GOODWELL, Okla. – The giving nature is one of the greatest things in society. It’s also one of the most contagious.
Just a few weeks after the establishment of the Craig Latham Medical Fund and a benefit at Bob’s Cowboy Bar and Rodeo Room in Guymon, others in the Oklahoma Panhandle are stepping up to the plate to offer their gifts, talents and financial support to Latham and his family with an online auction.
In June, Latham was diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Tests from the visit a week ago were good. The tumor that was removed during surgery was an isolated plasmacytoma, meaning it had not spread into the bone marrow. Doctors warned Latham and his wife, Lori, that plasmacytoma can easily advance. Therefore, the family will be returning to Baltimore every six months so doctors can keep a close eye on the disease.
That’s why family and friends have reached out to others to help Latham, a nine-time qualifier to the National Finals Rodeo who now coaches the rodeo team for his alma mater, Oklahoma Panhandle State University. Brent Shoulders, an assistant professor of art at Panhandle State, is organizing the online auction, which will take place Aug. 5-Sept. 16 at www.gatlinauction.com.
“I have known Craig and Lori for many years, and they are great people who do all they can for the community of Goodwell and the OPSU community,” Shoulders said. “I also had a brother who passed away from cancer, and the whole fight is almost personal. Being so close to someone going through treatments, my family understands the extreme cost of treatment, and we also understand the generosity of our home community.
“We never lacked for help with anything because our community pulled together to help us, and I feel that it’s important to help others. It’s a Christian principle that I believe in.”
The benefit will feature award-winning artists from the region and Panhandle State art students, faculty and alumni.
“It will also feature merchandise donated from the great people of this area,” Shoulders said. “I want to thank everyone who has donated thus far and ask anyone else interested in donating to this great cause to do so.”
Friends from the rodeo community are donating items, too. Cervi Rodeo, a Colorado-based livestock firm, is providing four plaza tickets to the 10th go-round of the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, which will be Saturday, Dec. 10, in Las Vegas. The Cervis also are donating two stud fees, which will allow for two mares to be bred to a super-bred bucking horse.
Therese Renault is donating jewelry, Best Bet Taxidermy is donating a $250 gift certificate and Chris Roe is donating an annual membership to Roe Hunting Resources. More donations will be piling in over the next few days, and information can be found at the Gatlin Auction website.
Those who wish to donate to the Craig Latham Medical Fund can do so through the account set up at the Bank of the Panhandle, P.O. Box 2180, Guymon, OK 73942.
“I knew of Craig before I ever came to Goodwell, and it didn’t take long to see their importance to the community,” Shoulders said. “The family is tremendously wonderful, and the amount and caliber of donations coming in is proof that Craig and Lori have touched this community. Craig has done a great deal of work in the sport of rodeo, and now he heads a celebrated rodeo program at OPSU. He works tirelessly to keep things going in a positive direction and is continuing to make great strides in rodeo and as an educator.
“If you’ve ever been around Craig, you know him from the start. Everything he says and does is that of a genuine person. Those who know Craig and Lori know how special they are, and we’re just trying to help them any way we can.”