Cancer is, in its very essence, an insidious disease, a merciless foe that strikes with impunity, respecting neither age nor race nor creed. It sees no sex, takes note of no histories or pedigree, but instead threatens to invade the bodies, the minds, and the lives of those it touches. And rather than simply taking one shape or claiming one single identity, it is reckless and without boundaries, forging ahead like an army that multiplies and invades without intent of being stopped.
Unfortunately for many, the invading army of cancer—whether found in the breast, the ovaries, the kidneys, the liver, the brain, the prostate, the bones…too many to count, too many to name, too many to think about—is a battle hard fought and tragically lost. For many, however, there is an increasing amount of hope that the fight is a winnable one as the efforts of medical research and modern advances in technology have led to groundbreaking treatments and procedures that not only detect cancer earlier but also eradicate the disease before it has progressed beyond hope.
In an effort to raise awareness and the necessary funding to further research and the developments of treatments, organizations such as the American Cancer Society hold countless fundraisers and events. And at times when family and friends are so at the fore of our hearts and our minds as they are at Christmas, the desire to honor, remember, and—above all—fight for those who have been lost to cancer or are in the midst of a battle is all the more important.
Begun in 1989 by Judge William O. Beach when he lit the first lights for the very first ceremony that would ever after be known as Love Lights a Tree for the American Cancer Society, the massive tree that illuminated the facade of the historic antebellum Smith-Trahern Mansion in Clarksville is now a tradition for honoring and remembering loved ones who have fought cancer, each candle bearing a name and a story of courage, faith, and a life lived with bravery.
“Love Lights a Tree is a special way to honor or remember loved ones, and the contribution of purchasing lights helps the American Cancer Society provide help to those in Montgomery County who need assistance,” explains Chairperson Lynne Griffey. Each light glows with a hope for a brighter tomorrow even as they glow with a reminder that the fight must go on until the lights are finally lit in a show of victory.
Now in its 29th year, Love Lights a Tree for the American Cancer Society continues on in its mission of funding and finding a cure for cancer—in whatever forms it might take. Located this year at Tennova Healthcare, the tree lighting will take place December 2 at 5:00 p.m. in a ceremony that will feature the naming of the event’s honorary chairperson—a position granted to a child or adult who has shown grace and strength even in the face of cancer. For whether young or old, rich or poor, man or woman, those with an inner light to shine are to be honored here—and the tree will glow brilliant and strong as we continue to give and continue to fight for the ultimate gift of life lived healthy and long and bright.
Mail all light purchase checks and honorary chairperson nominations to Lynne Griffey, 1232 Willow Bend Dr., Clarksville, TN 37043 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Judy Castleberry, 345 Arkadelphia Rd., Clarksville, TN 37040 or CastleberryJ@gmail.com.