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Harrison Ruritan Club hosting bluegrass event for those battling cancer

Harrison Ruritan Club member Pattie Carter couldn’t understand why the doctor repeatedly asked her to come in for so many blood tests. She just wanted to know what was wrong, why she was so easily exhausted.

“I was having symptoms … in my ribs and lower back … and I didn’t know what they were for,” she recalled.

Finally, a call came that confirmed her fears. She had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that usually develops in people over the age of 50, and the road ahead wouldn’t be easy.

“It was kind of devastating at the time,” said Carter’s husband, Ken. “They had caught it really early in her, but she still had to go through the chemotherapy [and other treatments].”

Pattie Carter and family members spent a total of five weeks in the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in downtown Nashville. She underwent a stem cell transplant procedure that lasted more than 24 hours and involved a process similar to dialysis, during which her blood was sent out of her body, through a cleansing machine and back into her body.

Throughout the exhausting process, her husband and other relatives were able to stay across the street at the Village of Vanderbilt to be near her.

“My insurance was good [enough to cover the expenses of the on-site apartment] … but some people are not that lucky,” said Ken Carter. “I appreciate the fact it was there … everything except the food was furnished. It was handy. It took a lot of pressure off.”

Though still on medication, Pattie Carter is now cancer-free. She, along with the Harrison Ruritan Club, is hosting a benefit Nov. 17 to help fund others who might need extended stays near Vanderbilt Hospital but don’t have the insurance or money to cover the costs.

“This is just [my and Ken’s] idea,” she said. “People can stay there in Nashville and not have to travel so far for their treatments.”

The Nov. 17 event, to be held at 5709 Tyner Lane, is a bluegrass-themed benefit that includes a myriad of bands as well as concessions from 6-10 p.m. Admission is $5 and all proceeds go to the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center to fund families who need a place to stay while a loved one undergoes long-term treatment.

For more information visit http://harrisonruritanclub.webs.com.

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