4 A Cure for the win

Lawrence County’s annual 4 A Cure flag football game will take place this Saturday night at the East Lawrence High School football stadium. Player entry is a minimum $20 donation and the game will feature two teams divided equally. All proceeds will go to benefit the American Cancer Society. 

These days there is a lot of negativity in the world. The digital age, while super productive and useful, has also brought new ways to produce negativity. People love to hide behind profiles online and bash anything and anybody. 

However, while there is a lot of negativity in the world today, there are still plenty of people that want to do good things. 

Enter 4 A Cure. 

The 4 A Cure group was started in 2011 and has continued to be a growing and prolific group in Lawrence County to this day. The group has dedicated their efforts to helping raise money for cancer research. 

The group was started by Carson Montgomery. A native of Lawrence County and a graduate of Lawrence County High School, Montgomery currently lives in California, where he works for Disney and currently works for the TV show Big City Greens. 

“I’m very blessed, this is all bigger than me,” Montgomery said. 

Montgomery started the 4 A Cure in 2011 in response to the April 27 tornadoes that came through. Orignally, the group wasn’t a group, it was a softball tournament. 

“It all started with the tornadoes that came through,” he said. “We raised a bunch of money and it got me thinking, people love sports and they love any excuse to get to play.” 

Once it was decided that the group wouldn’t be a one and done, they had to find a cause to help benefit. For Montgomery that was an easy decision. 

“Cancer has hit the Lawrence County community very hard,” he said. “I was inspired by Neal Norwood, who used to do the LCHS radio, he went through a tough battle with cancer.” 

He continued. 

“I was also inspired by my football coach Ernie Ferguson. He lost his wife, Holly, right after I graduated. So  having the Norwoods and coach Ferguson, people that I was close to, really hit hard gave me the idea.” 

The group soon went from having a softball tournament to a flag football tournament. Schools from around the county were featured in the event. The founding schools were Lawrence County, East Lawrence, Hatton and Danville from Morgan County. 

“When it started we had to try and find people from schools that wanted to participate. I was able to meet a lot of new and good people,” Montgomery said. “Originally, we had those four schools but at one point we had gotten up to 10 schools that included Hartselle, Austin, Decatur, Speake and West Limestone.” 

Getting the group started was one of the biggest hurdles to climb, but it was social media that ultimately was the biggest help. 

“It was a lot of Facebook. You can do so much through Facebook,” he said. “I talked with coach Ferguson and he really helped out with getting me names and contacts. That was what really got the ball rolling.” 

The next big thing was finding places that would allow them to host their events. 

“Getting permission to use the fields is a big part. The schools here have been really helpful and gracious enough to allow us to use their fields. Coaches are very protective of their fields so it’s a big deal.” 

In the seven years since the group was established, they have raised $13,000 for cancer. 

“Cancer has taken so much from us, almost everybody has been affected in some way,” Montgomery said. “Watching Mr. Neal in his later years, really put things in perspective. This group has been something we can rally around and fight back against cancer.” 

One of the biggest things the 4 A Cure group offers that is so beneficial is the ability to have something for the people who help raise their money. Fundraisers are even more beneficial when there is something in return for the people, in this case the chance to play sports. 

“I think it’s huge and something that people should do more. People love to get together and play sports, especially those that are older and don’t get the chance to do that more,” Montgomery said. “We haven’t spent a dime on anything. Pepsi and Gatorade always donate and were able to donate all the money we raise.” 

The group and event has been going strong since it’s creation in 2011. However, there’s always room for growth and Montgomery would like to see things go forward in the future. 

“I think having more sports other than flag football would be great,” he said. “Obviously we started out with a softball tournament, that would be good to revisit, although it takes a lot to make one. We’ve also talked about doing basketball.” 

Montgomery also has plans for the future of the flag football tournament. 

“Something I would really like to see happen is for us to have a team that represents all the original schools in Lawrence County. There used to be seven schools, Lawrence County, Hatton, East Lawrence, Courtland, Hazlewood, Mount Hope and Speake. Having a team for each one of those would be really special.” 

When you can raise money and have a great time while doing it, that makes it all the much better. Through this group, friendships have been formed and the tournament almost acts as a reunion every year as much as a fundraiser. Especially for Montgomery, who now resides in California. 

“I look forward to it every year, it’s like a big reunion,” said Montgomery. “To get to see all those guys and play with old teammates, it’s just like the old days.” 

Montgomery hopes that the group will continue to grow and prosper and continue to help those that have been affected by the disease. However, he knows that in order for that to happen, younger people will have to step up. 

“I plan on doing this until I physically can’t anymore,” Montgomery laughed. “But I’m 28. Eventually the younger generation is going to have to take our place. We’ve had some younger guys step in and hopefully we will have more in the future that can step in and lead it into the future.” 

Suffice it to say, the 4 A Cure group doesn’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon. 

“It means a lot to me and it means a lot to a lot of other people as well. You see people’s true character. People come in year in and year out, people that are really excited,” Montgomery said. “It’s grown more than I would have ever imagined and to have something that is established is really special. Hopefully it’s something that can go on forever.” 

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