March 7, 2009
The youth group of Beersheba Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Columbus recently presented more than 57 pounds of aluminum pull tabs from soda cans to Rachel and Charles Maxwell, grandparents of 7-year-old Harrison Maxwell, of the Auburn community near Tupelo, who is undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Harrison, the son of Kevin Maxwell, still has about two years of chemotherapy remaining, but doctors believe he will win his battle with cancer. "If you have to have leukemia," the child''s grandfather said, "this is the one you want. There is a 95 percent chance he will fully recover."
Harrison''s illness kept him from attending the Beersheba gathering, but youth group members wrote letters to him, made him a card and sent along a ball cap and T-shirt for his favorite collegiate team, Ole Miss.
The family will present the tabs to the Ronald McDonald House at St. Jude Children''s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where they will help offset the cost of services provided by these facilities.
"Service projects allow our youth the opportunity to show concern for the welfare of others," said Youth Director Tim Potter. "The youth group participates in service projects throughout the year, including Relay for Life, coming up April 24-25."
For this project, the youth divided into teams and competed with each other, collecting tabs and performing volunteer work around the community. During four and one-half months, the members tallied over 200 volunteer hours and collected more than 57 pounds of pull tabs. According to Potter, a pound of pull tabs requires somewhere between 1,500 and 1,600 tabs. "That means the youth collected between 87,000 and 91,000 pull tabs," the director noted.
The winning team collected 37 of those 57 pounds. Team leader Amber McCrary knows first-hand what it means to have a family member with cancer.
"My dad is battling cancer; so I know how much it meant to him when the community reached out to us. This was our chance to give someone else that same comfort and assurance that people do care and that we are praying for them."
BCPC will continue to collect tabs for Harrison. Anyone interested in contributing to the collection is asked to contact the church office at 662-327-9615.