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Crevolyn Wiley: An interesting name for a special nonprofit cause
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“What’s in a name?” Juliet asked Romeo.

Shakespeare knew a name was a vital part of life.

This past weekend I was shopping with my son and the woman who was helping us asked my son his name. When he replied, she looked at me and asked why I gave him such a strange name.

His name is Garrett. While his name may not be as common as others, it’s certainly not a strange name.

Trying to not be a defensive mother bear, I calmly told her Garrett is a name that suits my son perfectly.

I knew as soon as this conversation started the next question was on the way. When she asked my name, for a split second I thought about giving a fake name to avoid the conversation I knew was coming.

When I told her my name she laughed out loud. Then I did wish I had given her an alias. Maybe Adele, Cher or Reba?

An organization near and dear to my heart has an interesting name, Thumbs Up Mission. It was founded and run by our friends, Miles and Sharon Coker.

The Cokers lost their youngest son, Keaton, to brain cancer at age 18 in July 2014. A few months prior to his death, the family was granted a trip through the Make-a-Wish Foundation. This was an indescribable trip full of memories for them.

After Keaton died, the Cokers wanted to share with other cancer families the kind of relaxed and fun-filled time they experienced. They wanted their mission to go beyond just sick children. They wanted parents and children with cancer to have time away with their families.

So Thumbs Up Mission was born. It was named for Keaton’s positive reaction once he lost his ability to verbally communicate.

It is the hope of Thumbs Up Mission that Keaton’s positive spirit be felt by each family as they take a break from cancer treatments.

In the two years since its inception, Thumbs Up has held five retreats in Northwest Georgia and North Carolina caring for 129 families on a journey with cancer made up of more than 800 individuals.

A unique luncheon and fashion experience, Dressed to Kill Cancer, will be from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Chattahoochee Country Club to benefit Thumbs Up.

This will be a celebration of brave men and women who are battling cancer, have had cancer or have a loved one battling cancer. These folks will be showcased through video stories and live testimonies.

Local merchants will provide spring clothing modeled by these folks affected by cancer.

Proceeds from the event will provide retreats for families, specifically for them to enjoy and get away from the everyday struggles with no cost to the families. This is an event like no other, intentionally honoring and supporting these families.

For more information and to order tickets, visit www.thumbsupmission.org.

Crevolyn Wiley is a Gainesville resident with her first published cookbook “Cooking with Crevolyn” available at J&J Foods. She can be contacted at crevolyn.wiley@jandjfoods.com.

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