Macon residents receive double hope

Staff Reports • Updated Aug 11, 2016 at 2:00 PM

For many people facing a cancer diagnosis, the future can seem hopeless. 

For Joseph Riley, however, there was hope in his family and in the support he received from Sherry’s Run.

Sherry’s Run is a grassroots, faith-based organization in Lebanon that assists cancer patients and their families with paying bills and putting food on the table, while they are fighting the greatest battle of their lives. Riley knew about Sherry’s Run because his girlfriend, Melanie Knight, had walked a similar path with cancer in 2014.

Knight didn’t want to ask for help, but Debbie Mason with Macon Bank and Trust encouraged her to contact Sherry’s Run where she found so much more than financial assistance. 

“It was so comforting to talk to someone who understood what I was going through,” said Knight. “Tonyia was always willing to take time to share her own story with me and it gave me the courage to walk through it.” 

Tonyia Watson, director of patient assistance for Sherry’s Run, has walked through her own cancer diagnosis and treatment and often spends hours just listening to patients and helping them understand what to expect.

Fast forward a year and Riley became sick. In September, he finally gave in to Knight’s pleading and let her drive him to the emergency room at St. Thomas Medical Center, where he was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkins lymphoma. Riley immediately began taking chemotherapy treatments. This time, the family’s greatest need was for gas cards to get Riley to and from treatments. 

“If it hadn’t been for Sherry’s Run, we would have missed many appointments,” Riley said.

Sherry’s Run was also able to assist the family the cost of prescriptions and rent payments to keep a roof over their heads. Both Riley and Knight are in remission now and so thankful. 

Knight’s 10-year-old son, Jon, is thankful, also. The couple said he has been their best “caretaker,” and if it weren’t for him, they would have given up.

Anyone can be a part of giving hope to families like Riley and Knight by

attending the third annual Macon County Day of Hope to benefit Sherry’s Run on Friday and Saturday at the Macon County Fairgrounds. All of the proceeds will benefit cancer patients like Riley and Knight and their families. Goad’s Chuckwagon will serve refreshments. There will be plenty of live entertainment, a children’s fun area, an antique car show, an antique tractor show and more. For more information, contact Philip Smith at 615-572-4422 or Mason at 615-666-6448.

Support allows us to assist cancer patients 52 weeks a year with gas, groceries, utility bills, housing payments, prescription assistance, health insurance premiums, medical bills and colonoscopy assistance.

To learn more about Sherry’s Run, call 615-925-2592. To refer someone who might qualify for assistance, call 615-925-9932 or visit sherrysrun.org.

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