About Audie and Kathy White Foundation
The Audie and Kathy White Foundation (AKW) is an all volunteer organization working in partnership with the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Founded in 2010 by citizens of the City of Trussville, AKW works as the sponsoring organization for annual “Turn Trussville Pink” events throughout October all across the City of Trussville. Each year, thousands of people across the city participate in “Turn Trussville Pink” through a variety of unique events and special fundraisers benefitting AKW. Each year as Trussville “turns pink,” AKW raises money through the distribution of “Turn Trussville Pink” t-shirts. These funds are then bundled together with research donations from the community and passed along to cutting-edge researchers at the world renowned UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 2013, AKW became the second largest third party donor to the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, annually contributing tens of thousands of dollars to fund research.
Message from our Founder
I believe that, for better or worse, each and every one of us has a story to tell. In my story, I had two parents each with their own cancer diagnosis. I remember when I was nine years old I was called to the kitchen table one night to hear words that no nine year old wants to hear, “Son, there’s no easy way to say this, but, your mother has breast cancer.” Truthfully, at the time, I didn’t even know what these words meant. As time passed, however, I learned all too well what was happening to our family.
Nearly ten years later, I woke up one morning to find my father, sitting at that very same kitchen table, acting completely out of the ordinary. One MRI later and we all knew why: a metastasized brain tumor. When my mother had been diagnosed, she plastered the word “believe” all over our house. You couldn’t walk ten feet in our house without seeing it somewhere. When my father Audie was diagnosed, it didn’t take long for Mom to break out the sticky notes and write “believe” all over them. I will be perfectly honest and say that “believing” is quite a bit harder when your diagnosis is terminal and you’ve had some of the worlds’ best physicians tell you plainly that, “There is nothing we can do.” I remember one night in particular that was extremely difficult for my father. I can remember him putting his head in his hands and saying, “I just don’t have any hope.” Those words echoed in my ears all throughout his 14 month battle, and probably even more so after the battle ended. When my father was battling his disease, he lived by one of his life verses: Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” At first glance, this story didn’t have anything “good” about it- but at that exact point, I was reminded of my father’s advice to, “keep looking.”
Four months after my father’s death, it was time once again for “Turn Trussville Pink.” In the midst of my personal pain, I was inspired by those within the City of Trussville who continued to support “Turn Trussville Pink” year after year. For me, it was inspiring to see an entire community come together to show support for those affected by breast cancer. Year after year, thousands of people wearing their pink shirts, putting up there pink bows, and raising money in honor or memory of loved ones. Everyone, from the Mayor to the church pastors, from the retirement homes to the kindergarten classes- everyone was involved with this event – and it was inspiring.
After “Turn Trussville Pink” passed, I was determined to keep the energy high and keep the momentum going. On a similar note, we had reached full operating capacity with the event itself and it seemed that changes would almost certainly have to be made. With the help of many: my mother Kathy, my sister Shayna, HTHS teacher and DECA sponsor Tracey Jackson, past HTHS principal Dr. Mark Kirkemier, business owner Jo Cook, and close friend Matt Calderone, and countless others, we all set out to create a non-profit organization. The organization would be able to facilitate the continuously growing “Turn Trussville Pink,” but would also be able to do much more than that.
This movement has always been about individuals, each with their own individual stories, coming together as one in order to support all. We recognize that bringing hope, above all else, is the most important thing that we can do for one another. Our way of doing that is to support cutting edge research at one of the nation’s leading cancer research facilities, the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center. Research is the single solution to providing treatments, to providing cures, and to providing hope to all of those who have been touched by this disease. For this reason, the Audie and Kathy White Foundation is an all-volunteer organization benefitting cancer research. My father didn’t have hope, but hopefully by using his story and those of so many like him, we can bring hope to others. I believe that God is using our story, and those of so many like us, to “work together for the good” – and I hope you will join us. My father’s battle with cancer was over from the word, “Go.” But in my mind, it didn’t have to be.
Keep Looking Up,
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