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April 30, 2009 Issue

Seven bootleggers raided
Through Her Eyes
Relay For Life kicks off Friday at 6 p.m.

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Seven bootleggers raided

By Parish Howard
Editor/Publisher

Friday afternoon, pretty much simultaneously, law enforcement knocked on seven doors in the Wrens area and began searching each premises for signs that illegal alcohol sales had taken place there.

At some locations, small crowds of what investigators considered possible patrons, had already started gathering.

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“These people need to know that it was their friends, neighbors and relatives that turned them in,” said David Leonard, Wrens Police Department Investigator.

Warrants were served at two residences on Denny Road, two on Highway 102 as well as homes on Howard Street, East Waker Street and Center Street.

“We had received numerous calls from citizens in these areas complaining of crowds gathering at all hours, loud music, juveniles hanging out and wearing gang colors, getting into fights,” Police Chief David Hannah said. “The neighbors called because they couldn’t sleep and because they were worried about their safety.”

Hannah said that while no charges have yet been filed, charges of selling alcohol without a license and keeping a disorderly house are expected on at least one individual at each of the seven residences. State charges involving the sell of alcohol without a license and tax evasion could also be charged, he added.

Two men who were discovered at the residences were arrested on unrelated charges. One was arrested in a probation warrant and the other on a child support warrant.

Both Leonard and Hannah said “Operation Last Call” went off without a hitch.

“I was very pleased with how well everyone worked together,” Hannah said. “We had around 40 officers there and things were handled very professionally.”

In all, Hannah’s teams seized approximately $1,400 in cash and coins, 19 bottles of gin, seven bottles of Canadian whiskey, six bottles of brandy, two bottles of vodka, 148 cans of Budweiser, 136 cans of Bud Light, 64 cans of Coors Light, 42 decks of playing cards, approximately one gallon of moonshine whiskey and a .32 semi-automatic handgun.

“We have a real problem with juveniles hanging around and people bringing drugs to these sorts of gatherings to try and sell them to the people there,” Hannah said. “Anytime you mix alcohol with things they can get dangerous.

He said the city did another series of raids like this on bootleggers about 15 years ago and attributes the rise in number of illegal booze houses in town to the current economic downturn.

“Some people said that they were doing this to supplement what little income they have,” Leonard said. “They said they knew it was wrong, but that they were doing it anyway.”

Hannah said his department is aware of several more illegal shot houses operating in town and said that he looks forward to working with state agencies again on combatting this problem.

The chief said he has already heard from some of neighbors of these houses that they got sleep this weekend.

Agencies involved in the raids included Wrens, Wadley, Louisville and Warrenton police departments, Jefferson, Glascock, McDuffie and Richmond county sheriff’s offices, DNR and the State Department of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.



Through Her Eyes

By Faye Ellison
Staff Writer

Looking out from under a black cap, Lynne Hunley’s eyes show the pain of a struggle that is not over, but they also sparkle with hope.

From a miracle worker to a walking miracle, Lynne has found that cancer can touch your life in more ways than one. To a victim of cancer, each person who works towards cancer’s eradication, through Relay for Life or otherwise, is a miracle worker.

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The countless hours spent raising the money that goes into the research and care that helps create survivors or ease the suffering is a miracle. To them it is a miracle to know that someone out there in the world cares so much about a disease that affects so many.

For 15 years, Jefferson County has pulled together to fight a battle that is affecting their neighbors, friends and loved ones. For some time now, Lynne has been in the trenches raising money through the Mount Horeb Baptist Church Relay Team, though she said she did not have much cancer in her family, she did know of people affected by the silent killer.

“I knew I felt driven to help others,” Lynne said of her life before cancer. “I thought it was a good way to help so many stricken with cancer or those who have been diagnosed. It is just growing so rapidly around here. It was good to know I was a part of something that would make a difference.”

Through Relay for Life, the money raised goes to cancer research.

“Since I have been through all of this, I see through a different set of eyes now, I know how a survivor feels,” Lynne said.

Many times, she has watched as the survivors began the Relay in Wrens each year. This year it will be her turn to help raise awareness and give new hope to everyone surviving for some time with ovarian cancer.

“I still relay for the same reasons, in memory of those who’ve fought the battle and lost,” Lynne said as she fought back tears. “I relay in hopes that no one will ever have to hear the words you have cancer again. I relay so that lives will be saved. Until that day, the treatments will improve and the side affects will get better. One day there will be a cure. It is what I hope and pray for.

