She calls herself the “Cancer Bully”. She’s a fighter that will not back down. In June 2011 after a successful battle against breast cancer, she celebrated five years of being free of this medical menace. The she developed pain in her shoulder, went to the doctor, and found that it had attacked her bones and soft tissues. She decided to get mad and fight. Now it’s chemotherapy every week for the rest of her life, and astronomical medical costs. That’s what spurned the fundraiser at White House Park Saturday, August 19. Meals of hamburger or hot dogs, corn on the cob or chips and a drink were served for a $5 donation. There was a silent auction, a bake sale and a raffle for various services from area businesses.
My husband and I attended this fundraiser, and I enjoyed meeting Traci Mcaughty and all of her friends and family. She and her husband, Dave, have three children and 2 grandchildren. Their son Josh, 20, and his wife Katie have two children; Dallas 2 years, and Kash 5 months. Breanna 17, homeschooled so that she could help her Mom, is planning on getting her nursing degree. She, along with her mom and aunt, presently works at The BBQ Place in White House and has since she was 15. Fun and full of life, she and her whole family volunteer for various ministries at Revolution Church in White House. Breanna is pictured above with Candace Tarr. These girls helped with the raffle and silent auction and sold the meal tickets. Traci’s youngest son Noah, 10, who is Autistic Asberger’s was there greeting and talking to everyone. He attends White House Heritage Elementary and he told me that his favorite country artist is Jason Aldean.
Live music was provided by Ray Grizzell, also the Master of Ceremonies. Traci’s sister and caregiver, Mary Beaty, who moved to White House two years ago after their mom passed away, was involved in orchestrating the whole thing. She works at The BBQ Place and has made herself available to help with doctor appointments and chemo sessions. Also pictured above are Billy Beaty, Mary’s husband, and Clay Harris flipping burgers and grilling hot dogs and the ladies, who helped sell the “Pink” T shirts and jewelry; Jenny Shoemaker, who also works at The BBQ Place with Traci, and Heather Street. The owner of The BBQ place, Karen Berry, was involved in the donation of several raffle items and Traci’s pastor, Kris Freeman, was in attendance showing his support and greeting everyone. The congregation of Revolution Church, whose motto is “Live, Love, Serve”, is involved in many ministry opportunities within the community and around the world. Check out that story on “Church of the Week”.
I sat down with Traci after the smoke had cleared from the event and asked her questions about the fundraiser, her battle, her struggles, her victories, and her faith. These are some of her answers:
There were over 350 Meals sold and funds raised were $4,800.00. Many of the volunteers came up with own ideas such as the bake sale, ice cream bars, and the silent auction. Sales for the pink T shirts (pictured above), donated by State Farm Insurance agent Mike Gaines and Think Ink both of White House, were 195 and are still available at The BBQ Place.
In her first bout with cancer in ’06, after eight surgeries and chemotherapy for 1 ½ years, Traci and her husband Dave lost everything: Traci’s real estate company, their house, their retirement and investments, all their earthly goods. They came to Tennessee from California three years ago to start a new life. Dave was able to find a job at Kenwal Steel in Lebanon, TN and Traci worked at Think Ink and eventually at The BBQ Place. When her pain began in 2011, she thought she had torn her rotator cuff in her shoulder. She couldn’t use her arm because the pain was excruciating. There were many chiropractic and emergency room visits and she fell one day in the restaurant and couldn’t get up. In an act of grace, Dr. Chuck Woosley, sports therapist for the Tennessee Titans, finally prescribed an MRI which showed that the cancer had returned and was now in her bones, shoulder, spine, ribs, liver, soft tissue and under her arm. To fight off this new onslaught, chemotherapy is administered every other Wednesday for four hours through a port in her neck, straight to heart, and into the bone marrow.
Traci was both physically and sexually abused as a child, her aunt and uncle were her spiritual mentors. After her marriage to Dave and the birth of her children, she felt that she was raising them as “Sunday Christians”. “When I got cancer and couldn’t control it, I learned to trust God with things that were beyond me. I feel full now”. Forgiving her stepdad was part of that “letting go” process. She is praying for that for her husband, Dave, whose mom walked out on her family when he was young. There is great peace and joy in complete surrender to God. Traci and Dave have a really great marriage. They have a box that says “you are a special gift” that they hide from each other as a romantic ploy.
Once when Traci visited an Amish doctor to purchase homeopathic medicine, she expressed concern over her children’s well-being when she passed. She said, “I don’t want to die, but I’m not afraid to die”. He then said: “If you can trust God for yourself, why can’t you trust God with your kids?” That was the beginning of the “letting go” step of her battle. Traci also spoke about her son with Autism: “God prepared me to raise Noah in steps when I taught 4th grade in a Christian school in California. The first year there was only one student with ADHD in my class; the second year there was five in 20”. She stated that being his mom is the most important job she has. Traci and her family recently participated in the “Autism Speaks Walk” on Sept. 8th. Their group of almost 30 participants, Team McAutism (named by Noah), received donations and walked the 5K for this event.
The McAughty’s involvement with Revolution Church started when Traci met Kris Freeman at Think Ink, a silk screening company in White House. She told him her story and she became one of the four video interviews for the Miracle series, the first of many interviews at Revolution Church. Kris Freeman, pastor, was chaplain for the football team, softball coach, and a substitute teacher at White House High School at the time. Now he is a fulltime pastor.
“Trust God! See the good in each day. No complaining! Don’t put emphasis on things you cannot control. If you don’t know what to do, don’t do anything. Chill out!”
Pray for her family. There is a trust fund set up at Capital Bank for Traci or Dave McAughty. Extra funds are always needed for gas, time off work, doctor visits, tires for the car, and food for the trips for chemo. . They have a tax problem whose only solution is bankruptcy. That is why they are trying to pay off their bills.
Purchase and wear her T shirts and glow-in-the-dark pink bracelets that say PUSH: “pray until something happens. The third arm of arm of her treatment is an experimental drug which will start around the end of September or first of October.
Traci and Dave have a five-year financial plan. Part of that plan is a website, T shirts, bracelets, and a foundation, “Right to Fight Frustration” They want to buy a house (they are renters now) and get all their affairs in order. Traci has no “Bucket List”, she just wants to live each day. “If I can get up and come to work, I’m OK”. Her motto for life is all about just that: getting back to basics.