I’m going to be blunt this month. Cancer sucks. During the month of February, most people think of hearts and love and Valentine’s Day. This February, the Blairsville-Union County community has heavy hearts with the heart breaking news that two of our most upstanding citizens have been diagnosed with cancer.
Our community was first taken by surprise when Stephen Mullis, superintendent of the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer. A young man with a beautiful wife and three children has had to endure more than six weeks of radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Although in late December he learned there was no progression of the tumor, he had to begin his second phase of chemotherapy and radiation treatments to keep attacking these evil cancer cells. Not only has this journey been difficult on Stephen, but on his family as well. The exorbitant cost of treatments, plus travel and lodging costs in Atlanta for medical appointments and treatments have been burdensome to the family. A Stephen Mullis Fund has been set up at Park Sterling Bank. Donations can be made at any North Georgia Park Sterling Branch to help offset this expensive process.
Not having recovered from the shock of Stephen’s diagnosis, another hammer was dropped on our community when we discovered that our beautiful and energetic Tricia Spear was just recently diagnosed with cancer. Tricia is the manager of the Humane Society’s Mountain Shelter Thrift Store and volunteer extraordinaire. Tricia is always involved in events and activities related to Downtown Blairsville and passionately cares for all furry critters, but especially cats and dogs. Tricia volunteered every Saturday morning to watch our neighbors’ four legged family members while they strolled through the Union County Farmers Market and was always seen walking around the Square with her best friend, Bugsy.
Tricia is currently at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. All of the details of her cancer have not been fully released however, we suspect there will be extensive treatments and a long road to recovery. A “No Greater Love 5k Run and Walk” will be held on Valentine’s Day, Saturday, February 14th at Meeks Park to help raise money to cover her bills while she is fighting this horrible disease. You can register to take part in the run/walk the day of the event beginning at 8am. Additionally, donations are being accepted for the Tricia Spear Recovery Fund at United Community Bank.
Although monetary donations are appreciated by both Mullis and Spear, healing prayers and positive energy for both of these friends are most appreciated. Remember to hug your friends and family. You never know when this horrible diagnosis could hit someone you love. Life is short. Tell your loved ones how important they are to you, not only on this Valentine’s Day, but every day.