Annual event to benefit cancer patients

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 15, 2013

There will be nine beneficiaries of the 2014 Cancer Freeze – that’s right, nine people will benefit from the annual fundraising event in Florala.

That’s triple the three recipient totals from the last two years’ events, and “Two years ago, and I didn’t think we were ready to handle three, but we raised $30,000, and I thought, ‘We can do this,’” said organizer Caleb Davidson. “We truly believe if God brings them to us, that He will provide. It’s so humbling seeing others get involved and promote this fundraiser to help others in need.”

Davidson began the fundraising event 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.” It will be held on Sat., Feb. 1, 2014.

Proceeds of the event will be split among the nine recipients – two of Florala, four from Andalusia, two from Paxton, Fla., and another from Crestview, Fla.

Recipient names are being released every Sunday. To date, the identities of two are known – 4-year-old Rylan Pettie of Andalusia and Glenn Morris of Crestview, Fla.

The son of Jordan and Cortney Pettie, Rylan was diagnosed with leukemia five days after his third birthday in June. Ever since, he and his family have traveled back and forth to Children’s Hospital in Birmingham for chemotherapy treatments.

“Rylan has been brave and resilient from the start,” said Mrs. Pettie. “We still have a long journey ahead, but we are trusting in the Lord for Rylan’s complete healing. His prognosis is much more positive than many others we have met at Children’s. We are so very grateful to the board and the numerous volunteers for their diligent and selfless work at Cancer Freeze, and for the support we are receiving from this event.”

The second recipient is Glenn Morris of Crestview, Fla., who was diagnosed with stage 4 incurable stomach cancer. Morris travels every other week to Gainesville, Fla., to participate in a Mayo Clinic study on gastric cancer.

Sponsorships are also needed for the event and are available on three levels – $100, $250 and $500 – which will allow one to have his or her company name, business or personal message placed on the back of this year’s shirt.

And for those who don’t want to get wet in February, there are a variety of other ways to participate, Davidson said.

“In addition to the water event, 5K and the usual chili cook-off, last year we added a bass tournament, pancake breakfast and motorcycle ride,” Davidson said. “This year we’re adding a car show the day of Cancer Freeze and a beauty pageant two weeks prior – plus more kids stuff.”

Donations are tax-deductible, he said.

“We want you to come out in February for a good time and know that all the money you donate goes straight to help these people,” Davidson said. “If you can’t be at Cancer Freeze, send a donation. If you can’t donate, pray. We don’t put a limit on what God can do.”

For those wishing to participate, donate or sponsor, contact Davidson at 850-978-3726, by e-mail at, visit the organization’s Facebook page or by mail at P.O. Box 92, Florala, AL 36442.

“There’s even a PayPal button on our website,” Davidson said with a laugh. “We try to make it easy.”

Two years and I d idn’t thing wer’re redy to 3, 30K

By uly this year, had four, working on a fifth. By the time committee met in October, you had nine.

Adding car show, day of; beauty pageant, two weeks prior;

Send year of aspearcne for bass tourney, panckakes and motorcycle ride.

Having to do more kids stuff – face painting, slides and bounce houses