Giving Back

Lakeland Lions Club members Cecil Tompkins and Ron Brandon help stack 1200 cases of pecans for the civic groups annual sale. Staff Photo.

Lakeland Lions Club members Cecil Tompkins and Ron Brandon help stack 1200 cases of pecans for the civic group’s annual sale. Staff Photo.

A light rain did little to dampen the spirits of members of the Lakeland Lions Club while they unloaded a tractor-trailer load of fresh “new-crop” Georgia pecans for the club’s annual fundraiser. Through their 33 years, the Lakeland club has raised roughly 1.2 million dollars to fund their Lion sponsored programs primarily through the sale of holiday pecans at many

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By Laura L. Campbell, Special to THE VIEW 38002

Debbie

[&nbsp]Debbie Wiseman

“Just what’s in a dash?” you ask. In simple terms, it is the time period between the beginning of a life and the end of our earthly existence. You see, my friend, Deborah Dean Wiseman, is all too rapidly approaching the latter of those two dates as the cruel disease, ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), is robbing her of the ability to walk, talk, use her hands, move, eat, swallow, and even to breathe.

Debbie’s brain and mental acuity are intact, but her body is shutting down around her. At present, there is no cure for ALS. And yet, both she and her loving, devoted husband, Dickie, continue to battle to preserve the quality of life offered each day in Debbie’s dash.

But that is only part of the story. Because the dash also represents Debbie in her heyday, too. Truth be told, the fiercely competitive Debbie could probably out-dash most on any field of play.

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682px-Bridge_declarerMembers of the Lakeland-based bridge club, “Memphis EB Club,” will join hundreds of bridge players across the country to raise money for The Longest Day – an annual fundraising event for Alzheimer’s research held by the American Contract Bridge League and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Captain Joyce Stone has set a team goal to raise $1,600 by playing bridge for an entire day at the Lakeland Senior Center on the longest day of the year – June 21. The Lakeland Senior Center is located at 4527 Canada Road.

With an average age of 69, ACBL’s members – most of whom play regularly at local bridge clubs – are significantly affected by Alzheimer’s disease. By raising funds as part of The Longest Day program, bridge players are able to honor friends and loved ones who have been stricken with the disease while also keeping their own mental skills sharp, according to the ACBL and the Alzheimer’s Association.

“Studies have shown strong links between games, such as bridge, and successful aging,” said Robert Hartman, CEO of the ACBL. “The game alone challenges and stimulates mental acuity, but there’s also a strong social aspect that can aid with successful aging. With support from our members like Memphis EB Club, we can continue raising awareness and funds for the disease and hopefully introduce bridge to a new audience that can benefit from the mental stimulation.”

This is the second consecutive year that ACBL has coordinated with bridge clubs across the United States and Canada to raise funds for The Longest Day. The sunrise-to-sunset event, which is held on the summer solstice, supports the Alzheimer’s Association by providing much-needed resources for the care, support and research efforts it leads. Last year, 160 bridge clubs across the U.S. raised more than half a million dollars for the cause. In 2014, ACBL is setting its sights on raising $750,000, and it plans to increase that amount incrementally each year as more bridge clubs participate in the effort.

“The Alzheimer’s Association would not be able to operate successfully without the efforts of groups such as ACBL,” said Donna McCullough, vice president of mass market development for the Alzheimer’s Association. “The ACBL and bridge players in general are especially important to our association because of the game’s potential benefits for preserving mental sharpness, and we’re happy to partner with them again this year.”

Submitted by Tonia Howell

Lee Mills and Jon Moultrie

Lee Mills and Jon Moultrie

The Arlington Education Foundation recently announced that Lee Mills has been selected as the new president replacing  Jon Moultrie, who founded the Arlington Education Foundation (AEF) in October 2008. Mills’ appointment is expected to be confirmed by a vote of the Board at their next meeting.

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A Panoramic View of Relay 2013.Photo by Jeremy Elkins.

A Panoramic View of Relay 2013. Photo by Jeremy Elkins.

A cancer survivor, a loving daughter, an eleven-year old: each has been inspired to battle cancer and lead a team in the fight for a cure.

Relay 38002 is Saturday May 3 through Sunday, May 4, from 6:00 pm  until 6:00 am  in Arlington’s Depot Square (click here for more information and a schedule of activities).  Part pep-rally, part community slumber party, this year’s Relay has a global flair.  With the theme of “Where in the World is the Cure?” fundraising teams have adopted country names as part of the fun.

Already, over $37,000 has been donated to the American  through the efforts of the 14 teams participating in the event. UPDATE: As of May 1, the total amount raised is over $60,000.

For Lori Kuhuski, Captain of Team Switzerland, and 24-year colon cancer survivor, Relay for Life represents just  one aspect of her volunteering with the American Cancer Society. Since 2010, Kuhuski has also served as one of approximately 500 Heroes of Hope nationwide.

She explains that Heroes of Hope represent cancer survivors who are “exemplary” in their involvement with ACS.  Kuhuski speaks publically about her cancer experience in an effort to raise awareness, to encourage others to get involved, and to share information about treatments.

New to the area, Kuhuski visited Relay38002 last year, and chose to be a team captain for 2014.  “I wanted to be involved with the Arlington Relay because it has a special community feel.”

Kahuski supports the American Cancer Society because it is the single largest funder of cancer research.  “Since 1995,” she adds, “the ACS has raised 5 billion—that’s with a ‘b’—dollars to fight cancer.”

Krista Pearce agreed to captain Lakeland Elementary’s Team Spain — the “Lakeland Leónes for Jaxon Hindman,” (“leónes” is Spanish for “lions”) — in honor of her mother. Pearce explains that when she was approached by Lakeland PTA president Cat Wright to head the team, it was easy for her to accept, although she had never been to a Relay for Life event.

“My mom’s birthday is May 3—the date of this year’s Relay—and it is also the one year anniversary of her being diagnosed for the second time with breast cancer,” Pearce states.

“My mom is a huge fan of the American Cancer Society because they give so much more support to cancer research than other organizations,” she continues.  Pearce’s mother plans to attend the Survivors Dinner.

The Lakeland Elementary School team was named in honor of 12-year old Jaxon Hindman, a former LES student and Lakeland resident who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer.

“Cancer has touched us all,” Pearce adds. “I’ve had friends lose mothers; there’s just got to be a better way” to  fight cancer.

At eleven years old, Haley  Pardue of Team France is hands-down the youngest team captain for Relay38002.  A three-year veteran of Relay for Life, Pardue couldn’t find a team to join when her former team captain, mom Cheryl Pardue, took a position on the Relay 38002 organizing committee.

Pardue admits that there have been “a lot” of responsibilities with being a team captain, including monthly captains’ meetings, recruiting volunteers and (her favorite part) fundraising.

Since September, Pardue has organized her 14 teammates—eight kids, six adults—and raised almost $3,900 through yard sales, a “Cheesecakes for Cancer” event, and a Valentine’s Dinner at the United Methodist Church of Macedonia.

For Pardue, it’s been worth the work: “Being involved with Relay for Like makes you realize how many people have cancer and what they’re going through by seeing everyone at the event and how emotional they are,” Pardue explains.  “It makes me feel good because the survivors, family members, and caregivers feel loved and supported by Relay.”