By Natalie Simms
Just over two months ago, Armuchee’s Hannah Allmon saw her life turned upside down. The 29-year-old general manager of Sam’s Burger-Deli and recent nursing school graduate received the crushing news that she has a malignant brain tumor, glioblastoma. And now, her family, friends, co-workers and the community are rallying around the one who has always been the first to help them.
“This has been tough on everyone. She’s my general manager and has been with me since the beginning…she’s like my daughter. We are doing all we can to help and believing she will be back here running the restaurant in the future,” says Sam Edwards, owner of Sam’s Burger-Deli at 3268 Martha Berry Highway.
It was just before Thanksgiving when Hannah started having some pain in her shoulders and neck. Her mother, Karen Allmon, says they just wrote it off to her looking down studying a lot in nursing school. Karen herself had some neck and shoulder issues treated by a local chiropractor.
“She (Hannah) went to a chiropractor but it was not helping. By the second week in December, Hannah started missing appointments and missing work and not calling. That is definitely not her character…she never misses appointments. She was sleeping all the time and had no energy, so we knew we needed to get her in to see our family doctor,” says Karen.
“Our doctor ordered every test and we had an MRI done and within one week, they found the tumor. We were referred to UAB (University of Alabama at Birmingham) for a biopsy that confirmed glioblastoma. We wanted to get a second opinion, so we came to M.D. Anderson in Texas.”
The tumor is on the frontal lobe of Hannah’s brain and is inoperable because of its location. She currently is at M.D. Anderson undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for the next six weeks in hopes of stopping the growth of the tumor.
“We hope it will shrink but we at least want to stop it from growing. We have faith and hope that God is going to heal her,” says Karen. “If the treatments can shrink the tumor, she could be a candidate for a Litt procedure where they inject medicine directly into the tumor and it melts away with no harm done to the good brain cells around the tumor. She can’t have that done now because of its size.
“We will know more after the six weeks of treatment. The last scan they did was on Jan. 3 and there was no change in the tumor; it was stable with no additional growth, so that is good.”
Fortunately, the Allmons have family living in Cypress, Texas, near M.D. Anderson where they can stay while there for treatment. However, medical bills and travel expenses are something the family was not anticipating.
Hannah’s sister Jessica and close friend Mary Beth, both of whom also work at Sam’s Burger-Deli, have put together a few fundraisers to help support Hannah. A Facebook fundraiser was started just a couple of weeks ago and already over $25,000 has been raised.
“I am just amazed that the community has come together like this for Hannah. She has always helped anyone who needed it…if any of our friends needed help, she would do whatever she could do. She is the kindest and most caring person I know,” says Mary Beth.
“The Facebook fundraiser has been extremely successful. We’ve raised over $25,000 to help with travel expenses and her medical bills. Most people gave just $20 to $30 each, so that just shows you the large scope of the community that has helped.”
A collection box for cash or check donations is located inside Sam’s Burger-Deli for anyone who does not want to donate online. In addition, T-shirts are also being sold to support Hannah. The gray ‘Hope for Hannah’ shirts will be available at the restaurant later this week for $20 each.
“Our original goal was $10,000 not really knowing how much we would raise or where to start and now we’ve set a $30,000 goal to help with her ongoing medical needs,” says Mary Beth.
Karen says she is grateful for the community’s support and asks for continued prayers for Hannah’s treatment and healing.
“She’s a giver…that is just her personality. She has touched so many people. We are so grateful that so many have come together to help her with treatment and travel expenses. There are so many praying for her all over the country,” she says.
“I never dreamed this would be her destiny, especially have working so hard to get through nursing school and working full-time. I just have faith that God is going to bring her through this.”
For more information on the ‘Hope and Help for Hannah’ online fundraiser, click here.