Just about a week after newlyweds Amanda Plummer and her husband, Kevin, moved into their Fuquay-Varina home, Plummer had intense pain in her abdomen and right hip. Six days later, it was so bad she drove herself to Rex Hospital where the testing began.
The diagnosis: Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, stage 4.
“The cancer was in my lungs, ovaries and two spots on my spine,” says Plummer, 27. “Honestly, I was terrified, but the doctors reassured me that it was a very treatable disease. It was very hard in the beginning with constant tests being run, being a newlywed and not being able to be in our new home. It was like our lives were put on pause.”
Kevin Plummer is the athletic director for West Cary Middle School. He’s been by Plummer’s side for 12 chemotherapy treatments, the last of which was recently completed.
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Amanda Plummer will get a PET scan this week to determine what’s next. For now, she’s had to leave her job at local insurance company. The side effects of her treatment have made it impossible to work.
Hodgkin’s is a relatively rare and often curable disease. Just 0.2 percent of men and women in the United States will be diagnosed at some point in their lives, according to data from the National Cancer Institute.
“I am very anxious, but staying positive,” Plummer says about the upcoming PET scan. “If the cancer is still there, we will begin radiation or more chemotherapy, which will be decided by the doctors. If the cancer is gone, and we are praying it is, then I will hopefully return to work and get back to normal again.”
In the meantime, her family is lifting her spirits, providing support and comfort. On Saturday, April 4, Plummer’s family is hosting Amanda’s Kicking Cancer Poker Run, organized by her sister-in-law, Marilyn Spencer. Spencer, Plummer and their husbands are all motorcycle enthusiasts.
The Poker Run will launch at 10 a.m. at Ray Price Harley-Davidson in Raleigh. The cost is $25 per driver and $10 per rider. Participants will travel to different stops collecting poker cards, and at the end of the run at Draft Line Brewing in Fuquay-Varina, prizes will be given to both the best and worst hands.
A pig picking will follow, at $7.50 a plate, as well as a raffle and a variety of games. Spencer has had good luck connecting with sponsors, including The Butcher’s Market and Possibilities Boutique in Cary, Garibaldi Trattoria and Draft Line Brewing in Fuquay, Aversboro Restaurant and Sports Bar in Garner and Lowe’s Foods and NautiGulls Soap Company in Holly Springs, among others.
“Everyone has been really supportive,” says Spencer. “I’ve had more yesses than nos as far as sponsors being able to donate raffle prizes. We are hoping to make as much as we can.
“We want to be able to make a dent, hopefully a significant one, in Amanda’s medical bills, but then we also want to give something back to the local cancer society,” she said.
Cancer is a terrible thing and tough on any family or individual facing the journey, but it’s been especially tough for these young families.
“I’ve learned that it’s everywhere,” says Spencer. “I’ve met a lot of people … affected in some way by cancer or a disease, something heartbreaking. It was never in my life before.”
Telling Plummer about all the “yesses” – that’s the best thing.
“She gets so excited,” Spencer said. “Seeing her face and how people who don’t know her are willing to help her or support her in some way, it means a lot to her. That helps me feel like I’m helping.”
Go to runbunnyfunrun.weebly.com or “Amanda’s Cancer Kicking Event” on Facebook.