‘Breakfast’ at Bethany benefits cancer patients

Published 12:00 am Friday, August 23, 2013

While the cancer that 22-year-old Bailey Byrd suffers from is extremely rare, the community support that she and her family is receiving during this time is anything but.

And those who want to lend a helping hand to her and fellow cancer patient 17-year-old Megan Kelley are invited to a breakfast supper benefit at Bethany Baptist Church Saturday.

Byrd – who celebrated her birthday Wednesday – is battling juvenile granulosa cancer. Byrd’s journey began in May when she began suffering from stomach pains. A few days later, she found herself in the emergency room, thinking she had a ruptured appendix. A quick scan before surgery showed a tumor on her ovary and uterus. She underwent emergency surgery the next morning at the Destin, Fla., Sacred Heart Hospital. When the pathologist saw the scan, he called the tumor “suspicious,” and immediately after surgery, a biopsy confirmed the cancer.

“When all of her results came back, it showed that the cancer had spread,” Byrd’s mom, Pam. “Only 1 in 16 people in the U.S. have the same diagnosis. Bailey’s on her second chemo treatment. Since she’s so young, she can have four. We have to go to Texas every two weeks for treatment.”

“Texas” really means M.D. Anderson in Houston, which is the main reason that the family’s church is helping to sponsor the benefit for the girls. Kelley, a senior at Andalusia High School, is currently battling another rare form of cancer called Ewing’s Sarcoma. Kelley will miss the fall semester of her senior year at AHS as she undergoes chemo treatments at UAB.

Before she was diagnosed, Byrd was taking summer off from Northwest Florida Community College, where she was majoring in business administration.

“I was just working, getting ready to head back when all this started,” she said. “You never think that something like this will happen to you, but it can. No one is immune. It can happen. It happened to me.”

Bethany pastor Josh Wilson said proceeds from the event, which will be held from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. in the church fellowship center, will go toward travel and other expenses.

Wilson said the menu will consist of egg casserole, grits, homemade biscuits, sausage, ham, tomato gravy and fruit salad, and drink choices include coffee, orange juice and the like.

Plates will be for donations.

Bethany Baptist Church is located at the intersection of U.S. Hwy. 29 North and the Heath/River Falls Road.