UNION COUNTY, Ark. (10/4/19) — It’s that time of the year again to paint the town pink and it’s going to be a sight to see.
The seventh annual 5k family walk/run will begin tomorrow at 8 a.m. but there will a big rally prior to the race. The inaugural run was to raise money for Corrie Gross Bechtelheimer who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.
Since her passing in 2014, Bechtelheimer’s mother, Sandy Gross and family, have been honoring Bechtelheimer by raising money to help cancer warriors in Union County.
“We get to help other people now,” co-chair of the event, Heather Gilmore said. “It’s an amazing feeling when you see lives changed.”
The money can be used for anything the recipient chooses. It can go towards a house note, electric bill, groceries or transportation.
It’s a much needed blessing that Angela Roberson knows all too well.
“Knowing that there’s someone here that will support you in whatever you’re going through whether you’re not having chemo or you’re on your fourth or fifth round of chemo you have an organization here in this town that’s very supportive,” Roberson said.
Roberson was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2014, just 4 months after Bechtelheimer passed away.
Bechtelheimer isn’t the only daughter of Sandy Gross that was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her oldest daughter Christy Lowery, Vice President of Team Corrie Cancer Foundation, was also diagnosed with it but has defeated it.
When Gross’s daughters were diagnosed, she was shocked because there wasn’t a medical history of breast cancer in her family. She knew she couldn’t remove the cancer from her daughters but she could help others.
Every month, Gross posts Facebook reminders for women to do a self-breast exam and mammogram screening. Roberson normally remembers to get her mammograms but her routine became an afterthought after she began nursing school.
“I saw that and I said ‘Oh, I forgot to get my mammogram,” Roberson said. “So, I scheduled my mammogram and that was the year cancer was detected in my right breast.”
Roberson was the foundation’s first grant recipient. Then, the foundation was only able to give out $500 to cancer warriors. Still, that money helped Roberson with travel back and forth to Little Rock.
For the last several years, the foundation has been able to hand $1,000 grants, awarding 114 cancer warriors since the organization was founded.
It’s a way of keeping two promises to Gross’s daughter: that she would let Bechtelheimer’s children know who she was and that she would help other cancer patients in Union County.
“Every time I sign a grant check now, I say this is for you Corrie,” Gross said.