When we think of Rocky Adkins in Western Kentucky most probably know his name or have seen it in a local newspaper. Many know him as the Majority Leader of the Kentucky House of Representatives or maybe if you watch KET you know him as "The Gentleman from Elliott 99."
Besides being a legislator, a father, a husband and a pretty good basketball player in his day; there is another side to Rocky Adkins you might not know about- Rocky is a 14 year survivor of cancer.
For 14 years Rocky has continued his battle to help find a cure for cancer and help families that are being treated for cancer. Raising money for this cause has been one of the big ways in which Rocky Adkins has continued to help.
The 14th Annual Rocky Adkins Golf Tournament will be held Friday May 22nd at the Eagle Trace Golf Course in Morehead, KY. Last year this event eclipsed the fundraising mark of having raised over a million dollars in 13 years. "We hold this event on the Friday before Memorial Day each year to remember those who have lost their lives to cancer and also to celebrate life," said Adkins. This year's event is already booked up with 34 teams playing in the morning and 36 teams in the afternoon.
This event has raised money for the American Cancer Society, the Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and has also provided a "hospitality house" in Ashland, KY for families receiving treatment. Adkins commented that families from 35 different states have used the hospitality house.
In regard to the people who play in the event Rocky Adkins said,"It's very personal to me and to the people who play in the tournament because they have been affected one way or the other by cancer." Adkins when on to say that each year he ask the participants to raise their hand if they, a family member or someone they are close to has had cancer and Adkins commented that every hand is usually raised.
I asked the Majority Leader how being a cancer survivor effected his role as a legislator and he replied, " The legislature provides a place to talk about cancer and help find a cure." Adkins noted that one of the good things the legislature had accomplished concerning the fight to find a cure is a program that has provided over 8,000 computers to schools in the coal counties of East and West Kentucky.
This computer program provides an interlocking "computer grid" to help with cancer research. This information is used in conjunction with the James Graham Brown Cancer Research Center. Adkins commented that one of the researchers at the University of Louisville had said that because of this "computer grid" they are able to do 300 years of research in a month.
This program provides 2.5 million dollars a year of coal severance money to buy computers. "This also improves the educational opportunities for these kids in the coal counties." said Adkins.
Rocky Adkins lives in Sandy Hook, KY and represents Boyd, Elliot, Lawrence and Rowan counties in the Kentucky House of Representatives.
(Note: I want to thank the Majority Leader for taking time out of his day to do this interview.)