AC Fun Run Walk Takes Sabbatical
Prayers for Race Director
By Tamica Smith-Jeuitt, Sr. Communications Specialist
For the first time in its nearly ten-year history as an event of the Mississippi Annual Conference, the Fun Run Walk will take a year off and in its place are plans for other health
related activities and a special prayer for the young man who has helped the event grow in recent years, Caleb Hammons, the race director.
The 30 year-old is suffering from ocular histoplasmosis, a disease that is impairing his vision. Hammons said he first noticed something was wrong with him in November 2012.
"At first I would see this weird camera flash spot in my eye and it would go away pretty quick, so I didn't think much of it but then my vision started rapidly declining," he said.
Ocular histoplasmosis is a fungus commonly found in the dust and soil of the Mississippi and Ohio River Valley regions. A person can contract the disease by inhaling dust that carries the fungal spores. In Hammons case, the disease is active in both of his eyes, but it is his right eye the gives him the most problems. On a bad day he said it is like having a dark spot block his vision and everything around him is blurry.
Doctors have told Hammons there is no a cure for his illness, but a cancer treatment drug that is injected into his eyes could help slow the blinding occurrences and according to Hammons the medication helps some days.
"Either it works or it doesn't and I have had four shots to date, and it keeps coming back," said Hammons.
Recently, Hammons decided to tell Lee Burdine, the MS Annual Conference display coordinator about his sight issues and break the bad news that he could not direct the race--the one event that gave Hammons his big start as a race director. Burdine then shared Hammons' story with the Mississippi Annual Conference planning committee. He said they could have easily worked with another group to have the race, but they chose to take a sabbatical and rally behind Hammons.
|Caleb participating in
one of his races.
"Caleb, with MS Race Timing has been a big part of this growth of our run walk. With his eyesight health issue, Caleb needs to concentrate on getting healed. We can bring the run walk back in 2014. We want to honor Caleb's contribution to this growth of this event and we are offering our support and prayers to Caleb," said Burdine.
Hammons who works full-time as a chemical engineer, directs around 30 races a year through his business MS Race Timing, which he's now trying to sell. Through the years Hammons has used personal leave and sick leave to organize runs but he now needs that time for treatments and conversation with a high power.
"I know God has the authority and the power to completely heal my vision and then I wonder why he does not. I may never know the reason, but I have to sit back and listen and not be so busy and try to figure out what God wants me to do," he said.
Three years ago, Hammons recommitted his life to Christ and said he vows not to let his circumstance change that, instead use this period to move closer to God and be a source of inspiration to others, just as the Mississippi Annual Conference has been to him.