OXFORD – Two months ago, when the Oxford Fire Department began brainstorming ways to provide support for 23-year old Todd Harvey and his family, their intention was to raise as much money as they could for the young man who continues to battle a life-threatening form of skin cancer. With the fundraiser just days away, the organizers admit that the effort has grown larger than they ever anticipated.
“It’s truly incredible,” said Oxford Fire Chief Martin. “The support we are getting from the community, as well as the merchants, has been unbelievable.”
This Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Martin’s department will join forces with other community organizations to raise money for the young man.
After being diagnosed with malignant melanoma over a year ago, Todd had originally responded well to treatments, the fire chief explained. But this summer, he and his family learned that the aggressive cancer had metastasized to the young man’s lung. As a result, Todd has been undergoing aggressive treatments which require he and his family to travel to and from Duke University Hospital in North Carolina, as well as lengthy hospital stays, Martin said.
Once they learned that Todd’s condition had worsened, the Oxford Fire Department immediately started exploring their options for helping the family. For, while Todd himself had never been a member of the Oxford Fire Department, both his grandfather, Bill Harvey, Sr., and father, Bill Harvey, Jr., have long-standing associations with the volunteer fire service. There is no doubt that the Oxford Fire Department considers him one of their own.
What started as an idea for a single fundraiser has snowballed into a three day event involving numerous activities and several organizations.
“This thing has gotten huge,” Martin said, adding that he has been receiving phone calls from across the United States about the fundraiser and knows of people flying in from Virginia for the event.
For the last month, he and the benefit’s other organizers have been refining and adding to the weekend’s schedule of events.