From a place of discouragement after being diagnosed with a NET in June 2018, Susan Garrett of Roxboro, NC, saw a news story on WRAL about Rocks for Hope, initiated by another NET patient, Ashley Linden. “Ashley’s story touched me, gave me my own hope and made me realize that I needed to join Rocks for Hope and do good for others who are also dealing with a cancer diagnosis.”
Ashley passed away in January 2019, Susan did not have the opportunity to meet her but has continued to paint inspirational rocks to spread hope to cancer patients at the Duke Cancer Center, where she is receiving her care. “It feels good to do something good for other people,” shared Susan.
Susan’s efforts were expanded as she, her sister, Elizabeth St. John, and other friends and family organized and hosted The Slamdunkin’ NETs event in May. The event was a success on so many levels — it was a beautiful, hot, sunny day — 300 people attended the event at the Concord United Methodist Church. Organizers sold-out their hotdog lunch. Many people took to the basketball court to play Zebra games.
“Pastor Karl was beaten by his wife in a game of Zebra,” said Elizabeth, an oncology nurse and Susan’s sister.
The biggest success was gathering so much hope from the community through donations, painting rocks and supporting Susan.
As the Slamdunkin’ event closes its books, $3,100 will be donated to NETRF. “We are grateful that our efforts will be matched through the Spark Hope Campaign,” said Elizabeth.
“I am grateful for the tiresome work by NET Research Foundation to fund NET research. I’m hoping and praying to just have better treatments to help us live a more comfortable life. Time goes so quickly. It’s been almost a year since my diagnosis. I’m looking forward to doing an event again next year. I would certainly love to partner once again,” said Susan.
Please enjoy reading the Slamdunkin’ NETs Blog written by Elizabeth St. John…
Slamdunkin’ the NETS Blog
A Labor of Love
by Elizabeth St. John
Slamdunkin’ the NETS was nothing short of a labor of love! Really! From the start of planning to clean-up after the event there was no stopping anyone. We, as a family and surrounded by friends and loved ones, wanted to let the world know just how serious we are about making this place cancer free for our children and those who come after us. And we did just that! We kicked cancer’s butt on a Saturday from 10 am until 3 pm.
The day started early with everyone arriving to set-up and making sure of last minute details. Excitement began to build as fellowship hall at the church started buzzing with talk and laughter and kidding about which team would bring in the big prize! Would that be the UNC basketball or the autographed DUKE basketball team photo or the NCSU autographed basketball? The tables were filled with donations for our raffle and door prizes. The vendors were bringing character to the room with their wares.
The kitchen was buzzing and the men took over to cook. Outside in the picnic shelter there were tables ready for people to sit and stand and create works of art on rocks to give hope to those who need it and to spread some cheer. Young people were painting faces to look like zebras and butterflies!
The bouncy house was set-up for those wishing to have fun and jump their cares away. As the day progressed we had many friends and community members join us for food, fun and the friendship as we discussed old times, new times, and the reason we joined together for the event. Some came from two minutes away while others ventured from four hours away to help the cause. It was beautiful to see the people enjoying one another’s company while having a hot dog lunch or discussing what they had purchased or whatever else came to mind. The hot dog luncheon sold 300 hot dogs and we had to get more slaw!
The free throw contest was an all out brawl! Young and old showed off their best shots and even the pastor and his wife participated! The trophy ultimately went to a 14 year-old, young man who made 17 baskets in a minute.
During the last hour we had the drawings for the silent auction prizes and the door prize raffles. You could hear folks buzzing with hope that they would walk away with a top prize. And some wheeling and dealing for the silent auction prizes for sure! Even by telephone there was a last minute bid! Door prizes and silent auction totals came to $725 for NET research.
At the end of the day we came together to say “thank you” to everyone for their support and that we are committed to making this world free of NET cancer and bringing about awareness of the disease. More Rocks of Hope have been subsequently distributed across our area at the Duke Cancer Center Gardens or local cancer centers or by individuals where they live. The zebra t-shirts continue to be worn to bring awareness of NETs to others. But we haven’t stopped praying for or fighting for a cure! Yes, we raised approximately $3,100 in five hours on a Saturday afternoon for NET research.
This is just the start. We have come together as a family for a cause. We had a blast during the event! We laughed and cried! We wanted to bring the awareness to the community and we are proud to be a part of this area. We cannot thank everyone enough for the support we were given. From start to finish we didn’t stop. And neither did anyone else. And that is nothing short of the definition of a labor of love.