By Kim West
Friends and members of the community have joined together for an “Old-Time Christmas Musical” to benefit Athens resident Vicki Bedingfield, who is battling Stage 4 colon cancer.
The musical will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Athens Senior Center on Pryor Street. Tickets are available at the Alabama Veterans Museum and Archives and at the senior center for $5.
“Helen Carter and Helen Greenhaw are organizing the music, and the Veterans Museum is co-sponsoring the event,” said Museum Director Sandy Thompson. “We would like to have a sellout crowd, and the center comfortably holds about 400 people. We hope to have all of the tickets sold before the actual concert.”
Bedingfield was first diagnosed in 2009 and was able to go into remission before relapsing in July. She is allergic to chemotherapy and is currently undergoing radiation treatments in Huntsville.
She worked for six years at the museum as an administrative assistant before her cancer returned earlier this summer, and had to stop working in late August.
Bedingfield, an Athens Bible School graduate, and her husband Roger, who graduated from Tanner, have two daughters and are lifelong residents of Athens.
They are longtime participants in the Poke Sallet benefit and other community fundraisers.
“Roger and Vicki would do anything to help out the community,” Thompson said.
For years the Bedingfields shared a major medical insurance policy through a group plan with a local real estate company. The policy covered all of Vicki’s medical expenses during her first bout with cancer, but the policy was “re-written” in early 2010, according to Roger Bedingfield.
“The first question people ask me is why we don’t have insurance,” said Roger, who has owned Roger’s Portraits in downtown Athens for nearly 30 years. “We couldn’t be dropped from the policy, so it was re-written and she wasn’t covered anymore through a technical loophole in the new policy.
“We tried to get other insurance, but her condition is pre-existing.”
Vicki is currently recovering from surgery to correct a painful knee problem unrelated to her cancer and has spent the past week at Huntsville Hospital. Roger, who has already paid more than $8,000 in out-of-pocket expenses, said Vicki has been looking forward to the benefit and will attend if released from the hospital.
“She is planning to go, even if she’s in a wheelchair,” Roger said.
Five singing groups are slated to perform Sunday, including Sister Grace, Cornerstone and Threefold. Denver and Tina Betts and The Forgiven Four, a gospel group comprised of Mike Davis, Herby Greenhaw, Morris Schrimsher and Bill Latimer will also sing.
For more information about assisting the Bedingfields, contact Jackie Greenhaw at 256-232-6643.