BY LEANN DILBECK
Cancer is a leading cause of death around the world and its incidence continues to rise. Each year 12.7 million people discover they have cancer and 7.6 million people die from the disease. However, evidence shows that 30 – 40 percent of these deaths can be prevented, and one-third can be cured through early diagnosis and treatment. Billions of dollars have been pumped into research and today, we know much more about this disease and treatments and most of that is made possible by individuals who passionately work to fund finding a cure. One of those such individuals is Shelly Harvey.
Shelly was born in Houston and lived there until she was 9. “We moved to Hope, Ar. when I was 9. I lived there until I was 16 and have been in Mena for 23 years. I moved away from Mena a few times but something always brought me back here.”
Today, Shelly is married to Duane Harvey, who is a school resource officer for the Ouachita River School District – Acorn Campus and has two grown children, Dakota Price, 23, and Mason Price, 19.
She enjoys her work at Union Bank, where she has worked for eight years. “I started in data processing and worked in that department for two years. I then moved to account services for two years. I worked some Saturdays as a teller and then I moved to the front teller line for a couple years. Then I moved to the outside drive thru and I am currently still there.” In fact, it was through Union Bank where Shelly first became involved with Polk County Relay for Life.
Shelly began volunteering with the Polk County Relay for Life six years ago. Like so many others, it’s personal. “I have had several family members who have had cancer and some who have lost their battle. I really got more involved when a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago. I became the team captain for the Purple Onions for Union Bank and I wanted to become more involved, so I joined the committee for Polk County as a co-chair. It just became a passion I had, to see that more families didn’t have to suffer from cancer. So many more could have one more birthday.”
Shelly wears multiple hats for the local Relay efforts. “This is my second year as event chair for Polk County and my 1st year as the on-line chair. I have been team captain for the Purple Onions for four years.”
What may seem like a lot of extra work for some is actually inspiring for Shelly, “I work with a great group of people who have a passion for the Relay. Knowing that one day there will be a cure for such a horrible disease and knowing that so many people in our loving and caring community helped make that happen… knowing that, together, we can all make a difference in the fight for a cure.”
Outside of work and Relay, Shelly loves to go Jeeping and trying to find a trail we haven’t ever been on. I enjoy going out to take pictures of different places and traveling.” And, living in the middle of the Ouachita Mountains certainly lends many opportunities!
“I love living in Mena. The best part about this town is the caring and friendly people, who always are ready to lend a helping hand, who love to help the town and the citizens here. No matter what happens here in Mena the citizens always step up and are willing to help. You don’t get that in a bigger city.”