“The Relay this year is going to be so emotional. It is always an emotional time, but it will be different because I’m a survivor. Now, I will be on that track. I was sympathetic before, but I didn’t have a clue as what they went through. Now, I know first hand that we all need love and support as we are diagnosed and undergo treatments. Having a positive attitude is so much of the battle. I see things in a completely different light, now I am even more driven to help.”

Symptoms and sickness
In August 2008, Lynne began to notice changes in her body.

“I was feeling more fatigued than ever before,” she explained. “I thought I was coming down with something. In a couple of weeks, I began to have more intense symptoms. I couldn’t eat, my bowel habits had changed, I just thought I had a really bad virus.”

When the sickness she had been enduring for weeks did not subside, Lynne’s daughter told her it was time to make an appointment with Dr. James M. Ford.

“So I did,” Lynne said.

On Friday, Sept. 12, Lynne said she was barely able to muster the strength to make it to the doctor’s office. Once telling him of her symptoms, he immediately set up appointments for testing.

“He thought at first maybe it was my gallbladder,” Lynne said, noting that she was not able to keep any food or fluids down. “He called Trinity and set up an appointment for an ultrasound that day.”

Diagnosis
“I was watching her, noticing how she was moving around my belly,” Lynne said of the ultrasound. “At first she was in one spot, and then she was all over my belly. I looked at her and asked, ‘Is it cancer?’ It was the first time it had ever crossed my mind.”

Unable to discuss the findings with Lynne, the ultrasound technician opted for further testing including a cat scan with contrast.

“My belly had gotten really huge, but like Dr. Ford, I was thinking it was my gallbladder,” Lynne admitted. “So I just kept praying for God to be with me and get me through what I was about to face.”

By the time Dr. Ford told Lynne she had ovarian cancer, he already had an oncologist appointment with Dr. Sharad Ghamande for her.

“Dr. Ford was very instrumental in the testing and healthcare,” she said.

Lynne had a very large ovarian tumor by this time. It was touching many of her organs, even in her chest and esophagus, but it was not in any of her organs yet. It was in stage 3C and had been growing rapidly for some time. By the time her symptoms showed, the tumor had gotten so big, she said it was causing everything to change.

Course of treatment
Putting herself in Dr. Ghamande’s hands, Lynne said she kept her faith to help her trust that his proposed medical procedures would cure her of the cancer. On Sept. 26, she went in for surgery to have a total hysterectomy and to remove the cancer.

“I agreed with him to do whatever else needed to be done during the surgery,” Lynne said. “He was able to remove about 95 percent; there were some parts he could not get to. He said the surgery was very difficult, one of the most difficult he had ever done.”

Lynne admitted that she did not realize how sick she really was and what recovery would be like after the surgery. She stayed in intensive care for three to four days after the tumor removal.

“I came home after a week and I was bedridden for a couple of months,” Lynne said of her hardship. “I was dependent on my daughters, husband and friends. They were loving and supportive throughout the whole time. But it was so hard, because I couldn’t do anything. I am a very independent woman. But, everyday I kept praying for God to give me peace and strength. He was definitely my rock.”

After her surgery, Lynne found out that there was a twist to her story; she had ovarian cancer with MMMT, a malignant mixed mullerian tumor.

“A mullerian tumor is more aggressive and faster growing,” she said. “But Dr. Ghamande was such a positive man, he told me I was going to be okay.”

Her battle was far from over, as with most cancer treatments, came chemotherapy. Two and a half weeks after her surgery she had her first treatment and found she had a lot of side affects, some she could not distinguish from the surgery or chemo.

She was scheduled for six rounds of aggressive chemotherapy in Augusta every two weeks. She said her treatments would take an entire day. She experienced fatigue, joint pain and aching and, of course, the dreaded hair loss.

“That was hard,” she admitted.

Lynne lost most of the hair on her head. It began falling out on its own, including her eyebrows and eye lashes.

“By the sixth treatment I still had some hair and I said I am going to shave my head. My husband and 11 year old son made a sacrifice and did it for me. It was a very freeing moment. If I knew how hard it was for me when my hair was falling out, I would have shaved it in the beginning. It was hard to find clumps on your pillow or lose some in the shower.

“But I put it in perspective. If it meant I would live by having chemo and losing my hair, I just said it will grow back. It is just hair.”

While being optimistic is key during the cancer battle, Lynne said a little humor doesn’t hurt either.

“I can joke about my hair loss,” Lynne said alluding to shampoo jokes she had told friends. “I want people to know I’m not uncomfortable. I am completely comfortable. I just wear a hat or bandanna. Cancer is not funny, but you have to find humor and be positive to get through it.”

After three months of chemotherapy, Lynne said she noticed a remarkable improvement in the way she felt.

“I was able to do more things on a weekly basis,” she said. “I can sense that I am getting better.”

