WAYNESBORO -- A 5K and 10K race Saturday morning at Ridgeview Park in Waynesboro was not just for the runners, but for neighbors battling cancer. The money runners raised goes to help make sure cancer patients can cross their own finish line.
Joey Belcher is fighting cancer.
"I'd probably have been in my grave for seven weeks now, had this not turned out the way it did," he said.
Belcher was diagnosed with lymphoma on May 2.
"By the time I got into the hospital, my left arm, my throat and my face were all swollen up. I looked like a fat-guy version of myself."
It was a scary time for the 29-year-old Belcher and his family.
"He was unemployed, uninsured and now he had cancer," said Sandi Belcher, his mother. "You just feel like the world is crashing down on you.""
The Belchers knew they would have trouble paying for Joey's treatment. Augusta Health Center's "Bridge Fund" helps them pay for the things they cannot.
"It helps bridge the gap between needed resources that we can put into place until they can get that," said Leigh Anderson, a social worker at Augusta Health Cancer Center.
The fund helps with things insurance might not cover, such as medicine or the costs of traveling to the hospital to get treatment.
"Whatever a person needs help with in order to get the care that they need, I'm going to try to help them if I can," Anderson said.
That help comes as a relief to Belcher's mother.
"As a parent, you just breathe a little sigh of relief that you have that," she said.
It helps the Belchers concentrate on the path in front of them - just like the runners raising money to help, racing against the clock - and cancer.
"We don't get to choose the cards that life deals us," Joey Belcher said. "We can only choose how we react to them."
More than 300 runners raced and walked at Ridgeview Park, which is the biggest turnout so far for the race. There is no word yet on how much money was raised, but over the last two years the race has tallied more than $8,000.
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