Corley Ellis raises funds to fight cancer

Corley Ellis is actively campaigning for “Man of the Year” honors.

Whether Ellis, the Shelby County Commission chairman, wins or loses the competition is really beside the point. Either way, Ellis will have helped make a big financial difference in the fight against cancer.

Ellis is one of nine individuals vying for “Man of the Year” or “Woman of the Year” honors from the Birmingham chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The winner is selected based solely on philanthropic criteria. In other words, the person who raises the most money to fight against cancer wins. So, really, everybody wins in the end.

For Ellis, the reality of cancer really hit home in 2005. That’s when he said a good friend of his was diagnosed with Acute Myelogeous Leukemia.

Prior to this, Ellis said he knew what cancer was, knew it wasn’t good. After it hit his friend, Ellis said he could now literally teach a class on it. It’s something Ellis is very passionate about.

For more motivation, Ellis and the other candidates need to look no further than the cases of Addison Sewell and Sean Fredella. Sewell and Fredella have both been afflicted by blood cancers and are the Girl of the Year and Boy of the Year, respectively.

Sewell was diagnosed with AML three days after her 14th birthday in 2007. She’s now a healthy senior student at Mountain Brook High School. Fredella, on the other hand, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia at age 2. He went through four years of chemotherapy and eventually a bone marrow transplant. He’s now a healthy fourth-grade student at Mountain Brook Elementary.

The fundraising competition to help others like Sewell and Fredella culminates May 12 with a Grand Finale Celebration. To help Ellis win “Man of the Year” and, most importantly, raise money against cancer, contact him to make a donation.

For our part, the Shelby County Reporter has partnered with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and on April 30 will hold “Crawdaddies for a Cure” at Grey Bar. We’re selling wristbands for the event, which includes all-you-can eat crawfish and a t-shirt. All proceeds go towards Ellis’ “Man of the Year” campaign. Call our office at 669-3131 for more information.

Brad Gaskins is a staff writer for the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at 669-3131 ext. 14 or by e-mail at brad.gaskins@shelbycountyreporter.com.