A day after a West Knoxville business owner discovered a dozen of the pumpkins she had painted pink to sell in a cancer fundraiser were stolen, East Tennesseans stepped up to help make up for the loss.
Owner Dee Lockwood-Hicks hosts a pumpkin painting event each year at her store Sweet Pea Garden Gifts in Bearden selling the pumpkins for a donation of at least $25. She was hoping to raise $1,500 to donate to Cancer Support Community (Lockwood-Hicks is a cancer survivor). She left her business Monday night with the pumpkins on display outside. On Tuesday morning, she returned and discovered most of the pumpkins gone with one pumpkin found smashed down the street.
On Wednesday afternoon, Russell Biven was live from Sweet Pea's on Carr Avenue in West Knoxville to encourage the community to show up and buy a pumpkin. Artist Ken Clayton, known as "Dr. Carvingstein", also stopped by to help decorate pumpkins.
As of Wednesday evening, the fundraiser had already raised more than double last year's totals.
By Thursday evening, Sweet Pea said they'd already received more than $4,000 in donations.