Friends for the Fight dinner, 5K to benefit local cancer patients

Holly Viers • Sep 30, 2018 at 1:30 PM

KINGSPORT — For many cancer patients, medical expenses often leave little money for things like gas, groceries and monthly bills.

That’s why Chad Roberts, pastor at Preaching Christ Church, founded Friends for the Fight, a nonprofit that helps local cancer patients pay for day-to-day necessities.

Funds are raised through the organization’s annual benefit dinner, which will be held in Kingsport next Saturday. 

“There are no salaries; there is no office expense, no administrative expense,” Roberts said. “Apart from the cost of the event, everything goes to patients.”

Meeting a need

The first Friends for the Fight benefit dinner was held four years ago, Roberts said. He started the event after realizing that most cancer fundraising goes toward research rather than patients.

“While (research) is very important, what we wanted to do is help with daily, practical needs,” Roberts said. “If a patient has to quit work, how are they paying their light bill? How are they buying food? How are they getting gas to (go to) treatments? So those were the practical things that we wanted to help with.”

Since then, the event has continued to grow. After raising $3,500 the first year and $13,000 the second year, the dinner raised $22,000 last year, Roberts said. The Wellmont Cancer Institute in Kingsport distributes the funds to local patients in need.

“It’s had a great trajectory,” Roberts said, “and it’s had incredible support from the community, both from businesses and from individuals who either have had cancer or … have been touched by someone who’s battled cancer.”

This year’s event

The dinner will be held Saturday, Oct. 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the Kingsport Farmers Market. Dinner, catered by Braeden’s BBQ, will be served at the start of the event.

After that, a cancer patient who has been helped by Friends for the Fight will speak, and Folk Soul Revival will provide live music. A silent auction featuring more than 50 items will conclude the evening.

Adult tickets are $20, and children ages 12 and under are $10. Tickets are available now at friendsforthefight.com or at the Wellmont Cancer Institute, and they will also be available at the door on the day of the event.

Though it’s not required, Roberts encourages people to bring a gas card of any amount to the dinner. These cards will be given to cancer patients as part of Fuel for the Fight, an offshoot of Friends for the Fight.

Another way to help

New for runners, a 5K race has been added to this year’s event, Roberts said. Like the dinner, all profits will benefit local cancer patients.

The race will be held at 10 a.m. at Sullivan North High School on the same day as the dinner. Runners can view prices and purchase tickets now at werunevents.com or friendsforthefight.com, and everyone who participates will receive a T-shirt.

Why should you come?

“I encourage people to come because it’s great music and it’s great food for an even greater cause. … The cause is what matters,” Roberts said, “and I don’t think there’s anyone who hasn’t been touched by cancer.”

For more information, contact Roberts at (423) 967-5997 or [email protected]