Paw Creek rallies around family

by Alan Hodge

Kelley Longshore’s daughters Jamie, Jolee, Jesse, her husband, Jerold, and her father, Tommy Cashion, at a benefit for the family at Paw Creek Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Dec. 4.

Warm hearts prevailed over sleet and cold rain Saturday night at Paw Creek Presbyterian Church where a benefit dinner was held for 43-year-old cancer patient Kelley Longshore and her family.

Longshore family friends Jason Kenley, Bucky Oates, and Tim McClure came up with the idea several weeks ago.

“We’ve been friends with them a long time and decided to do something to help,” Kenley said.

The event drew more than 600 folks who contributed to a fund that will help Longshore with her medical expenses. Besides broiled chicken dinners, other fundraising activities Saturday included a bake sale, hair weaves, holiday photos, and the sale of ovarian cancer awareness T-shirts with the logo “Fight like a Girl” printed on the front.

According to event staff member Amy McGee, more than 100 people volunteered to help put the show on.

“The community has been touched by Kelley and her family,” McGee said. “We wanted to show our love and support. The response exceeded expectations and was overwhelming.”

Back in October, Longshore was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Since then, the disease has spread to her lungs. She attended Paw Creek Presbyterian when she was growing up in the area and the deep faith she acquired there is evident.

Well-wishers fill the fellowship hall at Paw Creek Presbyterian Church.

“The story isn’t about me as much as it is about God working through these people to support me,” she said. “There are so many people praying for me. I am amazed at all the things people are doing for us.”

Though she didn’t feel up to making the trip to the benefit dinner, Longshore’s husband Jerold and their three daughters 18-year-old Jesse, 14-year-old Jamie and nine-year-old Jolee were on hand Saturday night to meet and greet the large crowd of well-wishers.

“This whole deal is a thing of generosity,” Jerold said. “For me, it is a humbling yet uplifting experience.”

The Longshore family lives in Iron Station and attends Pearl Baptist Church where Jerold says the congregation has also stepped forward with open hearts.

Another morale booster for the Longshore family has come in the form of get-well cards – lots of get well cards.

“So far we have over 500 cards,” her daughter Jesse said. “The amazing part is how many people have helped. It makes you so thankful.”

Jesse also praised the sense of sisterhood at the benefit dinner between her mother and the ladies who attended.

“If it was any other woman here they would help them too,” she said.

Kelley’s father, Tommy Cashion, was also at the dinner. Like other family members, he was touched by the response from the Paw Creek, Coulwood, and other communities.

“I’m overwhelmed with the support from friends and neighbors,” Cashion said. “Just looking at the crowd I see people I know that have come from Durham, Gastonia, and Denver.”

Many of Kelley’s long time friends, including McGee, recalled how much her fight against the ovarian cancer had inspired them.

“It’s amazing,” McGee said. “She has strong faith.”

Another long-time friend, Angela Ranson, noted Kelley’s character and the response to the benefit dinner:

“Kelley was a sweet child and she is a sweet adult,” Ranson said. “She is selfless and puts everyone else first. The number of people here this evening says it all.”

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