My oldest sister, Rita Brewer, died from cancer; my oldest brother, Bob Dezotell, died from cancer; my father-in-law, Ralph Freeman, died from cancer; and my other brother, Paul Dezotell, is a cancer survivor.
Cancer has affected both sides of Lynn and my family, and we have wanted to do what we could to help in the fight against the disease.
I have recently taken part in two fundraising events for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life in Bedford County. I participated in the Wheelbillies Womanless Pageant this year and last year; and I served as a waiter in the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon. Both events raised a considerable amount of money to help cancer patients and their families.
The Womanless Pageant is a fun event in which men dress up as women for a worthy cause. I was crowned Miss Wheelbilly last year, appearing in a nun costume as Sister Douglas-Leandra-Mary-Carol-Elizabeth. I danced my way into the hearts of the audience and went home with the crown and a trophy, both of which sit prominently on a shelf in my office.
I appeared one last time at the Wheelbilly event this month as the good Sister, and I crowned the new Miss Wheelbilly, passing on the honor.
I wore my nun outfit one last time at the Celebrity Waiter Luncheon this past week as I waited on a table of folks from my churches.
I have now decided to retire my sisterly apparel and look for other ways to help in the fight against cancer.
It seems that just about every week in our prayer time at church there are prayer requests made for someone who has been newly diagnosed with cancer, or someone whose cancer has returned, or someone who lost their life to cancer.
It is a disease that seems to have had an impact on all of us in one way or another.
The people of Bedford County seem to always be ready to come to the aid of those in need in our community. We rally in prayer, we tie ribbons on our mailboxes, and we pull out our wallets and dig into our purses to give when the need is presented to us. We are generally a caring and giving people.
It was good to see such a good turn-out at both of the Relay For Life events that I took part in, and people dug down deep to give.
There are several other big Relay For Life fundraising events coming up in the months ahead, leading up to the Relay itself on June 1&2 at the Bedford County Agriculture and Education Center.
The annual country musical comedy show, "Hee Haw & Howdy," will be held on April 20, 21 and 22at the Harris Middle School auditorium.
The "Cancer Sucks" Crawfish Festival, with special musical guests Keith Anderson, Chase Perryman, Three Point Hitch, Ray'zn Cain, Bitterbox and others, will be held on May 5 at Sand Creek Farms.
These are just some of the upcoming local events that we can take part in to help in the fight against cancer.
The need is out there, maybe in your own home. Together we can make a difference.
For more information concerning any of these events and to learn how you can help, please contact: Samantha Chamblee, (931)703-7267, or Renee Powell, (931) 437-2248, or go to www.relayforlife.org/bedfordtn.
Doug Dezotell is the pastor of Mt. Lebanon UMC and Cannon UMC. He is a former staff writer for the Times-Gazette, and he is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a friend to many. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.