Shively Motors drive helps ailing employee

March 21, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The employees of Shively Motors in Chambersburg consider themselves a family.

So when they learned one of their own was facing another battle with cancer, they did what any family would do -- they took her under their wing.

Parts adviser Susan Russell was the center of attention Saturday at a benefit concert at the auto dealership thrown by her fellow employees.

Russell was diagnosed in December with lung and brain cancer. The diagnosis came just a few weeks after she was cleared as a 10-year survivor of breast cancer.


"They could not see the lung cancer on any of the other tests," she said.

Service adviser Belinda Parks said the employees began to worry about Russell when she began experiencing dizziness and headaches.

When doctors confirmed that cancer again was taking its toll on her, dealership owner Elias Kymingham said he wanted to help.

Russell's story struck a chord with Kymingham.

"She just had a checkup and was told she was breast cancer-free when they found the cancer," he said.

Russell cannot work for at least the next year while she undergoes chemotherapy, but the company will continue to pay her health insurance, Kymingham said.

"She is such a great person," he said. "It is the least we could do."

This is the first time Kymingham said he can recall the company going to such lengths to help one of its own.

Russell said she was blessed that nearly 400 people came Saturday to listen to the bands, eat barbecue and take chances on the many donated raffle items.

With 100 percent of the food and raffle items donated and the employees volunteering their time, the event was a success, Karen Walsh said.

"Many businesses did not hesitate when I called asking for donation," she said.

Russell thanked God for the generosity of her work family, and said she plans to fight her new round of cancer with everything she has.

"I am determined to beat this," she said. "The Lord has blessed me with people to help."

Kymingham said he would welcome Russell back to work as soon as she is able.

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