Cancer is an awful and terrifying illness, at times taking its victims only weeks after being diagnosed. Moreover, most American families have been touched by cancer, either in their personal households or through a loved one outside of the home. It is, indeed, a tense and depressing time, especially right after a doctor gives that dark diagnosis.
Although the American Cancer Society aims to help end the disease through continuing research, that isn't too comforting to the person currently afflicted with it. In fact, in addition to worrying about dying, the patient and the family have to deal with traveling, sometimes daily, for treatments at distant Cancer Treatment Centers, not to mention the money needed for the expensive medications. This financial anxiety is what the First Baptist Church of Glenville's (FBC) Cancer Fund Committee has been admirably alleviating for many local victims and their loved ones.
Background: On Nov. 1, 2011, the First Baptist Church, located on East Main Street, Glenville, began to raise monies to help local people facing their battles. The novel idea then mushroomed! Now, in its fourth year, those kindhearted and visionary leaders are able to look back and see that they have made a positive difference in the lives of many local citizens, both those afflicted and their families.
In the last three years, the FBC Cancer Fund has amazingly collected over $47,000 and helped more than 55 local people with expenses related to their cancer treatments. They provide money or gas cards to help with transportation, assist with their hotel bills when overnight stays are required and give toward the cost of medications.
Like many local nonprofits, the FBC Cancer Fund Committee places all the donations from fund-raisers directly into its treasury in order to be redistributed it to those in Gilmer County who are in need. Some of their regular fund-raisers include the American Cancer Society-Gilmer Unit's annual and popular Salad Luncheon, which is ably organized by Rosa Belle Cunningham and her army of volunteers. Additionally, the FBC's Committee and their many volunteers sponsor the tasty annual Pancake Breakfast at the church during the WV State Folk Festival and a baked steak dinner each spring. Finally, the FBC Cancer Fund has asked that all churches and individuals save their spare change to donate to this noble crusade. With this added funding coming in on a regular basis, more patients can be assisted, according to the FBC Fund's leadership.
Oddly, these big hearted organizers work hard to collect the donations, which are often awarded to benefit total strangers, most of whom don't even belong to their church. There are no questions asked about church affiliation and no forms to fill out, the organizers outline. Debbie Stalnaker, one of the founding members, spelled that out, stating, "We started out to help one family and it just grew. God called us to do this and He has blessed our efforts.... All of the money goes to help Gilmer County people. We have had requests from outside the county, but we had to draw that line and stick to it." Thus, the FBC's Committee gives the money in good faith and trusts that recipients are using it as intended.
This good and vital cause is being observed by others outside this county, as well. Last year, a group from Calhoun County asked Debbie Stalnaker and Susie Sheets to share the "secret of their success." As a result, the word of this humanitarian project is getting wider recognition! Actually, we editors know of no other organized and local cancer helping hand fund in the Mountain State of this kind. Generally, the burden is placed solely on the shoulders of the individual family and their friends to put on fund-raisers, like covered dish dinners, to raise monies for their costly treatments. This, however, is very hard on the affected families who are usually in a state of shock, dismay and fright.
Sharing your good fortune with this noble cause will certainly bring joy to your heart!
A friend recently asked us editors what is being done to attract new commercial and industrial enterprises into the county and to help local businesses? He asserted, "Gilmer County, West Virginia is a great place to open a business!": a good point!
We editors know from the Annual Meeting of the Gilmer County Economic Development Association (GCEDA) that they are attempting to draw new businesses into the county, especially at its Industrial Park at Stouts Mills. Also, they are making an effort to contact local businesses to see what help they need from GCEDA. Susan Stalnaker-Ware, a former and business savvy bank vice-president, is the group's new executive director, and she - by her education and experience - is adding new life and ideas to this continuing effort to keep the county's economy moving forward.
In addition, this newspaper, in conjunction with the Glenville State College's Public Relations Dept., is in the process of scheduling businesses and organizations as sponsors for the monthly "Business After 5 P.M. Social Hour" for 2014. It's a one-hour social, with a 15-to-20 minute presentation by the sponsor and light refreshments. This editor and Annette Barnette, the College's PR Dept. executive, are now scheduling, both new and older, but less visible area businesses and organizations for the free public exposure that they generate by this sponsorship. In fact, if a business is located here, they probably do much of their sales right here in this county, so the more local publicity they get, the better.
As a result, we cosponsors are enthusiastic about the new year's programs, and working hard to get some other groups on our calendar. In the past, some of the many sponsors have been as follows: the FBC's Cancer Fund Committee (noted in the above editorial), the Pioneer Grille, Country Life Natural Food Store, GSC's Land Resources Dept. and GSC Student Business Society, among many others too numerous to list.
To sign up for a date or for more details, just call either Ms. Barnette at 304-462-6391-Off. or this editor, 304-462-7309-Off. or 462-4643-home with answering machine.
NOTICE: Our 1st Business Social this year will be hosted by Lambert's Winery, of Weston, at 5 p.m. on Thurs., Feb. 27 at the Glenville Inn. Come join us as we get a taste!
This Business Social Hour is not only informative, but also fun - not to down play its power of vaulting your business or organization's goals squarely into the public's eye.