Coon hunt, soup bean dinner to benefit Scott woman recovering from rare cancer

Holly Viers • Sep 26, 2018 at 6:45 PM

YUMA — Eight months after being diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, 34-year-old Ashley Sloan is still adjusting to her new lifestyle.

Though she is now cancer-free, the disease left Sloan with limited mobility, not to mention a stack of medical bills.

To help ease her financial burden, the Clinch Mountain Coon Club is hosting a benefit coon hunt and soup bean dinner next weekend, with proceeds going toward Sloan’s medical expenses.

A life-changing diagnosis

In January, Sloan was diagnosed with a type of sarcoma cancer that attaches to nerve tissue. Sloan’s mother, Theresa Gilliam, said her daughter has a rare condition known as neurofibromatosis, and the type of cancer she had generates from that disease.

Sloan was referred to Duke University Medical Center, where she had 25 radiation treatments and surgery to remove the tumor.

“(The doctor) said when he got in there, the size of the tumor was about the size of a large cantaloupe,” Gilliam said. “It had wrapped itself around her sciatic nerve.”

The doctor was forced to remove Sloan’s sciatic nerve, which left her with no use of one of her feet. Sloan, who also has a learning disability, now walks with a cane and must be examined every three months to ensure the cancer hasn’t returned.

Paying the bills

Sloan works part-time at Food City through a Frontier Health program, Gilliam said, which helps those with special needs find employment. She recently returned to work, but her income isn’t enough to cover all her medical bills.

“She only has Medicare A and B; she doesn’t have a supplement,” Gilliam explained. “She’s not old enough to apply for … any type of Medicare supplement. She got rejected for Virginia Medicaid, because she does have a little part-time job and it put her over the qualification of that.”

Sloan also has no prescription insurance, Gilliam said, meaning all of her medicines must be paid for out-of-pocket.

How you can help

Gilliam’s brother, Scott Hensley, and Brandon Woods came up with the idea to host a benefit coon hunt in Sloan’s honor. The event will be held Oct. 6 at Clinch Mountain Coon Club, located at 13053 Yuma Road.

A soup bean dinner will be served at 5 p.m., followed by a $15 UKC-sanctioned bench show at 6 p.m. for dogs that will participate in the coon hunt. The hunt itself will begin at 8 p.m. and will cost $20.

A silent auction will also be held, featuring items such as wreaths, gift cards, quilts, dog collars, gun cases and a puppy from Mr. Clean — a world champion coon dog — that is valued between $400-500, Gilliam said.

“I do appreciate what everybody’s already done and everybody (who will) come out and support her,” Gilliam said. “We’re going to have a good time, eat some soup beans and maybe win a prize.”

For more information, call Woods at (423) 863-3455 or Hensley at (423) 480-5480.

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