Giving hearts

Published 9:37 am Friday, June 5, 2009

If there’s anything I am absolutely positive about Franklin and Southampton County these days, it’s that people here genuinely care about one another — and they prove it often.

I can’t believe how many times this week that that fact has been illustrated to me.

Last Friday, our Riverkeeper Jeff Turner lost his beloved companion, Moonpie. The calls and cards have started to pour in. Many of you may never have met Moonpie, but you read about her adventures with Jeff, and your hearts truly ached for his loss. Your words have been a comfort to him. Truly.

Sometimes it’s hard to believe the economy is in a slump here, especially when we visit fish fries and barbecues and other events to raise money for good causes.

Know why?

Because people here make time and allowances for things they know will make an impact on someone else’s life.

Don’t believe me? I have examples.

Relay for Life — always a successful event in these parts — was again a boost to cancer research with a beautiful day full of events and fundraising on Saturday. A relatively small group of people have made a huge impact, and people here have opened their wallets to contribute to the cause. It’s not over, either. There will be events throughout the summer to participate in. Stay tuned.

There isn’t a Saturday that goes by here that some group isn’t raising money for a person or group in need.

Think people get tired of getting hit up over and over again for their hard-earned dollars? Think again.

They seem to open their wallets with gusto.

There are two good reasons to do that on Saturday, June 13.

Two families, both hit by debilitating disease, will be the subjects of fundraisers.

At 8 a.m. that day, a Poker Run will start at Fred’s Restaurant in Franklin. Motorcycle riders who register will go to five different places to collect playing cards. The rider with the best hand at the end wins. They money from that and from a corresponding barbecue, horseshoe tournament and silent auction will go to help pay the medical bills for 34-year-old Michael Pittman. Pittman, a former real estate agent, has been struck by Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Read more about his plight in Sunday’s paper.

And from noon to 7 p.m., barbecue — both in bulk and dinner form — will be available for sale to help the family of little Madison Arnot.

Madison was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder that all but guarantees that she will get colon cancer.

She recently had her colon removed and was the youngest patient with the disorder whom doctors at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters had treated.

The medical bills to take care of Madison, who requires tube feeding and round-the-clock care have been mounting and the proceeds from the barbecue sale help her struggling parents offset those costs.

I don’t know about you, but no one has to twist my arm to buy barbecue from these parts. I’ll be there with my wallet open, too, because I’m now from Franklin and that’s just how we roll.