ELGIN, SC (WIS) - In the holiday spirit, the 21st annual Elgin Lights opened Saturday evening. It’s an old-fashioned Christmas light display held on the Towns family farm.
Paul Towns and his wife Sarah have been putting on the display for the past 21 years, which includes more than 50,000 lights, Christmas props, antiques, and themed buildings.
Each year, Towns puts up the display with money out of his own pocket to raise money to help kids battling cancer go to Camp Cole.
“The motivation that keeps me going is the children that we help,” Towns said.
Towns says he started donating to Camp Cole in 2004 after 11-year-old Cole Sawyer died from a rare form of cancer. That was also the year Towns was diagnosed with cancer.
“I’ve been battling my cancer ever since,” Towns said. “It got to the point where mentally I just didn’t care if I lived or died.”
While battling cancer, he continues to put on the show every year. Charles Newton, a volunteer said, “He pushes himself through a lot looking at the big picture and what the end game is.”
Towns tells WIS it takes a lot of coordination between friends, family, and volunteers to put it all together. In fact, they start putting the lights up at the end of October.
“I’ll be out here every night to make this show work,” Towns said.
After pushing himself year after year, this year a Christmas miracle came a little early.
“I just had my report last week, and it’s the closest I’ve ever been to remission,” Towns said. “I feel better now than I have in 14 years.”
“It truly is a miracle he’s here, we didn’t think he was going to make it. But as God works his mysterious ways, he laid his hands upon Paul and got him through the year and got him here,” Newton said.
With another year of life, Towns still remembers the children who lost their battles with cancer over the years.
“Thousands of people that come here get to see those kids' names and they get to understand that those children have meaning yet today. They are not gone,” Towns said.
Elgin Lights is open from 6 to 9 p.m. every night until Christmas Eve, at 2433 Charlie Horse Circle in Elgin.