On Saturday and Sunday, on Blue Ridge Communication TV-13, the annual telethon of the Tamaqua-Carbon Unit of the American Cancer Society will be broadcast.

It is strongly encouraged you tune into it. It will re-enforce our opinion that there are a lot of good people out there doing a lot of good things.

During both days, there are performers – young and old, professional and amateur – donating their time and talents in an effort to raise money for the ACS.

The people who put together the telethon are all volunteers.

You'll probably recognize the names of friends and possibly even family members making pledges.

On Sunday night, there are two highlights. One is the presentation of three individuals with the ACS "Courage Awards." The second is the tally at the end of the telethon, which is generally a very impressive figure. Hopefully the economy doesn't negatively impact this year's event.

All three Courage Award recipients certainly qualify for their recognition. They are:

Ÿ Jamie Lynn Tatusko, 25, of Nesquehoning, who is battling Hodgkins lymphoma. Tatusko is an amazing young lady who hasn't let the pain and discomfort of her ailment prevent her from teaching math in the Weatherly School District, or serving as an assistant track coach in Jim Thorpe.

Ÿ Betty Ann Waidell of Tamaqua has breast cancer. She's fighting it, stating she has too much to live for. She's has incredible determination in her battle against the ailment.

Ÿ Elizabeth "Lee" Bubel Kostin of Brockton is 84 years old and is fighting cancer of the neck, throat, and lungs. Neither her age nor the illness stops her from going to work and operating a notary service in Hometown.

There are many people out there like Jamie Lynn, Betty Ann, and Lee. They become afflicted with ailments – not only cancer – and they remain optimistic, determined, and functional. They don't let self-pity get them down. They set great examples.

You'll hear cancer survivor stories on the telethon; stories that will bring tears to your eyes.

The entertainment that volunteers perform each year is among the best in the region. There's a former member of The Temptations who does vocals. There are soloists, high school choral groups, and bands.

The telethon began in Tamaqua Area High School and evolved into a major two-day event that raises tens of thousands of dollars. But it's not only about the money.

More importantly, it's about cancer awareness.

By Ron Gower

rgower@tnonline.com