people freely gave, Davidson said.

“Covington County just continues to amaze me,” he said. “What impresses me the most is that people who didn’t know me, the recipients, or anyone affiliated with Cancer Freeze, showed up with money. Those buckets filled, and we had no idea how much. It kept going and kept going.”

This year, funds collected will go to help the family of 2-year-old Cooper Sasser; 20-year-old Ayla Powers, both from Andalusia, and 47-year-old Michael Harrison of Walton County, Fla.

Neither Sasser nor Powers were able to attend the celebration; however, Harrison and his family made the trip – as well as prior years’ recipients, Julie-Layton Bryan, Catie Rhodes and Joy Burgans.

“That was the best part of it all, to have all of them here from years past,” Davidson said. “I told Cooper’s mom, he’s got a spot next year – we’ve got room for all six.”

One of the biggest draws of the day was the “shave your lid for a kid” drive, where a group of area women pledged to shave their heads if more than $3,000 was raised. When the tally was done, the total came to more than $7,000.

Participants also turned out for the event’s first 5K run, where 252 participants made their way across the finish line.

“And that was with five other 5K runs going on within a 60-mile radius on the same day,” Davidson said. “All we could say was, ‘Wow.’

“We hope, that after it’s all said and done, that we can do somewhere around $9,000 for each family,” he said. “I still can’t believe it. It’s amazing.”