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A family's story of cancer survival

By Marlana Ward
A family is made up of a group of people that love and support one another.  When cancer hits one member of a family, everyone feels the repercussions.  One local family currently walking through their cancer journey is the Hicks family.
Ronnie Hicks has always been a hard worker.  When he began having back pain, he first thought it to be kidney stones but a check of his blood work showed that something much more serious was at fault.  Hicks was diagnosed with prostate cancer but then found to also have a secondary diagnosis of bone cancer.  “We were just in shock for a few days,” Tina Hicks, Ronnie’s wife, remembers.  “It was the hardest thing that we have had to face because this awful word, cancer, was going to change our life forever and we knew that.”
Hicks began radiation treatments for the first two diagnosed cancers.   During this time he was also undergoing CT scans every three months and MRIs every so often to keep a close eye on his condition.  It was during one of these scans that cancer was also found in his bladder along with a nodule in his lungs.  With these discoveries, radiation has been begun for a second round and Hicks’ body suffers more as he deals with treatment.  “The second dose of radiation was harder on him this time because it was stronger,” Tina shares.  “He was sick for 21 straight days.  He lost 30 pounds in about two months.”
On this journey with Hicks are not only his loving wife Tina but also their six children Cody, Dalton, Tracy, Kaleb, Evin, and Autumn.  While Cody and Dalton are Ronnie and Tina’s natural born children, Tracy, Kaleb, Evin, and Autumn became a part of the family when the couple took them in to prevent them from being separated in foster care.  Together, they face the daily challenges that living with cancer subjects not only the patients but their loved ones too.  “Our kids love their father,” Tina said.  “He is a dad that any child would love to have.  They have a hard time dealing with that Dad cannot do all the things he used to be able to do but our kids are always right by his side to help him.”
One of the hardest things for Hicks to adjust to since treatments began has been his inability to work.  “Ronnie has worked all of his life,” Tina explained.  “That was one of the hardest things about cancer for him because he went from working anywhere from 14 to 18 hours a day to staying home everyday.  He still has a hard time not doing something all the time.”  
The Hicks family would like to thank many in the community for their love and support:  “First of all, we want to say thank you to Mountain City Care Center and Rehab because they have been our support system from the start.  Each and every one of you has a place in all of our hearts for what you all have done.  There are no words that can say how much we love you all.  We also want to thank Bill Brookshire, Alan Storie, Timothy Hill, Phil Roe, Carolyn Ferguson, Farmers State Bank, Elizabethton Federal Bank, Johnson County Bank, Midway Baptist Church and every church in Mountain City for all the prayers that we have had.  Most of all, we thank God each and every day for giving us another day to be together and for all the blessings he gives us.”  
On June 7th at Ralph Stout Park, the community will have the opportunity to come out and show support and share encouragement for the Hicks family.  A fundraiser is planned to assist the family with some much-needed home renovations.   Currently the family of eight lives in a three-bedroom home and while they are very happy, extra room could definitely be used.  “The most pressing need for our family is more room so we can just grow and be one big happy family,” Tina expressed.  
The event will include a yard sale with all proceeds benefiting the family, concessions, a raffle and a number of local musical groups performing.  Groups expected to perform include:  Slice of Bluegrass, Laurel Trail, New Covenant, and Joe Crisp with possible more entertainers. Prizes for the raffle will include gift cards from Walmart, Maurice’s, Red Lobster, Hair Biz, Custom Nails, Freeman Gas and more.  Everyone is welcome to come out and show support for this loving family.
Donations to the Ronnie/Tina Hicks Housing Fund are also accepted any time at Elizabethton Federal Savings Bank in Mountain City.