After surviving colon cancer, Jeff Garton was ready to get on with his life.
Even while going through chemotherapy, he wanted to talk about the good times, not the bad. At one point, he told his wife, Lauren, "When all of this is done, I think I really want to start a family."
Members of the Wilmington Island Lions Club, the couple is active in the community, often working on fundraisers and volunteering to help others. Even after he was diagnosed with colon cancer in August 2011, Garton chaired the Wilmington Island Lions Classic golf tournament.
"He organized it and chaired it for three years," Dan Drum says. "This would have been the fourth year."
Also during this time, Garton founded a running team he called the Semi-Colons to raise money to fight colon cancer. As a Lion, he worked to raise money for the benefit of the blind and visually impaired of the community.
He also clung to his dream of being a father. It took a while, but Garton had faith and a belief that a positive attitude could get him through anything. Not only did he have to wait until he was sure he was cancer-free, he had to wait until all the chemicals from the chemotherapy had left his body before fathering a child.
When Lauren told him she was expecting twins, a boy and a girl due in November, Garton was elated. But on June 14, just before he turned 30, Garton was struck in the head by a piece of farm equipment at his job at Copper Station Farms, near Townsend.
After being airlifted to the Memorial Heath trauma center in Savannah, Garton received life-saving care. However, it became obvious that due to his traumatic brain injury, he needed more intensive rehabilitation than is available in Savannah.
On June 28, Garton was transported to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for treatment and therapy. Although he is expected to recover, he faces many months of intensive rehabilitation.
Now the Wilmington Island Lions are raising money for Garton to help pay for the expenses and loss of income during his hospitalization and rehabilitation. A fundraiser is being held Aug. 15 at Coach's Corner.
It won't be formal, Drum says.
"People can order what they want from the Coach's Corner menu," he says. "There will be fun and games, plus raffles for donated prizes, including a Yeti Cooler."
The Lions want to give back to one of their own, Drum says.
"Jeff and Lauren are both very active in civic and service activities," he says. "Both are Lions.
"Lauren is a member of the Junior League. While recovering from colon cancer surgery, Jeff organized his own running team for the Get Your Rear in Gear run to benefit the Colon Cancer Coalition.
"Everyone just wants to give back a little to a couple who give so much to their community," Drum says. "They are two of the nicest people you could ever meet."
IF YOU GO
What: Fundraiser for Jeff and Lauren Garton
When: 6:30 p.m. Aug. 15
Where: Coach's Corner, 3016 E. Victory Drive
Cost: Donations will be accepted
Info: 912-897-8753, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.wilmingtonislandlions.org