• What: Benefit concert for Bridgett Payne-Coley
• When: 6:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 5
• Where: Robin L. Christian Performing Arts Center, Ringgold High School, 29 Tiger Trail
• Admission: $10 in advance, $12 at the door (all proceeds go the Coley family)
• Phone: 706-313-5629
Efforts by family and friends to help Bridgett Payne-Coley in her battle against cancer continue Friday, Sept. 5, with a concert at Ringgold (Ga.) High School. Five acts are scheduled to perform: Dakota Williams, Robby Hopkins, Greg Shirley, The Casey Adams Band and the Zack Dylan Band.
According to a news release, this is the first performance inside the new Robin L. Christian Performing Arts Center. The 936-seat theater is part of the recently completed arts wing, the final building to be constructed at the school after the town was devastated by an F-4 tornado in April 2011.
Event spokesman Jerry Shook says Payne-Coley is a 1992 graduate of RHS and met "the love of her life," Mark Coley, as a student there. They married in 1996 and have since had four children: Mathis, 13, Alexis, 12, and twins Kennedy and Seth, 10.
Following the tornado, the Coleys were instrumental in helping rebuild Ringgold. Payne-Coley signed on with a First Response of America team and spent countless hours clearing debris for local businesses, cemeteries and home sites, Shook says.
"Long after the team left to help others who were being affected by disasters, Bridgett and her family continued donating time to help rebuild Ringgold as volunteer partners with Rebuilding Hope."
She was presented with a Hometown Hero Award from Modern Woodmen of America in recognition of her volunteer efforts.
Her cancer diagnosis, fibrosarcoma, came in May 2012, according to a fundraiser page at www.giveforward.com. She has received treatment at M.D. Anderson Medical Center in Houston, Texas.
"She has endured radiation treatments and two surgeries and is continuing to take chemotherapy," Shook says.
Yet she and her family "have maintained a wonderful outlook on life" and have adopted "God's Got This" as their motto.
"She spends hours telling others how cancer has strengthened not only her relationship with God but also her family's relationship with God," Shook says.