Attendees at the Annual Cancer Survivor Dinner participate in a balloon release to honor lost loved ones. Photo by Megan McEwen.

By Meg Dickens
FREELANCE WRITER

Johnson County Bank and the Levi Retirees have partnered for the second year in a row for the annual Cancer Survivor Dinner. The event has only continued to grow. The 2018 dinner had 106 guests, while the 2019 dinner had more than 150 attendees. According to the Levi Retirees, this year’s attendance numbers exceed the average from the Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) previous survivor dinners in Mountain City. Those dinners averaged roughly 140 guests.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” is this year’s theme and t-shirt design. Bank employees passed out free t-shirts emblazoned with the verse that was wrapped with ribbon and had personalized name tags after dinner provided by the Levi Retirees. The Levi Retirees are long-time volunteers for this dinner and cater annually without asking for anything in return.
“The Levi Retirees are a great asset to the community. They are eager to help and provide the food at no charge,” said last year’s event coordinator Sandy Snyder.
According to the ACS, there are approximately 15.5 million cancer survivors in the United States alone. This cause is close to both groups. Many of the Levi Retirees are survivors, and multiple bank employees are survivors or have lost loved ones to cancer. More likely than not, statistics show you know someone touched by cancer either through a diagnosis or a loved one. Volunteers are determined to treat each guest as a guest of honor in their own right. As per tradition, there was a balloon release in honor of those lost.
“It was a very humbling experience, and I feel blessed to a part of it,” said new chairperson and loan department worker Donna Kirby. “We look forward to many more years of recognizing cancer survivors.”
The Johnson County Bank employees and the Levi Retirees would like to thank everyone who attended the event. The Cancer Survivor Dinner happens yearly at the Crewette building on a Saturday in September. If you are a cancer survivor or know a survivor who would like to attend the dinner next year, contact Donna Kirby at Johnson County Bank at 423-727-7701.
Thank the Levi Retirees and Johnson County Bank employees for taking the time to support and encourage local survivors.