Surviving and Giving Back raising funds for Friends and Neighbors

Every now and then generous, and kindhearted people join efforts for a cause dear to them, and Allegheny Mountain Radio recently got to speak to one such person. “Surviving and Giving Back” has been at work for just over a year.

“Becky Downer” teamed up “With a partner, Didi Simpson, she is actually the president of Surviving and Giving Back. She started it early last year of 2017. Didi is at stage four breast cancer, a very young lady, young child.”

These two women know first-hand the struggles of traveling for treatment, maintaining jobs while receiving chemo, and making ends meet.

“And when I was diagnosed early May, early stage breast cancer, I said, you know what Didi, I want to give back also in the community. How can we do this? And she said that she had a place already, Surviving and Giving Back. What we do is chemo care packages, simple things: slippers, socks, ginger ale, crackers, gift cards, gas cards to help offset the cost of treatments or travel. Just personally, myself, I go to UVA, at least once a week. When I was first diagnosed I was going three times a week, so we know how expensive that can be. So we decided to, like I said, Didi and myself to team up and give back to our community and our locals.”

“If there’s some one who both wants to participate, or needs your help, what’s the best way for them to get in touch with you?”

“They can get in touch with myself, and I’ll be glad to give you my personal cell phone number, which is: Becky Downer 540- 691-6116. Also, I work here at the Homestead, so if you need to reach out, just ask for Becky Downer, they’ll be glad to connect you.”

Next Becky and I turned to Surviving Giving Back’s first large fundraiser.

“We have an event coming up July 6th, which is a masquerade ball, and we would like to give back to our community.   The proceeds will be split between Surviving, Giving Back, and the Doris Via Foundation.”

“If people want to know more about the event, the masquerade ball, who else should they get in touch with?”

“They can contact myself; also Fern Plecker at the Hairstyling Shop here in Mitchelltown in Bath County. And also we have tickets available at the Right Way Motors in Covington. The masquerade ball is going to be held at River Uplands Farm near Millboro Springs on the evening of Friday, July, 6.

Becky credited people around her for both support through her long illness, and forjumping in to raise money to help others. They are:

“A very great supportive system, my family, my friends, my coworkers, and just the community itself. Didi in the past has done chemo care packages, things for Allegheny, and also even reached out as far as Roanoke; and you know we have people here in Bath that go down to Allegheny for their treatments. And a lot of times we have a nurse that will call us, and say, ‘I know of some one that may need a gift card for gas, so we’ll be glad to do that as well.”

Becky explained she and Didi continue to learn more about treatments of all kinds, and the importance of early intervention. It was a routine annual where doctors told her she was being referred for more testing. When seeking help, and answers to questions Becky emphasized “The earlier the better; you know, do your monthly screenings, go for your exams.”

Story By

Bonnie Ralston

Bonnie Ralston is the Assistant Station Coordinator at WVLS and a Highland County news reporter. She began volunteering at Allegheny Mountain Radio in the fall of 2005. In 2006 she became an AMR employee and worked in Bath County for eight years as the WCHG Station Coordinator and then as the news reporter there. She began working in radio while in college and has stayed connected to radio, in one way or another, for more than thirty years. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, while spending a lot of time on her family’s farm in Deerfield, Virginia. She enjoys spending time outside, watching old TV shows and movies and tending to her chickens.

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