HELPING HANDS: Community comes together to raise money for Bowen family
Recently, the Crenshaw community came together to host three different benefits for the family of Abigail Bowen.
“We were overwhelmed. It’s just amazing to see that we are so loved in our community that people want to help us by doing those kinds of things,” said Abigail’s father Kevin.
Over the recent Christmas holiday, 8-month-old Abigail was taken to Children’s of Alabama hospital in Birmingham.
She was diagnosed with precursor B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) on Dec. 21. ALL is a rare type of blood and bone marrow cancer that affects the white blood cells. According to information from the Mayo Clinic, there are fewer than 200,000 US cases a year.
The first fundraiser took place early in the morning on Friday, Feb. 3 on the campus of Luverne High School. Kevin, officer with the Luverne Police Department, regularly acts as crossing guard for the school in the mornings, so when word of his daughter’s condition reached the LHS faculty, they began planning a road block to raise money.
“We are so appreciative of the parents, students and teachers who donated to our road block. Each bus even collected change from the students and dropped it off. We raised over $1,320 for the families,” said Cathy Wilkes, 6th grade history and science teacher at Luverne Elementary.
The next fundraiser occurred at the Bowens’ church, Camp Ground United Methodist Church on Turkey Creek Road.
“We felt like we ought to try and help them out. To my understanding, it was about $8,000 that we raised,” said
Danny Jones, one of the fundraiser coordinators.
“It was a whole church effort. We had leg quarter plates with baked beans, potato salad and a piece of cake. We had several donations, and they were greatly appreciated. Several businesses donated money to them.”
The final fundraiser, a turkey shoot, took place on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 4 on the property of Allen Kelley.
Community members and businesses came together to donate food, time and funds to preparing this event for the Bowen family.
Businesses such as Old Gin Creek Store, Ken’s Welding, Salay Services, the Luverne Pawn Shop, Luverne Hardware, Luverne Cash & Carry, Setephen’s Garage, B.A.G.S., Preston’s Steak and Grill, Jessie’s CCW, South Alabama Recoil and more participated in the event.
Organizers of the event were Kelley, Larry Johnson, Elbert and Ernie Beasley, Aaron Rutherford, Ray Mount, Ben Brem, Jeff Strowd, Lee Simmons, Sue Pilkerton and others who remain anonymous.
The shoot that day raised over $4,900, which will go towards helping offset the Bowens’ medical expenses, as well as pay for trips back and forth to Birmingham.
Abigail returned to Children’s of Alabama Tuesday, Feb. 7 after getting to spend a week at home, to find that she was in remission.
“She’s doing well at the moment, but she still has a long road ahead of her. It will be awhile before we are to the point of getting to come home and stay awhile without staying for a month or two in the hospital,” Kevin said.