Posted: Sunday, September 30th 2012 at 11:03am
Scores turn out to support Banks County student
By Rob Moore Editor
Jessica Cameron, a Banks County fifth-grade student, holds the giant check for $3,380.80 she just receieved from Cameron Boswell, owner of Skate-A-Rama USA in Commerce. (Photo/Rob Moore)
COMMERCE – On Saturday, people from Banks and surrounding counties turned out en masse to help a Banks County student and her family.
Jessica Cameron is a 10-year-old fifth-grade student at Banks County Elementary School who underwent emergency surgery on May 4 to remove a 12-centimeter tumor. She was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and has been undergoing chemotherapy.
Skate-A-Rama USA hosted a benefit fundraiser Saturday to help Jessica and her family with debt incurred from doctor visits, treatments, medications, and other expenses. The facility’s parking lot was filled to overflowing, with people parking at surrounding businesses and across the road.
“Cameron Boswell – he’s the owner here at Skate-A-Rama – Richard Roberts and myself have been promoting it through Facebook and through our website, which is www.skatearama.com,” said co-organizer Jeff Ashley. “We try to do what’s best for our community. Cam and I are both involved in a civic organization. We’re both members of Hudson Lodge here in Commerce, and we just try to help folks out. Richard got on board with helping us out.”
Boswell and others spent time in a dunking booth outside, where people could throw six balls for $5.
Still wet from his time in the dunking booth, David Kiser, owner of Big Daddy’s BBQ of Royston and a part-time police officer in Jackson County, encouraged people to continue spending money at the benefit.
“They need this,” Kiser said. “Put yourself in their shoes. What if it was you?”
Saturday’s benefit, and others like it held in recent months, have touched Jessica and her family.
“Today means a lot,” Jessica said. “It’s impressive that he did this for me – and it’s really nice of him to do it, ‘cause we really need the money.”
Seeing friends and complete strangers supporting the event, Jessica said, “It means a lot. All the money they’re giving to us – yeah, it’s amazing.”
Jessica’s mother, Sandy Taylor agreed.
“All the benefits that they’ve held, we’ve had such a good turnout,” Taylor said. “It’s just been incredible.”
Taylor said the family has been blessed by people they don’t even know who have reached out to organize and support fundraisers.
“Words can’t even describe how grateful we are and how much they’ve reached out to us,” Taylor said.
And there’s good medical news for Jessica.
“She’s actually through with treatment,” Taylor said. “Aug. 17 was her last day of treatment. This past Monday she had her port taken out, so as of right now she’s officially in remission. She just has to go every three months and have a CT scan and then have her tumor markers checked to make sure they’re not coming back up, but other than that she can basically go back to a normal life.”
Despite that, Jessica still can’t see her classmates on a daily basis yet.
“She’s not at school,” Taylor said. “We’re keeping her out of school for a while because her immune system is still pretty low. It’s going to be probably January before she goes back to school.”
Boswell shared more about how Saturday’s event came to be.
“I’d read a story in the paper about the young lady and my wife and I that own it talked and come to find out she had actually gone to school with this young lady’s mother,” Boswell said. “We talked about it and I happened to run into at another event and we just kind of hatched this and finally after about a month brought it to light.”
Near the end of the event, Roberts made a special presentation to Jessica.
“My daughter Erica, who was here earlier, made this cake specially for you,” he said.
The cake was in the shape of a cancer awareness ribbon bearing Jessica's name and including the word survivor.
Jessica then took a moment to thank those present.
“Hey everybody,” she said. “Thank you for coming. Since I’ve got that cake, I want to share it with everybody, ‘cause I appreciate you coming. I want to share that cake with you – it means a lot. Thank you.”
“We’ve had a great response from the community,” Boswell said. “I believe we’ve done real well. We’ve raised a lot of money for her, and hopefully it will help her out to continue with her recovery.”
Boswell presented Jessica with a giant check for $3,383.80, representing the proceeds raised from Saturday’s event.
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