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Cookin’ on the Creek benefit slated for Saturday

Continuing to provide essential support to The Hope Center Foundation, the Gunn’s & Roses’ seventh annual Cookin’ on the Creek will return Saturday.Ongoing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the fundraiser will be presented at the Gunn Complex, 35 Lipscomb Circle in Cartersville.

“I had a wife who passed away with cancer in 2009 — Sandra Gunn. Then my dad’s had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and my sister’s had breast cancer twice,” said Freddie Gunn, founder of Cookin’ on the Creek. “So after my wife passed away, I just thought this was something I needed to do to give back to the community.

“... The first year we did it, we raised like $1,800, and we had seven people or eight people cooking. Last year, we were able to give The Hope Center [Foundation] $30,000. And we anticipate having somewhere around 30 people cooking this year. I think we had 27 last year. ... They cook a variety of different things, from pig candy [to] we have people who cook a whole pig.”

Along with live entertainment provided by The Old Mill Road Band, Cookin’ on the Creek will feature professional and backyard barbecue teams, grill demonstrations and unlimited barbecue sampling — while supplies last — from noon to 4 p.m.

“After the fifth year, Dr. [William] Thoms, a radiologist at The Hope Center [who] is not there anymore ... called me,” Gunn said,” adding the event — which raises funds for The Hope Center Foundation — initially benefited the American Cancer Society. “He always came to the event. He said, ‘Freddie, is there anyway possible that you would consider giving the money to The Hope Center and keep the money here local?’ I said, ‘Dr. Thoms, I’m sorry. I should have been doing that all along.’ So last year was the first year we [gave] the money to The Hope Center. There’s plenty of people to help in our community without going outside of the community.

“... Once we let our sponsors and everyone know where the money was going — staying local — people just came out of the woodwork wanting to be a part of it, wanting to help in some way. ... We’ve got several sponsors — Lowe’s, Home Depot, Arco, City Pond, Full Throttle. ... I’d like to recognize them and thank the sponsors for helping us out, because there’s no way we could do this and raise this kind of money without the sponsors.”

Calling the event “a blessing,” Chase Adams — The Hope Center’s director of Oncology Services and chairman of The Hope Center Foundation Board — is looking forward to this year’s Cookin’ on the Creek.

“When we were originally approached by Mr. Gunn a couple of years ago about being involved in this annual event, we were overwhelmingly appreciative,” Adams said. “We knew that this would be a great event, however we never imagined just how much support we were going to receive. The event last year surpassed all expectations. Not only was it great to see our community come together and support our foundation, but Cookin’ on the Creek provided an opportunity for our Hope Center staff, providers and patients to meet and fellowship with the folks who have been so compassionate about cancer care in our community.

“Being able to benefit from Cookin’ on the Creek once again this year is truly a blessing. Having the ongoing support of our community, allows our foundation to continue to assist cancer patients and their families during their time of need.”

Located at 100 Market Place Blvd. in Cartersville, The Hope Center provides radiation oncology and medical oncology treatment for cancer patients. The center also houses the Breast Imaging Center of Excellence, which offers various services, such as screening and diagnostic mammograms, breast ultrasound and 3D ultrasounds for dense breasts.

“Last year, Cookin’ on the Creek raised over $30,000 for The Hope Center Foundation,” Adams said. “All of these funds have gone to and will continue to support local cancer patients. Currently, we are able to provide transportation, nutritional and lodging assistance for patients and their families.

“However, with the additional funding generated from this year’s event, we hope to be able to expand our services immensely. This may include financial assistance with routine and preventative medical care, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, as well as more extensive diagnostic tests, such as genetic testing and biopsies.

Having the ability to provide these free and subsidized services will positively impact the instances of late-stage cancer in our community.”

On Saturday, Cookin’ on the Creek attendees are encouraged to park at The Hope Center and a shuttle will transport patrons to the event.

Admission to the benefit will be a $10 donation for adults, $5 donation for youth 5 to 12 and free for children younger than 4.

For more information about Cookin’ on the Creek, visit the event’s Facebook page or call John Hale, 404-644-1213, or Gunn, 678-873-4407. Further details about The Hope Center’s services can be obtained by calling 678-721-5555.

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