She completed her sixth treatment in February of this year. She had another cat scan with contrast performed to see if the cancer was completely gone. Dr. Ghamande found some shadowing and possible scar tissue. He recommended three more rounds and another scan afterwards to make sure it is completely gone.

The aftermath
Lynne finished her final treatment almost three weeks ago. She went back to the doctor on Wednesday of this week and will know the results of her cat scan on May 6.

“I am optimistic that it will all be gone,” she said. “I don’t ever want it to come back. Dr. Ghamande always maintained that I would do very well. He makes me think that it will be better. But I will always have to be on the lookout and have testing to make sure it doesn’t come back.”

Now her appetite is back and she said she feels stronger, all while giving God the credit.

“The surgery and chemotherapy didn’t bother me,” Lynne said. “I knew I had to do what I had to do to beat the cancer and beat it is what I would do. I have an 11 year old son and two daughters and granddaughters. I had to be as normal as I could to bounce back. I had to let them know that mama and nana would be fine.”

While the younger generation may not have grasped the toll the disease was taking on her, her husband knew and never left her side. Through it all, Lynne discovered the community she lived in was precious. She was able to forge new friendships and rekindle old ones as well.

“I want to thank my husband, Rex, my daughters, Alisha and April, my son, Jacob, granddaughters, Ashlyn and Amber, family, friends and the community for their love and support,” Lynne gushed. “So many people came forward to help. They fed us everyday and took care of my family. I will be forever grateful and will never forget any of them. All the prayers, visits, phone calls, donations and everything were so helpful.”

Family and friends clung together to create Lynne’s Friends to raise money to help her and her family.

“I am so thankful to live in this community. It is so awesome. God placed so many wonderful people in our path, the nurses, friends, family, everybody. God has a way of making things happene and it has made my faith grow even stronger.

“I’ve always believed in miracles, now I am a walking miracle. I’m so much better, not 100 percent yet, but now I spend time enjoying life, like being outdoors, spending time with my family and friends, spending time with God and reflecting, reading my Bible. I feel totally blessed.”

Lynne helped to create a GYN support group for women who have the same type of cancer or other types that affect women also. She wants to encourage women to have regular gynecological check-ups and to talk to their doctor if they are not feeling normal, even with the smallest symptom.

Though her outlook on life has been renewed, she still has her rough times.

“There are days when I have a pity party, but I rely on my faith, family, friends and community,” she said. “That’s what got me through the bad days when I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other.”

Lynne still has to have blood work done every week and she will continue to be on the lookout for a relapse, even if she is cleared and cancer free in the coming week.

“There has been so much good that has come out of this,” Lynne laughed. “The good really outweighs the bad.”



Relay For Life kicks off Friday at 6 p.m.

By Kate Agel
Intern

The 15th annual Relay for Life for Jefferson County is on May 1-May 2, 6:00 pm until 11:00 am. The theme this year is “Cruisin’ for a Cure.” According to Co-Coordinator Chris Dube, there are 12 teams locked in for the 2009 relay, and more are hopefully joining soon.

The teams participating are First State Bank, Queensborough National Bank and Trust, WES School house Rockers, WMS Colts-Kicking for a Cure, Seekers, CJs Animals, Disciples for Life, Kingdom Life, Heritage Healthcare, Mount Horeb Baptist, Jefferson Hospital and the KaMin Chalk Walkers.

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None of these teams are new to the Relay for Life, but Queensborough Bank is being welcomed back. Also, one of the hopeful, though uncommitted, teams possibly partaking in the 2009 relay is Jefferson County High School.

The oldest team participating is First State Bank, who has taken part in the Relay for Life of Jefferson County since the first relay 15 years ago.

This year’s team goal total is $100,000, which compares moderately to the past ten year’s net amount average of $122,675. The survivor goal for this year is at 200, with the average number for the last ten years at 184 survivors participating.

According to American Cancer Society Community Manager, Lisa Bryant, Jefferson County has held its own in quality and quantity of participation, especially for its size.

“For a community that size that’s a really good number. When you think about it, there’s really not a big city in that area. So that’s not a bad number at all,” she said about the last decade’s average net amount.

“The more people involved the more of a force we can be,” Bryant said, concerning her efforts towards getting many of the same 421 people who have participated in the past relays to register again this year.

Dube hopes this relay will be an exciting one, and said “We hope to give people a reason to come out and participate with the event.”

Anyone interested in participating in the 15th Anniversary of the Relay for Life of Jefferson County should be aware that there is still time to get organized.

For more information, call Chris Dube at (706)-547-4090, or Vicky McDonald at (706)-547-2635.




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