The ceremony, which raises money for cancer research and education, is at 5:30 p.m. Friday in downtown Canton’s Cannon Park. Admission is $5.
So far, the organization has collected about $7,000 and hopes to raise $8,000, said Gayle Johnson, coordinator of the event.
Each year, the ceremony is dedicated to a person or people who recently died after battling cancer or who were involved with the local chapter of the American Cancer Society.
This year’s tree will be dedicated to the memory of Sharon Cannon, Chip Prance and Virgil Chandler. Chandler and Prance both passed away in August and Cannon passed away in early February.
Virgil Chandler’s son, Chris Chandler, looks forward to seeing his father honored at the ceremony. Chandler said his dad passed away from complications from lung cancer.
“My dad was a humble man,” Chandler said. “He was a very kind person and was well liked by the community.”
Chandler added that though his father worked in Atlanta most of his life, he moved to the community after he retired and started Macedonia Video and Xpress Screen Frames.
“People came to his store to visit him as much as they did to rent movies,” Chandler said.
Virgil Chandler was very active at Hightower Baptist Church in Ball Ground, where he taught Sunday school for many years. The 78-year-old was also the former president of Free Home baseball and a Reinhardt University alumnus.
Virgil’s wife, Edna Lovelace Chandler, was also honored by Love Lights A Tree when she passed away a few years ago.
Virgil is survived by his sons, Chris, owner of Chandler Graphics in Canton, and Gehrig, who lives in Arkansas.
Sharon Lee Lawson Cannon of Ball Ground was known to many as a people person. Though the 54-year-old passed earlier this year from a rare sarcoma called malignant glomus tumors, she continued to share her faith with other patients to try to lift their spirits.
Her sister, Kim Taylor, said Cannon’s life motto was “Live, laugh, love.”
“Sharon lived her life without hesitation,” Taylor said. “She had a zest for life that drew others to her.”
Cannon was a real estate agent with Century 21 at Max Stancil Realty, as well as a bookkeeper for her husband James’ tax accounting office.
Together, she and James had three children, Barbara, Melissa and Jimmy, and two grandchildren, Jiselle and Jayden Harris.
Chip Prance, 43, of Canton is survived by his wife, Michele, and children, Will, 19, Olivia, 21, and Isabelle, 10.
Michele said her husband would have been very humbled and honored by the event.
“He would probably almost want to give the recognition to someone else before him,” she said.
Prance, a Hickory Flat native, worked at Cherokee Floor Covering and enjoyed spending time with his kids. His son, Will, drove his company’s race car for their team and Prance was the pit coach.
Prance also coached both of his daughters’ softball teams at North Cherokee Youth Softball.
“They are putting up a flagpole and plaque at Weatherby Park in his honor,” Prance said.
Prance only knew he had stage four metastatic melanoma for about four and a half weeks before he passed, but his wife said he will be remembered mostly for his love of life and being a “tall, Southern good ol’ boy.”
“He loved being outside and liked working in the garage with his hands,” she said.
Love Lights A Tree is sponsored by the city of Canton, The Triple “C” Team, Academy of Dance Arts and Wadeken Industries, Inc., to benefit the Cherokee County Unit of the American Cancer Society.
The organization invites the community to help decorate its holiday tree by making a contribution of $15 or more to purchase an ornament. The ornaments can be dedicated in memory or in honor of a loved one impacted by cancer.
These donations enable the American Cancer Society to fund its life-saving programs of research, education and patient services, as well as local programs throughout the county.
A program that lists all donors and honorees will be distributed at the lighting ceremony. If donors did not give honoree names by Monday, they will not be featured in the program. However, Love Lights A Tree will accept contributions throughout the holiday season and continue to place the ornaments on the tree until the end of December.
Entertainment provided at the event includes appearances by Santa and Mrs. Claus and performances by the Academy of Dance Art dancers. Also, light refreshments including cookies and hot chocolate will be served.
Artist Brenda Harris Tustian of Ball Ground, a continued supporter of the American Cancer Society, will again donate one of her famous framed Santa prints to help raise money for the cause. The print, titled “God’s Perfect Light,” provides an inspirational holiday message. Raffle tickets are $5.
“Every year, [Tustian] donates a print,” Johnson said. “We are excited to be given her latest work to help raise money.”
For more information about this print and more of Tustian’s artwork, visit www.brendatustian.com.