COVINGTON - Two-year-old Austin Taylor is fighting for his life, and his family and friends are asking the community to help.
In September, Austin was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a cancer that primarily occurs in children, usually beginning in the adrenal glands and forming in their nerve tissue.
Austin must undergo six to eight months of chemotherapy and then several more months of radiation therapy.
Austin's mother, Rhonda, has taken leave from her job to care for him, and his father, Matt, is also taking time off from his job with the Newton County Recreation Commission.
To help with medical costs, Austin's friends and family are holding the Austin Taylor Benefit Turkey Shoot from
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dec. 1 at Broughton Plantation in Newborn.
Participants will take aim at targets the size of a quarter, and the winner is determined by the target with the most pellets in its center.
Shooters will compete for 21 prizes, including, along with the traditional turkeys, a Husqvarna chain saw; a duck mount from Unique Taxidermy; a gift certificate from Whidby Jewelers; a Henry lever-action .22 rifle; a two-person quail hunt at Burnt Pine Plantation; and a Benilli shotgun, valued at $1,500.
Entry fees range from $10 to $100 per station, or participants can purchase a one-shot ticket for a chance at all the prizes for $250.
A kids' BB gun shoot for two youth-model guns will also be held.
All proceeds will go to help pay for Austin's medical expenses, according to Kevin Courchaine, one of the event's organizers.
"Austin's a real special little boy. He's a real well-behaved, real well-mannered little boy for his age. Everybody needs to kind of band together while people are in need," Courchaine said.
Courchaine said the idea for the turkey shoot came about during a brainstorming session among several friends of the Taylor family.
"All of us are very fortunate to have good careers and not really have any health issues in our families, and we felt like we needed to give back," Courchaine said.
While the friends initially set a goal of raising $5,000, "the response from the community has been overwhelming," Courchaine said, so the goal has now been upped to $15,000.
There is no registration fee and registration is not required.
For more information, call Courchaine at 706-713-1698 or Jeb Morris at 678-776-0363.
Broughton Plantation is located on Broughton Road, about three miles outside downtown Newborn. Directions are as follows: Take Interstate 20 to exit 98 to Ga. Highway 11 South; turn left on Ga. Highway 142; go four miles to the Newborn caution light; continue for 2.1 miles; turn left on Broughton Road; the plantation will be about three-fourths of a mile on the left.
Crystal Tatum can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.