By Megan Hollaway
There is a strong sense of community and a sense of care and responsibility in Mountain City, a fact highlighted by the Johnson County Cancer Support Group. Founded in 1994 by a collection of women, the group initially ran its program out of a church, supporting members of the community who were sick with an illness that can leave people with no money and no hope. Flo Bellamy, the head of the organization says there has never been anyone legitimate turned away from receiving help from the group.
The Johnson County Cancer Support Group provides gas money, nutritional supplements such as Boost and Ensure, and funds to travel to treatments that would otherwise be impossible to reach. There has even been outreach from this support group in a more extreme manner, from rent assistance to electric bill assistance. This group remains a non-profit and the two women who run it receive no salary. Flo says that the group’s current drive stems from the effect of the illness.
“If you know or have known anyone with cancer, you never want anyone to live with that pain.”
Flo emphasized, the number of community members that helped throughout the years is nearly innumerable and if it weren’t for the help of Bobbie Smith, who works with the financial aspects of this great endeavor.
When asked about the way that an organization like the Cancer Support Center manage to help so many people, Flo said, “We have never run out of money. There was once only a dollar and twenty-three cents in our bank account- and that’s when the community rallied for us, to keep us going.”
On the parting topic of the year’s accomplishments, Flo said that the real achievement for this year is the fact the center is still up and running.
“All thanks to a community who is here for us and if we ever think we are not going to make it or think we might go under, the community comes through for us,” she said.
A community like the one in Mountain City is indeed unique, and hard to come by. That much is evident in the testament of the Johnson County Cancer Support group, and the community that keeps it going.