Church group provides free meals for cancer patients at the hospital
Cancer patients at CHI Memorial in Chattanooga are served a special meal every Wednesday, free of charge, during their treatments.
What was supposed to be a one time thing has now happened every week there for more than two years.
On this week's Pay It Forward, Jessica Harthorn surprises the woman who started the ministry, "Supper Man Club."
Ashley Reid says she saw first hand how a simple meal can change the attitude of a person undergoing chemotherapy.
After her husband lost his battle with cancer, she says God laid it on her heart to start the Supper Man Club.
Now her free meals are helping a mother and daughter from Dunlap.
It was a diagnosis, no one wants to hear.
"It scares you to death, especially when they say stage four," said Karen Marshall.
Karen says a year and a half ago the Colon Cancer had spread and she was in the fight of her life, but she had one request for her loved ones.
"To my kids and my family, no 'Debbie Downers' and no pity parties. These are not allowed. So it's all about your doctor's, friends, volunteers that are with you," said Karen.
One volunteer in particular touched Karen's heart.
Each Wednesday during her chemotherapy treatments, Ashley Reid and others with the Supper Man Club at Dallas Bay Baptist Church would show up with a smile and a healthy meal.
Karen's daughter Deborah says the kind gesture relieved stress.
"It's just been a blessing, because it's allowed me to be able to stay with my mom, instead of worrying about getting food and being away from her in treatment," said Deborah.
And today its Karen and Deborah's turn to return the favor. They surprised Ashley in the CHI Memorial parking lot as she was loading up her food cart.
"Hi there!" surprised Deborah.
"What is going on?" asked Ashley.
"Ashley, on behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, we would like to Pay It Forward to you for all of your love and dedication. For being a blessing to so many people. So put your hand out. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5." surprised Deborah.
"Thank you!" said Ashley as she hugged Karen and Deborah.
After the surprise, Ashley showed us the delicious food prepared for the patients, many items are donated by local businesses and families.
"I have a lady that makes homemade pimento cheese," showed Ashley.
Ashley says Karen has become her inspiration as she passes out sandwiches with a side of joy.
"That's what it's all about; attitude. Embracing it, not changing who you are, and just rolling with it with a smile on your face," said Ashley.
And that's why Ashley says she will continue to roll through the hospital free snacks in hand.
Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for helping others? Nominate them here!