Local Church Partners with Wellmont for Second Year to Raise Money for Cancer Patient Assistance Fund

Aug. 29, 2016 – A city church is showing neighborly love in a tangible way by hosting its second annual benefit dinner to raise money for Wellmont Health System’s cancer patient assistance fund.

Called “Friends for the Fight,” the dinner will be hosted by Preaching Christ Church, with assistance from the Wellmont Cancer Institute, Saturday, Sept. 17, at 6 p.m. at the Farmers Market in downtown Kingsport. Guests will enjoy a catered dinner from Braeden’s Barbeque while listening to country music performed by the band Breaking Tradition. A silent auction, with items such as Dollywood tickets and themed gift baskets, will provide additional opportunities to donate in support of local patients’ needs.

The Rev. Chad Roberts, the church’s pastor, said the event is designed to be family-friendly and affordable, with every dollar raised going to the patient assistance fund.

“Cancer touches nearly every family,” Roberts said. “This is a practical way people can help those in our community in the midst of their cancer battle by providing funds for important items such as power bills and medication.”

Oftentimes, cancer patients are unable to work while they undergo treatment and struggle to pay for items not covered by their insurance. Wellmont’s cancer patient assistance fund reaches beyond traditional caregiving by helping patients cover gas, utility, medication, transportation or other expenses during a financially challenging time.

“If you are diagnosed with cancer, you need a support system,” said Carrie Lewis, who is organizing the event for the church.

Lewis, who lost grandparents to cancer, said the cancer fight has been a lifelong passion of hers. When her church first became interested in helping cancer patients, it took awhile to find an organization that aligned with the church’s vision. When she learned about Wellmont’s patient assistant fund, she said she knew it was the perfect fit.

Now for the second year, Lewis and Preaching Christ’s outreach team have been hard at work partnering with the cancer institute. They are also looking beyond this event to plan other ways throughout the year to offer assistance, such as a gas card fundraising initiative called “Fuel for the Fight.”

Lisa Steadman, director for the cancer institute’s outpatient facilities in Kingsport and Johnson City, who is assisting with this event, said Wellmont is excited to have strong support from the church and the rest of the community.

“It is powerful that a local church is involved in helping local cancer patients,” Steadman said. “When someone supports this cause, they are helping these patients face a difficult time in their lives and experience strength and hope.”

Sue Lindenbusch, the cancer institute’s senior vice president, said the community plays a vital role in helping patients succeed when they have been diagnosed with cancer.

“We greatly appreciate Preaching Christ Church for its tremendous commitment to our patients and efforts to improve their lives,” Lindenbusch said. “When patients learn they have cancer, they can feel a lot of emotions and might worry about the future. But when organizations and individuals offer their emotional and financial support, the future looks a lot brighter.”

Tickets for Friends for the Fight are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 and younger. For more information about the event, visit www.friendsforthefight.com. More information about the cancer institute here.