Though Rebekah Davis succumbed to cancer at the age of 10, the care St. Jude Children's Hospital provided for free up to that point meant her parents were never forced to decide between caring for her and paying the bills for her treatment. For many parents of children with cancer, reality is different.
That is where the Chattanooga chapter of Candlelighters comes in, says local president Connie Edwards.
The all-volunteer organization raises money to pay for overdue bills, groceries and a variety of other needs. And with the 12th annual St. Jude Children's Hospital Car, Truck and Bike Show held in Rebekah's memory coming up Aug. 19, the Candlelighters hope the community will help them raise money for more children like her.
The majority of funds raised through the show benefit St. Jude so that the pioneer research organization can continue to offer cost-free treatment for sick children. However, the Candlelighters run the concession booth at the event and give the $1,500 to $2,000 raised through the sale of grilled hot dogs, hamburgers and other snacks straight back to the community, Edwards said.
"Everyone knows the importance of St. Jude's and how no one ever, ever receives a bill there. ... We're just happy they allow us to partner with them and help families here locally," she said.
The Candlelighters' last event, a golf tournament this spring at Harrison Bay's Bear Trace, netted the nonprofit group more than $7,000. Since Edwards does not take a salary, that entire amount will go to help families in the Chattanooga and North Georgia area, she said.
"What if you had to decide between buying groceries for your sick child and paying rent? What if you had to give up your job to care for them?" she asked. "That's what we are here for."
The car show is being held Saturday, Aug. 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Battlefield Elementary School in Fort Oglethorpe. For more information on pricing per car or vendor rates, find the event on Facebook by searching for "12th Annual St. Jude Children's Hospital Car, Truck and Bike Show."
Goody bags, prizes and other giveaways are planned for the event.
Email Gabrielle Chevalier at firstname.lastname@example.org.