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Community's support leaves Reneau family "beautifully overwhelmed"

A cornhole tournament was one of several activities that took place in Sanbornton Town Park last weekend as the community raised money for their fellow resident Amanda Reneau, who is battling Chondrosarcoma. (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
July 11, 2018
SANBORNTON – "I am beautifully overwhelmed," said Tom Reneau last Saturday at a community-wide affair to benefit his 35-year-old wife Amanda, who is battling cancer.

Amanda was recently diagnosed with Chondrosarcoma, a form of cancer that attacks the bone and surrounding soft tissue and does not respond well to treatment. In June, she underwent a 30-hour surgery, which took place in phases over the course of a few days and ultimately removed a more than five-pound tumor that encompassed an area from her pelvis to her tailbone and all the connecting nerves.

"It went well," Tom reported last weekend, adding that as part of the surgery doctors removed some of her fibula (a leg bone) to rebuild the pelvic area affected by the tumor. "She's been moved to a rehab center, and she's progressing well. She can stand up and even walk a little bit now. Every day gets a little better."

In an effort to help the family with mounting expenses, residents of Sanbornton rallied at the town park last weekend to raise funds through a day filled with food, music and love.

"Oh my gosh," Tom said as he was surrounded by friends and well-wishers. "This is all just a blessing."

Food for the event was provided by Rock House BBQ, which served up plates of pulled pork, brisket, sausage and Jamaican Jerk Chicken throughout the day. Owner Bill Wilcox of Sanbornton said he and his family donated the 650 lbs. of meat and gallons of other accompanying side dishes they prepared for the day so that all proceeds from the meals could go to the Reneau family.

"Rock House Barbecue is a part of our company Wilcox and Barton, Inc. with the mission of doing nonprofit events like this. I like to cook and I like to give back to the community so about six or seven times a year, when we find the right cause, we bring this (food wagon) out to help raise money," Wilcox said.

Assisting him that day were his wife, who is an Emergency Room physician, local doctors and nurses she knows, and other members of the Wilcox family. Each of them generously donated their time to help prepare and serve the food.

"The generosity of Rock House takes my breath away. This whole event has had me in tears. It's wonderful," said Reneau family friend and Team Amanda member Alicia Gorrell.

There were also children's games, donations of stuffed animals for kids to "adopt," and a very popular Cornhole Tournament for people of all ages to compete in. A silent auction of 125 donated items or services had people bidding on everything from handcrafted goods, gift cards and overnight stays at local inns to a fabulous trip to Ecuador. Rock House Barbecue also offered a specially catered barbecue for up to 200 people at a minimum bid of $2,000 that was met right away.

Singer/guitarists Doug Thompson and Samantha ("Sam") Tracy took turns entertaining all the people who listened from shaded tables set up along the field or while they enjoyed activities around the park. They, too, donated their time to the event.

As he took in the huge crowd of people who came out in support of his wife, Tom Reneau said he was deeply touched and knew Amanda would be, too.

"This is really what I feel our country is supposed to be- people coming together for a common good," he said. "All their prayers and support means so, so much to us. We're expecting miracles here for Amanda, nothing less."

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Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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