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The fight is on

New ACS committee member says he’s ready to relay
Ennis Relay for Life 2008 is around the cancer-fighting corner, and infused in this year’s campaign is a new-found determination to find –– and fund –– a cure. Much fresh inspiration and energy comes from newly signed-on teams like Tonja Barnebee CPA-PC, and recently appointed committee members like longtime Ennisites Lucy Mikula (profiled in the Ennis Daily News’ Feb. 11 issue) and Weldon Caldwell.
Caldwell, of Schirm USA, is now Ennis Relay for Life Logistics Co-Chair with Robin Maudlin, and though he’s a new face on the committee, Caldwell is no stranger to the local American Cancer Society’s benefit walk, taking place this year at the Ennis Junior High Stadium April 25.
Caldwell’s team, made up of members of his company and their families, has taken part in the Ennis ACS effort since its inception in 2004.
Recently Relay for Life Publicity Committee Liaison Laurie Wilson, on assignment for the EDN, spoke with Caldwell about his involvement in the fight against cancer and what it means to him and the community he loves.

• • •

Ennis Daily News: You’ve gone from being a Relay team member to team captain to committee chair. What got you involved in the first place?
Caldwell: I had never heard of Relay for Life until four years ago when Greg Prachyl, a co-worker, mentioned it. He was team captain for our first relay. I thought it sounded interesting and decided to join the team. I was amazed that I had never heard of this event, even though I had so many friends and family affected by cancer.
EDN: What have each of your roles meant to you?
Caldwell: As a team member I began to learn the meaning of the event and the good that comes from it, which was an awakening. As a team captain I came to appreciate the fact that this event is “all-volunteer” and that people are giving so much of themselves so unselfishly, which inspired me even more. Finally, as a committee co-chair, I haven’t gotten the full affect of the position yet, but I can’t wait. I’m so excited to help in the setup for Relay for Life and to do my part to ensure that everyone has an enjoyable and memorable experience during the event.
EDN: What keeps you coming back?
Caldwell: I believe it’s the community getting behind this event that moves me to return every year, not to mention the absolute good that Relay for Life stands for.
EDN: What stands out for you over the years of your involvement with Relay?
Caldwell: During each relay I have attended one thing stands out for me. No matter what time it is, or how tired the participants are, there are always smiles everywhere. Everyone is smiling and enjoying each other. That’s what Relay –– and what life –– is all about.
EDN: There are many other worthy causes in this community, Why Relay?
Caldwell: Relay is a fit for me. Not only can you raise money to combat one of the deadliest diseases on earth but you can get outside and walk with friends and family and prove to yourself that one person can make a difference.
EDN: What are your thoughts on your team’s being one of the first to join Relay?
Caldwell: I am so proud of my teams’ willingness to participate every year. We have a great group of caring people, as all of the teams do. I wish there would be a cure found today and we could say we don’t need the Relay for Life Cancer Walk anymore. But until that day we’ll fight!
EDN: A lot goes on at the Relay event, What do you enjoy most?
Caldwell: I enjoy the competition of fund raising as well as the competitions during the event itself. The fellowship that is shared is priceless. I enjoy honoring the survivors and seeing them take that proud survivor lap.
Finally, at the end of the Relay, the feeling of complete elation – knowing that the small price I paid with time and donations actually helped.
EDN: In one way or another Relay becomes personal. How is Relay personal for you?
Caldwell: Like so many others I have had many family members and friends battle this horrible disease. Some have won and some have lost the fight. I see each and every one of their faces with each stride during the relay. I want the ones who are fighting to keep fighting because I’m fighting right there with them, and I want the ones who have lost the fight to be remembered so their souls can be at peace with the knowledge that we love them and miss them and we are not going to give up until a cure is found.
There is a saying – “Man-up” or “Cowboy-up” – which means to stand and take whatever comes your way, whether it be pain, suffering, sadness.
But here’s a new one, “Relay-up!” Get involved and help us fight for a cure!

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Posted by on Feb 27 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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