Fans of Dr. Benjamin Carson — I am one — will be happy to know that the famous neurosurgeon, who once separated conjoined twins, will be the keynote speaker 7 p.m. Nov. 1 for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Stark and Carroll counties at First Christian Church, 6900 Market Ave. N. in North Canton.
Carson, a full professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, has served as director of pediatric neurosurgery at the hospital for more than 25 years. As fate would have it, the local Habitat is celebrating its 25th anniversary.
One of two sons raised by a single mother in inner-city Detroit, Carson suffered from low self-esteem, bad grades and a quick temper. That was before his mother, even with a third-grade education, put him in check. He buckled down and his grades soared; he went on to graduate from Yale University and the University of Michigan Medical School.
Tickets for the local Habitat’s anniversary dessert reception and book signing with Carson are $10, available at www.habitatstark.org.
Carson — who in 2008 was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom — is the author of five best-selling books: Gifted Hands (which was made into a TNT movie starring Cuba Gooding Jr. as Dr. Carson), Think Big, Take the Risk, The Big Picture and his latest, America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great.
Beth Lechner, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater Stark and Carroll counties, said, “Dr. Carson’s life achievements and message resonate so deeply with the Habitat mission, and our commitment to providing families with opportunities to help themselves.
“We always say ‘Habitat offers a hand up and not a handout,’ and that idea of working to move beyond your circumstances is exactly what Dr. Carson’s mother instilled in him at a young age that made such a difference in his life. We are so thrilled to have him as part of our anniversary celebration, and we hope his words will inspire everyone in attendance that night to do everything they can to positively impact their corner of the world.”
Phyllis Cottle phoned the other day to bring me up to speed about how she’s doing.
Phyllis, who celebrated her 73rd birthday, was buoyant in spite of Stage IV cancer.
She’s the woman who was beaten, robbed, raped, blinded with a knife and left to die in a burning car March 20, 1984, by Samuel J. Herring, who was on early release from prison.
Through it all — the attack, the loss of vision and now the cancer — Phyllis has remained incredibly positive and grateful for all of the prayers from friends and strangers alike.
“I will have my fifth chemo treatment this week,” she said. “My oncologist put me on a different chemo after the first two sessions left me with a rash … The new one I seem to be tolerating fairly well. Tiredness, and that’s not every day, is really my only side effect … Of course, I’ve lost all of my hair. But I’m doing well and my doctor is amazed at how well I’m handling it.
“I’ve always been a positive person,” Phyllis continued.
Radiation, she said, is probably down the road.
Encouragement cards for Phyllis Cottle are still good medicine. Please send them to: Phyllis Cottle, c/o Jewell Cardwell, Akron Beacon Journal, 44 E. Exchange St., Akron, Ohio 44309; and I will forward them to her.
As she requested, “Just keep praying.”
Ronald McDonald Houses
World Golf Championships — Bridgestone Invitational tournament officials have wisely selected the Ronald McDonald Houses of Cleveland and of Akron as the tournament’s anchor charity, each receiving $50,000 from the 2013 Bridgestone Invitational charity proceeds.
Ronald McDonald House, which has more than 300 sites globally, supports families whose children receive treatment at area medical centers, providing a home-away-from-home and essential resources. “The support these organizations provide to hospitalized children and their families is outstanding and we are proud to help with their efforts,” said Don Padgett, Bridgestone Invitational executive director.
“Families are stronger when they are together, and their presence helps a sick child heal faster and cope better,” said Craig Wilson, Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland executive director. “While we cannot make medicine taste better or take away painful treatments, we can help lessen the burden and ensure families have the stability and resources they need to help their child heal. We are so thankful for the Bridgestone Invitational’s commitment to help us continue our work in Northeast Ohio.”
An equally euphoric Anne Collins, executive director of Akron’s Ronald McDonald House, had this to say:
“We’re honored and very privileged. They were looking for an anchor charity that would represent Northeast Ohio. Our house certainly fit the bill.”
In addition to the $50,000, Collins said 20 percent of any sponsorship the Akron house brings in for the tournament under its banner will go to the house. “So, hopefully this will not be one year. I don’t want to be premature but I hope it will continue and grow into something very substantial … We’re thrilled with the community recognition that it will give the house. That’s invaluable. With the coming expansion and fundraising needed for that this couldn’t have come at a better time.”
Help for patient
Big, beautiful bouquets to all of the good souls who showed up at the recent Chad Crawford Benefit Event to assist the 50-year-old Jackson Township man and his family.
Chad was diagnosed in October with a very rare cancer that resulted in the amputation of his lower leg. The cancer has since spread to his lungs and a portion of his left lung was removed.
Todd Lewis, Chad’s grateful brother-in-law, filed this report:
“I wanted to let you know that the benefit was a true success! There were nearly 500 people who attended the event and were quite generous in bidding on items and the raffle events. Many people donated additional prizes and money the night of the event and all winners of the reverse raffle donated their winnings back to the family.
“Chad unfortunately was admitted to the hospital Thursday due to difficulty breathing and chest pain. He was held for three days for testing and care but was able to attend the event and witness the love and support he and his family have through friends, community and family members. He is currently at the James Cancer Center on the Ohio State University campus undergoing another round of chemotherapy for the cancer in his lungs … It is wonderful knowing that there are still good people in this world who will help anyone out!”
Jewell Cardwell can be reached at 330-996-3567 or email@example.com