Since 1925, the Anderson Lumber Company has provided the Blount County area of Tennessee with high-quality hardware and lumber products. More than a small business, Anderson Lumber has also been a big supporter of local charities and causes. In fact, owners Steve and Landon Coleman have become community pillars in the area. “The local community has supported Anderson Lumber Company for almost 100 years, which is a big part of why being involved is so important to us,” said Steve Coleman.
And now they have turned their attention to the fight against cancer and a growing challenge in the community.
According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the demand for cancer treatment is expected to grow by 40% over the next six years, while at the same time, there will be a shortage of more than 2,200 oncologists by 2025. “The challenge is that fewer and fewer medical students are choosing oncology as a career path,” says Dr. John L Bell, Director of the Cancer Institute at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.
The Coleman family first learned about the challenge when family member Stephen York Coleman lost a three-year battle with brain cancer in 2011. In his memory, the Coleman family created “Tailgating Against Cancer” which is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping support other cancer patients, their families, and physicians who are fighting cancer. Stephen was a huge University of Tennessee football fan and could be found many a Saturday in the fall tailgating at Neyland Stadium getting ready to cheer on his beloved Volunteers. So, it seemed appropriate to create Tailgating Against Cancer in his memory.
Tailgating for Cancer holds a variety of events each year to help raise money including “Sock It Out of the Park” which earned a Guinness World Record for the most people wearing mismatched socks at an event. Their biggest fundraiser is their Annual Stephen York Coleman Memorial Golf Outing which, combined with other events, has helped raise close to $400,000. And to help in the fight against cancer, these funds are being used to establish a fellowship in medical oncology at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. This fellowship will be used to attract and retain medical oncology students and physicians.
“It just feels good,” says Landon. “At the end of the day, helping people means a lot. The ability to help people and give back to the community is really rewarding.”
For more information about Anderson Lumber, visit www.andersonlumbercompany.com
This story is part of our ongoing ‘Local Memories, Lasting Impact’ series that highlights small, locally owned businesses and the differences they make in their communities