by Michael Salerno
For Hometown News
DELAND -- Local car detailer Bradley Hook survived cancer -- not once, but twice.
At age 28, the owner and detailer specialist of Heaven's Touch Mobile Detailing was first stricken by colon cancer, undergoing an eight-month treatment to eradicate the disease. Eight years later, at 36, the cancer returned and he went back into treatment for about a year.
Now 38, Mr. Hook said he's lucky to be alive after two struggles with cancer.
"I feel great, really great," he said. "I didn't think I'd come through with it."
Inspired by his survival, Mr. Hook is participating in a fundraiser benefiting Relay For Life of Port Orange, which raises money to support the American Cancer Society and its mission to end cancer. He said many people suffering from cancer need all the help they can get.
"Cancer is the No. 1 killer in the nation," he said. "It's an ongoing, ongoing, ongoing situation."
The March 30 fundraising event is a car show in the parking lot of the Sunshine Bowling Center on East International Speedway Boulevard, adjacent to the DeLand YMCA. The $20 charge for admission ($15 for advance tickets) also includes a BBQ lunch and three hours of unlimited bowling including a bowling shoe rental. Mr. Hook said the car show would include a few cars he detailed at his business, which formerly operated out of a five-car garage in Ocala, but moved to DeLand after the economy took a hit in the late 2000s.
Asked about why the event in DeLand is benefiting the Port Orange chapter of Relay For Life, Mr. Hook said, "In general, I think it benefits everybody really. Everywhere helps everywhere."
Ending cancer is a cause close to Mr. Hook, not just because of his own battles but his family's as well. He said his aunt and grandmother both died of cancer.
Mr. Hook first got involved with Relay For Life after attending a meeting with his sister. Wanting to get involved, he decided to put together a fundraiser of his own with the help of his friends and family. It's the first time he's ever put together a fundraising event, and he's "very excited" about it, he said.
Cheryl Shaw, event chair for Port Orange Relay For Life, said the event would be "a great opportunity to help Relay and enjoy a day with the family." She complimented Mr. Hook for his effort to support the cancer charity.
"He's a great guy and wants to give back since he's been fortunate enough to beat cancer more than once," she said. "I think his drive to help is admirable."
Mr. Hook, who credited the support of his friends with keeping an optimistic outlook through his two cancer battles, offered a few words of support for anyone battling cancer.
"Keep positive, be around positive people," he said. "At the beginning it's going to be rough, but in the end it's going to come out good."
The car show and bowling fundraiser for Relay For Life will take place Saturday, March 30 at 1 p.m. at Sunshine Bowling Center, 595 East International Speedway Blvd., DeLand. Advance tickets for the event can be bought by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.