Chop Down Cancer


OHS football players (top) help raise money for cancer patients. The marching band (bottom) purchased and performed in the lavender t-shirts for the Oct. 4 football game.

OHS football players (top) help raise money for cancer patients. The marching band (bottom) purchased and performed in the lavender t-shirts for the Oct. 4 football game.

Last fall, under the direction of Oneonta High School head coach Phil Phillips, the Redskin football team raised $4,000 from t-shirt sales to benefit St. Vincent’s Blount.

Although the fundraiser occurred last fall, it took some time to develop guidelines to determine who would be eligible to utilize the funds. Money will assist qualifying uninsured and underinsured patients gain access to mammograms and transportation to St. Vincent’s Birmingham.

When the coach suggested this fundraiser as the team’s yearly service project, Phillips knew that the team could relate to its importance as everyone knows someone who has been affected in some way by cancer. Phillips has had several family members touched by this disease.

With more than a 47 percent poverty level for the student area, many cancer patients are uninsured or underinsured. This project would be just one way to help those who struggle financially while battling cancer. Blount administrator Greg Brown said, “We especially appreciate this effort, as it is directly tied to the St. Vincent’s mission.”

To make the t-shirts even more special, each shirt had blocks to list names of people fighting cancer or in memory of someone. Phillips said, “It was exciting to see how everybody was willing to do what they could to help this cause. Most everyone included names on their shirts of someone with cancer.”

Brown also feels the fundraiser was a fantastic opportunity to introduce Oneonta youth to local health care career options. “I would say that 95 percent of our 226 associates live in Blount County. Hopefully some of these students will be our future doctors and nurses,” Brown said.

Same day surgery nurse Lori Elrod is married to OHS teacher and coach David Elrod. She has personally been affected by cancer. She said, “As a cancer survivor, it truly warms my heart to see our community join together to raise cancer awareness and funds. I am thankful for the coaches willing to invest in our youth and teach them the importance of giving and serving others. I’m thankful for an administration that is focused on fulfilling our hospital’s mission.

“I’m grateful for the awareness brought to this cause. With the funds so generously donated, our facility has the opportunity to directly help patients in our area who may be facing difficult times. What a blessing to help serve in that capacity.”

Anyone needing assistance can call Marilyn Oden at 205-274-8198 or Sandra Holland at 205-625-3367.