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Gralheer donates time to fight cancer

Features Editor

May 19, 2000 11 PM

Marianne Gralheer lost her father Jabo Barron to cancer and she lost her grandmother to the dreaded disease. She knows the heartbreak brought on by cancer and she has seen the pain and suffering it causes. Her hope is that one day soon a cure will be found and she wants to do all she can to bring that day ever closer.

Mrs. Gralheer knows that the answer to the cure lies in research and she knows that research takes money. She would like nothing better than to be able to donate tons of money for that purpose but she doesn’t have tons of money.

She would also like to be able to be a gold or silver business sponsor of the Pike County Relay for Life but, as a small business owner, she just can’t afford to do it.

However, Mrs. Gralheer decided if she can’t give money, she can give what she has – time.

So, each year, Mrs. Gralheer and her employees at Jab’s Sporting Goods pitch in to do what they can to contribute to the American Cancer Society through Relay for Life. They print the Relay shirts – and they do it at no cost and they do in when they can grab a few minutes between customers or at night or on weekends.

"We do it because it’s what we can do," Mrs. Gralheer said. "This is our contribution to the efforts to find a cure for cancer. We are all touched by it and we all want to help. I don’t know of anyone who isn’t willing to help. All of my employees work extra to get the shirts printed and they do it because they want to – not because I ask them to."

Some years, the Jab’s crew had printed both the front and back of the shirts. Some years, they print just the backs which list the sponsors of the local Relay.

"We’ve printed as few as 500 and we’ve printed as many as 1,200," she said. "This year we printed 1,000."

Mrs. Gralheer would not venture a guess as to the number of man-hours it takes to print 1,000 shirts because they don’t have the luxury of printing them all at once.

"It depends on how many times we have to start and stop," she said. "We’ll print a few in the mornings and a few in the afternoons and we’ll stay late or come back. We got the shirts in last Thursday and they picked them up Wednesday. So, it took us a week, working off and on, to get them all done."

Mrs. Gralheer said printing the shirts makes her and her employees feel a part of Relay and hopefully they will ultimately be a part of the cure.

"That’s what this is all about," she said, "making life better for cancer victims, giving them hope and finding a cure."

The thousands of people who have come through the doors on Jab’s since it opened as a bait and tackle shop in 1952 have become a part of the Barron and Gralheer families’ lives. There aren’t many people in and around Troy that Mrs. Gralheer doesn’t know and she knows of so many who have been affected by cancer. So, not many customers mind if they have to wait a few minutes while she prints a shirt or two for Relay.

After all, it gives them a few minutes to look around the shop which is unique among sporting goods stores. There just aren’t many worm and shirt shops around.

Mrs. Gralheer laughing admitted there are couple of other such shops around – one in Georgia and one in Florida.

"We are a sporting goods shop and that includes anything in athletics," she said, with a smile. "Even live bait."

There may be bigger sporting goods shops and a few other worm and shirt shops but any of them would be hard pressed to have a bigger heart than the crew at Jab’s.