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'Race for the Cure' dollars help cancer patients pay bills

4:52 PM, Oct 25, 2012   |    comments
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The Susan G. Komen 'Race for the Cure' is on Saturday.

75% of all race dollars stay in East Tennessee and help local women battle the disease.

Some of the money helps cancer patients pay bills and put food on their table.

Jennifer Blevins never thought she would get cancer, but the day she was diagnosed in 2009 her friend Ashley Teeters was by her side.

"As soon as she was diagnosed it was never about her," said Teeters, "It was about taking care of her family."

Jennifer worried about her little boy and with her husband off in the military, paying bills and cooking meals became tough to handle while going back and forth to chemotherapy treatments and still working.

She immediately went in to action and reached out to Komen Knoxville and they helped pair her up with resources.

Ashley feels turning to Komen helped extend Jennifer's life.

Dollars from 'Race for the Cure' go towards grants. Those grants help fund support groups, medical needs, and can help patients pay bills.

Race dollars helped Jennifer give her son a Christmas and pay some utility bills.

"She knew the support was there for her," said Teeters, "She had always been a part of the fundraising and involvement since I brought it to the office and she knew she had these resources and when she went to Komen, they just jumped right in to it."

Amy Dunaway with Komen Knoxville said, "One in eight ladies will be diagnosed with breast cancer. The other 7 know her."

Komen Knoxville knows the power of the race. Without it, help for women like Jennifer might not be there.

"The majority of our funds come from that one event, 'Race for the Cure," said Dunaway, "If it's not a successful event, we don't fund down for our grants or that treatment support or support groups don't get funded because there is not enough money."

Jennifer Blevins used the assistance until her time was cut short in April 2012.

"What I miss most is her smile and spirit. She was somebody who when she walked to you in the office, she always had a good story. You knew she was going to brag about her boys," explained Teeters.

Now, Ashley helps her memory live on through a book. The book was written by Ashley and it helps little kids understand a parent's death. All of the pictures are of Jennifer and her son.

Race for the Cure is October 27th.

Meteorologist Mike Witcher and Reporter Allison Bybee are this years co-chairs. Log on to join their teams.

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