Dixie woman relieved to be cancer free and bill free

Dixie woman relieved to be cancer free and bill free

PINE BELT (WDAM) - As a lab and x-ray tech, Dixie resident Laurie Draughn takes care of a lot of people during their doctor's visits.

Hattiesburg resident Dawn Gillis is one of those people.

"Laurie had always been the one to draw my blood when I would go see my doctor," Gillis said.

They both said that is as far as their relationship went until Gillis noticed Draughn wasn't at one of her appointments.

"At check out I was asking the gal I said,'Well, where's Laurie?', she said, 'Dawn, she is in the hospital!' " Gillis said.

Draughn found out she had a six-centimeter lump in her breast. Draughn can remember exactly how she felt when she heard the news.

"My first thought was I don't want to die," Draughn said.

Draughn's doctor confirmed she had breast cancer on October 28, 2016. She said she was fearful that day and the days that followed.

"I had six treatments of chemotherapy, then I had a double mastectomy, and following that I had 33 radiation treatments," Draughn said.

She worried about the expense of those treatments. But, while she laid in the hospital bed recovering from a double mastectomy, Gillis was rushing to her bedside about ease Draughn's worry.

"Ms. Dawn just took care of all of it from there," Draughn said.

Gillis took care of  Draughn's hospital bill. The payment was possible through Gillis's foundation Waiting for a Cure. She said she and a friend started it in 2004.

"Chris Hap, owner of Chesterfield's, his sister had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and he was pretty upset about it and he knew I was a survivor, so we talked." Gillis said. "So, that's when we formed the Waiting for a Cure Foundation."

Gillis said the money the foundation receives through donations and fundraisers pays the medical bills of breast cancer patients. She said there is no lengthy paper work, and no one is turned away.

"We work directly with the physicians and their staff," Gillis said. "They let us know, we verify it, we pay. Just like that."

Draughn said just like that her worry was gone.

"Relief. Relief, just knowing that that is one less thing I have to worry about. I can concentrate on getting well," Draughn said.

Draughn said she is in complete remission.

If you would like to help Waiting for a Cure Foundation, or if you need the foundation's help Gillis encouraged anyone to call her at 601-620-6421.