Impromptu Cancer Association Telethon raises $7,000

TOP PHOTO: Lonnie Hatmaker reacts to the matching pledge made by “my girls” as he calls Hack and Tomi Ayers daughters, Debra Lawson, Traci Dower and Codi Provins. The Ayers sisters’ pledge took Wednesday night’s Campbell County Cancer Association total from $3,500 to $7,000.

LAFOLLETTE, TN (WLAF) – It all started almost two weeks ago when a letter addressed to Clarence Lowe ended up in Lonnie Hatmaker’s mailbox. Hatmaker, the long time business man, best known for his sharp attire, white cowboy boots and El Camino, called Lowe to tell him he had his mail, and from there an idea for a telethon came about.

Hatmaker told Lowe, the decades long treasurer of the Campbell County Cancer Association, that his 86th birthday was coming up, and he wanted to celebrate his birthday by doing something for his late wife Sandra and the CCCA. “Sandra lost her 14 year battle with cancer back in the fall, and I want to do a telethon on WLAF to honor her,” Hatmaker exclaimed.

There’s not a lot of available airtime on Wednesday night on WLAF, and given Lonnie’s birthday fell on a Wednesday, January 10, meant for an abbreviated telethon. Lonnie was just fine with the 75-minute window and made the most of it.

Lonnie Hatmaker reads a pledge during Wednesday night’s Campbell County Cancer Association telethon as Clarence Lowe sits by.

Pledges were made ahead of the broadcast, and combined with several phone call pledges during the telethon, the total money raised ran up to $3,500. However, just before the telethon signed off, the Ayers sisters, Debra Lawson, Traci Dower and Codi Provins, phoned in a pledge that they would match the night’s total.

That final pledge was icing on the cake. “Girls, you’re gonna make me wet myself,” said Lonnie as laughter broke out in the studio. “You know, this is the last thing I’ll be able to do for Sandra,” Hatmaker sadly said before signing off the air.

Lonnie Hatmaker (left) laughs as he shares one of the many stories he told on Wednesday night during the Cancer Association Telethon. Jim Freeman (center) and Clarence Lowe (right) listen.

So, for the letter carrier, who mistakenly delivered a letter meant for Clarence Lowe to Lonnie Hatmaker, we say “thank you.” And for all those of you who volunteered to help at Wednesday night’s telethon and for those of you so generous to donate, we also say “thank you.” (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 01/11/2024-6AM-PHOTOS COURTESY OF WLAF’S MATTHEW MOORE)