Boot Scootin’ Bonanza brings crowds to celebrate fight against cancer

The sky threatened, but this was a hearty group who held their ground and were rewarded with a lovely day on Sunday for Boot Scootin’ Bonanza, a Cancer Survivors Day Celebration.

Hosted by Blount Memorial Foundation and Community Outreach, the afternoon at Springbrook Park was filled with fun activities for the children, barbecue and all the fixings, musical entertainment and words of encouragements and wisdom from Blount Memorial Hospital staff and cancer survivors.

Gene Patterson, anchor at WATE-TV, Channel 6, kept the program flowing as guests listened to testimonies and advice from such notables as Dr. Albert Petty and Dr. Samuel Evans, medical directors of Blount Memorial Hospital; and Kay Lloyd, Thomas Bright and Gabriel Dennis, cancer survivors.

Kay Lloyd talked about the joy of children and the need for a sense of humor when going through cancer treatments. Her grandchildren, she said, were disappointed to learn that she didn’t “glow in the dark” after her radiation treatments, a fact they discerned by talking Nana into going into a dark closet while they peeped in to see if she glowed. Twenty-five-year-old Thomas Bright told of his journey fighting cancer that was first diagnosed when he was 18 years old. Looking at the sea of red and blue bandanas that the hospital and foundation staff gave to survivors (red) and family and support persons (blue), Gabriel Dennis told the crowd he was “encouraged by the red bandanas and thankful for the blue. Family members who stand by you are a blessing,” Dennis said.

In the crowd, Mick Stang said he had a message for his fellow males: “Listen to your wives, and get yourself to the doctor for a physical.” Stang is a 2-time cancer survivor of colon and throat cancer.

“Men need to get off their macho butts -- pardon my language -- and get to the doctor for their check-ups and physicals,” Stang said. “I was lucky. My wife is a nurse, and she made me go. Early detection makes all the difference.”

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