Garden event supports cancer research

The families of Brennan Simkins (left) and Patrick Chance are united in an effort to raise money to help young cancer patients.

Sometimes, when we seemingly can do nothing to stop a tragedy, there is always a chance to step up and do some good.


Few know that more than the families of Patrick Chance and Brennan Simkins. The families are working to raise funds for medical research for Patrick and Brennan and other children with cancer.

Martinez gardener Kris Gordon, Patrick's grandmother, started a holiday fundraiser with her garden club several years ago. Press On for the Holidays, previously Patrick's Paperwhites, involves the selling of potted paperwhite and amaryllis bulbs.

"We thank everyone for their support last year," Gordon said. "We sold 633 pots, contributing $7,800 to Press On. We have been challenged this year to really step up to the plate by the donation of 1,000 ceramic pots by, a Web site for eco-friendly items for the home and garden." has once again joined with Press On for the Holidays to provide the bulbs.

"The paperwhite bulbs -- Ariel -- are bred to be shorter than the more common paperwhites and also have more blooms on stronger stalks," said Gordon. "The amaryllis -- Minerva -- is absolutely spectacular, with some people reporting up to six blooms per stalk."

The paperwhites sell for $15 each, and the amaryllis are $20 each. Orders will be taken this month and in October for delivery in November.

In its first year, Press On raised $100,000 and has raised more than $300,000 in the past three years.

The need for additional research funding is significant. The research and clinical trials are very expensive.

Patrick was diagnosed with neuroblastoma four years ago. He relapsed in June 2009 after enduring 34 months of treatments. His parents, Erin and Stephen Chance, of Atlanta, founded Press On in June 2006 after Patrick was diagnosed.

Last year, Turner and Tara Simkins, of Augusta, joined Press On after their son Brennan was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on the eve of his seventh birthday.

Both Brennan and Patrick have relapsed and are now waging battle with "far fewer and far riskier options," said Gordon. "Beating neuroblastoma and AML requires additional national resources for more research and for expensive and risky clinical trials."

"The Chances and Simkins have often summoned the will to 'press on' -- Philippians 3:12-16 -- during the most difficult days of their war on cancer," added Gordon.

For information about Press On for the Holidays or to place an order, contact Kris Gordon at (706) 863-7405 or

Garden events

- 11th Annual Plant Exchange and Sale -- Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon; Savannah Rapids Pavilion in Martinez.

- Layman Wholesale Nursery in Trenton, S.C., is opening for the public -- through Saturday and Sept. 22-25, Sept. 29-Oct. 2 and Oct. 6-9. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.