Elgin, SC (WLTX) - A Christmas light show has been blighting up Elgin and the lives for children for many years now. Through helping others, this show is helping the man behind it all battle through an illness of his own.
The ringing of bells, Christmas decorations, and lights are all signs of the holiday season.
Paul Towns started the Elgin Lights back in 1997 and has watched it grow.
"It’s going to be special this year. It's a lot bigger. A lot more things we've added to it," explained Towns.
A military veteran has been spending the last twenty years lighting up families' spirit during the holidays.
"I got my grandkids, my kids, and all that but just didn't have enough of them. So we have to get some volunteers," laughed Towns.
It's more than just lights. Thousands of people go to the Elgin version of the North Pole for free to enjoy the decorations and buildings filled with toys, dolls, and military objects. The military replicas are on display since the Midlands is known for its military history with Fort Jackson.
Towns says several of the buildings are dedicated to honor some of the kids who have lost their battle with cancer.
The real reason behind it all is to help send kids to Camp Kemo. Towns got the idea when Cole Sawyer passed away at the age of eleven back in 2004.
"We need to go ahead and keep Cole's dream alive by sending kids to camp. He used to sell bumper stickers and raise money to send other kids to Camp Kemo," explained Towns
Over the last several years, he says the community has donated over seventeen thousand dollars to help get kids to Camp Kemo.
Towns is going through a battle of his own. After thirteen years of having cancer, it's sometimes difficult to get around.
"They don't think I'll ever get off chemo. It's getting tough. I was giving up. I was praying to go. I didn't want to live anymore,” said Towns.
Last year he thought it would be his last year doing the Christmas lights but he's still going strong.
He says by the grace of God, with members of his church, and through the Elgin Light show, he's fighting through the chemotherapy.
"This show has just like me having the battery stuck in me from the Energizer Bunny. When the people come, all the pain goes away. My sickness goes away," said Towns.
Although cancer takes so much out of him, he knows continuing to do the show will help pride children's future and honor kids legacies for years to come.
The Elgin Lights will open up on December 15th.