KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Sarah Pattison sees the power of community every day through her breast cancer journey. Complete strangers are donating to her cause.
When stage three breast cancer attacked this Knoxville business owner in August 2020, she chose to fight. The community followed suit to support and lift her up.
Originally, Pattison was diagnosed, then had a double mastectomy in March 2021. Four weeks later, she noticed a red, bumpy area on her skin.
It turns out, Pattison was originally misdiagnosed, and actually has inflammatory breast cancer, or IBC. It's a rare and aggressive case.
"Inflammatory breast cancer means that the cancer has invaded the lymphatic fluid and the skin as well as the breast tissue," Pattison said.
She turned to treatment at MD Anderson in Houston, Texas. She had surgery on October 15 and now goes through two radiation treatments a day. She is scheduled to be there through Christmas.
"What I had to do was a very radical surgery," Pattison said. "It was a 14 hour surgery to try to remove to remove that skin. I got clear margins, which means they got it all. So I told my husband, that was the best day of my life other than the birth of my three children, the day that I got a clear margins result.”
The goal is to keep the results that way. All of the treatment, flights and stays in Houston add up. That's why Lesli Douglass started an auction to raise money for Pattison.
"My husband and I decided that we would auction off a week in our vacation home, and then whatever money that raised, that would be the money that we would give," Douglass said.
It wasn't long before Douglass started reaching out to other businesses to gather more items to auction. The community jumped at the chance to help Pattison.
There are now over 75 items in the auction list to bid on.
"It's just so heartwarming to see people coming together in this way over such an important cause," Douglass said.
Pattison is over the moon with excitement about the support.
"It has been a hard year, we've had some really low and dark days, and the silver lining has been just seeing the way this community has come around us," Pattison said. "I mean, it's just gonna make me emotional, just cared for us in the most remarkable ways.”
The auction ends Wednesday, October 10 at 8 p.m.
If you miss the window to participate in the auction, you can still donate at any time by visiting standingwithsarah.org. There are multiple ways you can help the Pattison family, listed on that website.
Pattison also writes about her experience with breast cancer at TheHappyEnvelope.com.