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Marion County is making a difference

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By Stevie Lowery

“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.”

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- William James

The people of Marion County made a big difference this past weekend.
Our community supported two worthwhile causes: St. Baldrick’s, which raises money for childhood cancer research, and Marion County High School’s Junior Mister competition, which raises money for the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
I attended both events and I felt an overwhelming sense of pride as I watched members of my hometown selflessly give their time, talents and, yes, even their hair, for others in need.
St. Baldrick’s, which celebrated its seventh year in Marion County, had its biggest and best year yet. The event raised more than $38,500 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. I commend Citizens National Bank and all of those involved for continuing this incredible event. My 6-year-old son has already said he plans to begin raising money now for next year’s event. And a certain co-worker of mine continues to try to convince me to go bald for the cause. I’m not ruling it out. And, I have to admit, I am curious as to how much money my huge fro could raise. My hair is large and the dollar figure would need to be even larger for me to shave it all off. But, like I said, I’m not ruling it out. Besides, I’ve seen how truly beautiful bald can be, and shaving one’s head to help children with cancer is more than worth it.
Following the St. Baldrick’s event Saturday, 22 young men entertained a crowd at Marion County High School, and helped make a child’s wish come true. The 8th annual Marion County High School Beta Club’s Junior Mister competition was the largest yet, and all proceeds from the event will go to the Make-a-Wish Foundation to grant the wish of 4-year-old Gage from Stanford. Gage and his parents were at the event Saturday, and he stole the hearts of everyone in the gymnasium with his smile and sweet personality. When Charles Lancaster Jr., the emcee for the event, asked Gage where he was from, he giggled and said, “My home.” It was precious.
Gage suffers from epilepsy, and was born with a heart condition that makes pumping blood difficult. His wish is to go to Walt Disney World Resort and meet Minnie Mouse. Thanks to the students and staff at Marion County High School, Gage’s wish will come true.
March 23, 2013, was a good day in Marion County. And, it was just another reminder of how generous this community truly is.
I’ve been reminded of this community’s generosity on a daily basis as I’ve been receiving donations for the Girls on the Run program. I’ve been blown away by the support the Girls on the Run program has received locally. Every donation I’ve received, no matter how big or small, has been a true gift and will allow this incredible program to help girls in our community for years to come.
Marion County is a giving community, there’s no denying that, and I’m proud to call it home.