By CHRIS LADD
The world of professional wrestling is teaming up for a great cause Friday night at Station Camp High School in Gallatin.
Summer Showdown is an event benefiting the Rae of Hope Foundation, a nonprofit started by Station Camp High School teacher and coach Shane Tipton.
In 2012, Ali Rae Tipton was diagnosed with a tumor on the brain. Ali did 6 weeks, 5 days a week, of radiation followed by 12 months of chemotherapy.
During the next three years, she would do two more rounds of chemo due to growth in the tumor. Her original tumor was a grade 1 ganglioglioma, not considered cancerous.
In April 2016, she went in for her post chemo six-month MRI. Previous tests in the 6 months showed tumor was stable, no growth. But the MRI showed two new growths in her cerebellum and 1 on her spine. The one closest to the surface on her cerebellum was biopsied and she was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, the same cancer that is currently hampering Sen. John McCain and the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.
The life expectancy once diagnosed with Glioblastoma is typically 14 months.
The family took every moment to make everlasting memories with Ali. While on a family vacation in Panama City Beach, Florida Ali lost her battle to cancer on June 22, 2017.
After her passing, Shane Tipton wanted to pay it forward and started the foundation in her name in July of 2017.
The mission is to provide financial assistance to those families whose child is currently in treatment for a pediatric brain tumor or brain cancer. According to Tipton that could be paying an electric or utility bill, a mortgage payment, car payments, gift cards for food, and gas cards. Basically, the assistance is anything that can free up time and money so everlasting memories to be made.
“You never think this will happen to your kids,” Tipton added. “We’re more aware of it now and once you go through something like this, it now seems a lot of kids are going through it in our area.”
The Rae of Hope Foundation works with the social workers at Vanderbilt. With the social workers help their able to identify kids from Sumner and Wilson county that might need assistance.
One of the kids benefiting from the Summer Showdown event is a four-year old Everett Kondus from Portland.
Shane Tipton, a lifelong wrestling fan, wanted to have a wrestling event as a fundraiser for the foundation. He emailed World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer and Hendersonville resident Jeff Jarrett about his idea. Within a few hours Jarrett responded to the email and that got the ball rolling for the big event.
“When you hear about the stories and what they do for the families it’s really a great cause,” Jarrett said. “I’m very grateful that we can help raise money for these folks.”
Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling is teaming up with Tried N True Pro Wrestling for a big night of wrestling. Besides Jarrett, the event will feature WWE Hall of Famers The Rock-N-Roll Express, “Tennessee Cowboy” James Storm, War Kings Crimson & Jax Dane, Crazzy Steve, special appearances by Bobby Eaton, Superstar Bill Dundee, and much more.
“Jeff is about the same age as me and I watched him on TV growing up,” Tipton added. “Now he’s helping us raise money for our foundation. WOW!”
During the past 32 years, Jarrett has traveled all around the globe doing shows and for one night he can get in his car and travel 10 minutes down the road for a show.
“Sumner County is my home and I’ve been here my entire life,” Jarrett said. “I look forward to getting in the car with my family and raising money for a great cause.”
Jarrett added that he hopes this could be something they do annually and maybe rotate it to different school such as Beech, Hendersonville, and Station Camp.
“Sometimes you take for granted what we have in our community,” Jarrett said. “We have several great communities in Sumner County like Gallatin, Hendersonville, Portland, and Westmoreland. Whenever there is a need there is always someone stepping up for the cause and you don’t see that everywhere.”
Summer Showdown takes place Friday night August 11, at Station Camp High School. They have VIP tickets at $35 which includes a private meet and greet. Ringside seats are $25 and General Admission seats are $15. Belltime for the event is 7 p.m. Tickets and more info check out triedntruepro.com.