TEMPLE TERRACE — Kathy Dollar idolized her mother.
“She was my absolute hero,” she said. “She raised me as a single mother.”
Kathy’s husband, Todd Dollar, also thought very highly of his mother-in-law Dorothy, who to family and friends was known as Dottie.
“She was a very loving and wonderful person,” he said.
Dottie died in October following a three-year battle with lung cancer.
“When her mom passed, my wife said she wanted to find a cure for cancer,” Todd said.
So in November the couple participated in the Southwest Florida Lung Cancer 5K run/Walk in Port Charlotte.
They also signed up to take part in Temple Terrace’s Relay for Life on April 11 – 12 at Greco High School. All money generated by the teams, including Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road Warriors named in her honor, will benefit the American Cancer Society.
To get a head start on the relay, Kathy opted to have a party in celebration of her January birthday, something she normally shunned. But in this instance she asked all invitees to contribute to her Relay for Life team in lieu of bringing gifts. The event yielded $750.
Not long afterward, Todd said he saw a clip on television about a 46-hour Penn State dance marathon for children with cancer. It raised $13 million.
Out of that was born the idea for his own 24-hour stand-a-thon at the northwest corner of 56th Street and Busch Boulevard in Temple Terrace, a city he’s lived in all of his 52 years.
What began at 6 a.m. on a recent Friday and ended at 3 a.m. the following day filled his donation bucket with a total of $1,325.47.
“The last couple of hours were spent watching police pull over people for DUI. Those people probably needed their money for bail,” Todd wrote on his Facebook page.
While he may have fallen short of his goal by a couple of hours, Todd’s longtime friend Cheri Donohue considered it quite an accomplishment.
“Hey, relay is only 18 hours so you lasted longer than the whole event,” she posted.
Todd, a general contractor and father of two, was extremely pleased and at times surprised by the generosity of passersby.
“Between 7 and 9 a.m. was huge – people were giving me $5 and $10 bills and one person gave me a $100 bill,” he said.
He also raked in an admirable amount of contributions during Friday evening’s commute and throughout the evening hours when several of his friends, including some from Brandon, stopped by with donations and offers of coffee and hot chocolate.
“Some of the people I didn’t expect to give, gave, including one guy at the bus stop,” Todd said. “A kid on a bicycle also donated some money.”
He also is appreciative of the support he received from the City of Temple Terrace’s code compliance and police departments.
“Joe Gross (the city’s code compliance director) suggested this corner and he helped coordinate things with the police department,” Todd said. “He said he’d have the police department check on me.”
It also meant a lot to him when a Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputy pulled into an adjacent parking lot in the wee hours of the morning seemingly to investigate what he was up to and when told, graciously donated some money of her own.
When Todd was about 14 hours into his stand-a-thon when the chill of the night air, amplified by a brisk north wind, coupled with his aching back and sore feet, were beginning to take a toll on his overall comfort level.
“But I would just keep telling myself that people with cancer suffer a lot more than I did,” he said.
Kathy is proud of her husband’s determination to do his part in the fight against cancer on behalf of her mother.
“I thought it would be quite a feat, no pun intended, and it was,” she said.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.