With well over $6,000 raised and awareness for Georgia Cancer Support (GCS) at an all-time high, the third annual Robbie Podskoc White concert proved to be a notable success for Polk as a whole. Four different musical acts drew in a sizable crowd that donated $10 per ticket, and concessions and drawings served to raise even more money for the organization that prides itself on helping struggling cancer patients.
Diagnosed patients earning less than $1,500 per month in total household income can apply for support at www.gcspolk.com or by phone at (470) 388-9013. Those accepted can receive up to $150 in food, prescriptions, necessities, and much more each quarter of the year.
“A big thing we do is furnish gas cards for those who apply,” said GCS co-president Judy Wiggins. “A lot of people have trouble making it to Rome (for treatment) and back, so a $100 gas card makes a big difference.”
Applicants can apply up to 4 times per year, once per quarter, and the GCS is willing to make direct contact with patients who made need help filling out paperwork. Support group volunteers also provide comforting services such as hospital visits, errand running, and shuttle services.
“Moving into the third year, we'd like people to know that we've helped every cancer patient that has qualified for our help,” Wiggins said. “We've also branched out. A few different patients have had different needs, and we've been able to meet those needs. We make contact with each applicant. Our first goal is to speak with them and let them know we're praying for them.”
This year's $6,000 plus figure is a marginal increase from the previous concert's total of $4,587, but the number of patients in need sees an annual increase, too. Those interested in making a donation (money, objects, appliances) to GCS can mail donations to P.O Box 2 Rockmart, GA 30153 or contact the staff via the described email or telephone. The group is also hosting a silent auction at this year's Riverwalk Festival, so those interested in supplying items or being a vendor can find information using the above contact information.
"We're all Rockmart folks, and we're working to serve everyone in Polk," Wiggins said. "So, we are desperately seeking some help from people in Cedartown and Aragon. We probably end up having more requests from Cedartown people than we do Rockmart."
Those interested in becoming a volunteer can contact any GCS member for more information. The group's website also sports details on the process.
Between donations and auctions, the concert remains as GCS's biggest fundraiser, however. When Robbie Podskoc White passed away on January 10th, 2016 after nearly 9 years of battling Stage 4 colon cancer, the woman's loved ones and community refused to sit back silently as cancer continued to cause grief in their hometown. In honor of their lost friend, the Georgia Cancer Support group, Polk County citizens, and many of White's former schoolmates created what is now a Polk mainstay.
Shelter, The Pea Valley Flyers, Jules and the Redneck Romeos, and duo Justin Brogdon and Benji Shanks were the groups that performed classical country, rock, and western tunes during the Sept. 8 event. Primarily local musicians, the bands reinforced the idea of community kinship for the four-hour concert.
Those who missed the chance to donate and enjoy the concert will be given the opportunity to dance at the fourth annual benefit concert. White may have passed on, but her message lives strong in Polk citizens that showed up in droves to offer both money and support for their neighbors.