Edited to fix a few errors:
The death of Charlie Norwood to lung disease six years ago was like blue-car syndrome for me.
Blue-car syndrome is the phenomena that, if you buy a blue car, it suddenly seems like everyone is driving a blue car.
It was like that after Norwood. When I heard he had pulmonary fibrosis – and after I was gently chewed out in his office for suggesting he retire to take care of his health – I took greater notice of lung diseases.
Coincidentally, my youngest daughter’s sorority has as one of its philanthropies the fight against cystic fibrosis. Their “color run” 5K, in which participants are doused with brightly colored powder along the Georgia Southern campus course, was a fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I ran it last year with my oldest daughter – who is a respiratory therapist.
Another 5K this weekend is a little closer to home for us here in Columbia County, and for a similar purpose.
Sawyer Mobley, a 10-year-old Bel Air Elementary student, is recovering in St. Louis, Mo., after a double-lung transplant. His mom reports that the Martinez boy seems to be doing well with his physical therapy, and this past weekend was able to go outdoors and breathe fresh air into those new lungs for the first time.
That is just incredible to think about. Even more incredible is that, after his recovery, Sawyer will be able to live a mostly normal life. He’ll have to take anti-rejection medicine the rest of his life, but he’ll be able to breathe fresh air whenever he wants. (As I've been remedially informed, the transplant won't cure CF, but with success it will grant him a longer life.)
If you’re one of most of the rest of us who can take that for granted, I’d invite you to join me this Saturday, March 9, at Savannah Rapids Park to participate in the Strength for Sawyer 5K fundraiser run. Along with other activities held recently, this race will help defray the enormous costs to Sawyer’s family as he recovers.
You can sign up for Saturday’s race by searching for “sawyer” at www.active.com. I’m sure he’d appreciate it, and I’ll bet Charlie Norwood probably would have, too.
Even the fifth time around, it still doesn’t get old to hear Rachael Cundey’s name called as the winner of the regional Scripps National Spelling Bee.
The Lakeside Middle School eighth-grader bested everyone, again, this past weekend for the regional bee, and once again will head to national competition in Washington, D.C.
She came in 10th place last year, so there’s no doubt she has a great shot at winning the title.
Columbia County was honored last year by sending competitors to the Olympics and the Paralympics. A spelling contest might not get as much attention, but it’s every bit as amazing.
Congratulations to Rachael, and best of luck at the national bee.
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. Email barry.paschal@newstimes online.com, or call 706-868-1222, ext. 106. Follow at www.twitter.com/