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When Shannon Covington found out she could save her sister's life by donating her own bone marrow, she didn't have to think twice. She didn't even hesitate when she learned she'd have to take in Natalie Turner's three children while Turner recovered, even though Covington has four children of her own.
"It was not hard to decide to do," Covington said. "It's hard to do, but it wasn't hard to decide."
Now, Covington and family friends are asking the community to support the Shiloh grad by coming out for a fundraising walk this weekend.
Turner, 28, was diagnosed with myelodysplasia, a rare type of leukemia, in December. In April, she received a bone marrow transplant from Covington. Following the surgery, Turner's immune system needs six months to a year to rebuild, during which time she can't be around her children. Covington is keeping all three of Turner's kids - ages 8, 2 and 1 - along with her four children, ages 13, 6, 2 and 1. Four of the children are still in diapers.
Turner's and Covington's father died of the same disease 15 years ago. Doctors tell the sisters there are only three other known cases of hereditary myelodysplasia.
A friend of Turner's has organized a fundraising walk to raise money to cover Turner's medical and child care costs. Turner's COBRA health insurance payments are $850 per month, and her children are uninsured since Turner left her job as a bus driver.
Life Steps for Natalie Turner will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Shiloh High School, 4210 Shiloh Road in Snellville. The walk will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and a silent auction will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Red Cross will also hold a blood drive from noon to 4:45 p.m., as long as at least 50 people sign up ahead of time. As of press time, only 25 people had signed up. For more information on the walk or blood drive, visit http://home.bellsouth.net/p/PWP-lifesteps.
Here's to you, Jane
If you're a fan, or a foe, of Jane Fonda, you won't want to miss out on this year's fundraiser for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention. Instead of its traditional movie premiere fundraiser, the group is holding a celebrity roast of Fonda. The Atlanta resident, who founded G-CAPP in 1995, graciously agreed to be roasted at this PG-rated event, said G-CAPP executive director Michele Ozumba.
"It's not going to be a Comedy Central Roast. It will be fun, but above-the-waist, humor," Ozumba said.
Roasters include celebrities such as Eve Ensler, Carrie Fisher, Rosie O'Donnell, Debbie Reynolds, Wanda Sykes and Ted Turner. Larry King will emcee the evening's festivities. Past G-CAPP fundraisers have raised more than $5 million to benefit the group, which seeks to eliminate adolescent pregnancy in Georgia. The fundraiser caps off a month-long campaign for May's National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.
In the past decade, there's been a 27 percent decline in teen births in Georgia, Ozumba said. But the state sill ranks 43rd in the United States for its adolescent birth rate. Among other initiatives, G-CAPP offers housing for teen mothers without a supportive home, provides social and emotional support for pregnant teens and trains peer leaders.
"We encourage adults to really talk often and talk early with their teens and children," Ozuma said. "The most important issue is to be very clear about their values and attitudes about sex and to communicate that often and early."
The roast is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday at the Georgia Aquarium, 225 Baker St. in Atlanta. Single tickets are available for $250. For ticket information, call 404-475-6041. For more information on G-CAPP, visit www.gcapp.org.
Atlanta Falcon's golf tournament will benefit
Atlanta Falcon Derek Rackley's 5th Annual Derek Rackley Celebrity Classic Fore the Kids golf tournament will be held on June 12 at the Gold Club of Georgia, One Golf Club Drive in Alpharetta. This year's event will benefit two children's charity groups - the Fragile Kids Foundation and Rackley's own R.A.C.K Foundation. The group provides college scholarship funds for graduating high school student athletes. For more information, visit www.4-eight.com.
Golf registration and warm-up will begin at 10 a.m. with a shotgun start at noon. Several Atlanta Falcons, including Alge Crumpler, are expected to play. The registration deadline is Monday. To register for the tournament, visit www.fragilekids.org, call Dorsa McGuire at 770-350-9433 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
fundraiser will be
Make like Charlie and search for a golden ticket Saturday at the Fernbank Museum's Lost Oasis fundraiser.
The fundraiser, a benefit for BONES (Building on Experiences in Science) for Kids, is based on Roald Dahl's classic 1964 novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." BONES for Kids is a fund established by the Artemis Guild in 2003 to enrich children's programming at Fernbank Museum. Guests can purchase drawing tickets for a chance at one of five golden tickets, as well as a grand prize of a trip for four to California.
The fundraiser will run from 7:30 p.m. to midnight. Tickets are $76 for members and $100 for non-members. For more information, call 404-929-6392 or visit www.fernbank.edu/museum/lostoasis.html.