ROCKINGHAM — You can’t have an experience with cancer and not want a cure, and Rodney Gandy is doing his part to give people a way to contribute that goal with the opening of the Cancer Care Treasure Shop
The shop, at 704 E. Broad Ave., is a nonprofit that will sell donated clothes, trinkets, toys, furniture and antiques with all proceeds going towards the Relay for Life in Richmond County.
“We don’t throw anything away,” Gandy said. “Even if you can get a quarter for it, it’s going towards cancer.”
The money will go towards cancer research, education on early detection of symptoms and programs and services for people who have been diagnosed, according to Cameron Whitley, senior community development manager for the American Cancer Society which puts on the relay.
“I’m just excited for the opportunity … and we’re excited to work with him,” Whitley said.
The store will open Friday, June 1, with a grand opening the following Monday at 11:30 a.m.
Founded by Dr. Gordy Klatt in Washington in 1985, the Relay For Life celebrates people who have been touched by cancer, memorializes loved ones lost, and raises money for cancer research. Whitley, whose region includes Richmond, Anson, Stanly and Montgomery counties, said the Relay raised $60,000 in the last year, which she called “average” and short of their goal of $68,000. The organization is still accepting donations, Whitley said.
The cause is personal to Gandy. His mother, Diane McNeill, a CNA for more than 20 years, had cancer twice — once in 1998 and again in 2001. After her treatment caused her license to expire, she retook the tests and passed, only for the cancer to come back, forcing her to “give it up.”
“Radiation and chemo will drain you dry,” said McNeill, 70. “It takes you a long time to get your strength back and some of it you never get back.”
The radiation to treat tonsil cancer degraded her jaw bone to the point that it broke. McNeill wound up losing part of her jaw bone and her tongue. She is now cancer-free, and donated more than 50 sets of scrubs that she’s worn over the years to support her son’s mission — but it wasn’t easy to part with the garments.
“It was like pulling teeth. In fact, as I was pulling them out I was crying,” she said. “I enjoyed that line of work because I enjoyed helping people and I had to leave it because of cancer.”
Now retired, McNeill said she had to try not to think about what she was giving away because “I would love to go back to the field.” But she will still help Gandy in any way that she can.
Gandy said he chose the name “Treasure Shop” because thrift stores have a negative connotation, and wants his to be a better quality. Some notable items in the store are a Pepsi-Cola bottle from the 1950s, a pair of oil lamps resembling the one from Aladdin (the shop also has the VHS version of the Disney classic, among others), and a chamber pot with the original pot that Gandy said is a family heirloom.
The grand opening on Monday will offer guests gift cards, door prizes, gift giveaways, and will be catered by Fatz, according to Gandy.
Jasmine Hager contributed to this story. Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674 or [email protected]