PHIL CAMPBELL, Ala. (WHNT) - A New Year’s Day tradition in Franklin County has turned from an event for the community, to an event to help the community.
This year’s polar plunge in Phil Campbell went to help support two special kids, both battling cancer.
On a cold winter day, normally fit for only some fishing at Mon Dye Landing, folks came out in droves to throw themselves into the frigid waters.
They showed up to raise money funds for 3-year-old Millie Baker and 14-year-old Karley Welborn.
Both were diagnosed with different forms of cancer in 2014.
“Everything that the community has done since the day we found out has been overwhelming. Everybody has gone above and beyond, and it’s just been a great blessing,” said Curtis Baker, Millie’s father.
Baker tells us Millie’s leukemia is in remission right now, but she faces 114 more weeks of low dose chemo at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital in Memphis.
“She has been in good spirits since the very beginning. It has never got her down; she’s just taking it one day at a time,” Baker explained. “The days that she feels good, she enjoys those days and the days she feels bad, she takes those too.”
Karley Welborn was diagnosed with Burkitt’s lymphoma in the early fall, and deemed cancer free just before Christmas.
The 8th grade cheerleader at Phil Campbell High School is amazed and grateful for the people jumping into the cold waters on Thursday to help support her and Millie.
“I think that it’s great that they’re doing this. They have done so much for us during all this, and we are so appreciative of everything they have done, fundraisers and the thoughts and prayers during this time,” Welborn said.
And organizers say this is what being a Phil Campbell resident is all about, a neighbor picking up another neighbor when they’re down.