A single mother of three, Kim Long has happily spent time volunteering with numerous organizations around the Cranberry area, including her children’s little league and softball teams.
“I’ll volunteer anywhere I’m needed,” she said.
Now, after years of giving, Long, 39, has found herself on the receiving end of the community’s help.
The Long family, including Ricky, 15, Cody, 13, and Alexis, 11, have been chosen as the beneficiaries of this year’s Cranberry CUP (Community Uniting People), a nonprofit dedicated to helping local families financially—and emotionally.
Each summer, the organization holds a golf outing as well as its signature fundraiser, the popular Cranberry CUP softball tournament.
Typically held in August, the tournament features different neighborhoods and local businesses competing against each other to raise money for that year’s "inspirational" family and other projects. Past beneficiary recipients have included Cheyannia Marburger and Shawn O'Donnell.
Long, who is in treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, said she was in awe of being chosen as this year’s inspiration.
“I was speechless. I was crying,” she said. “It was amazing, just amazing.”
Since she was diagnosed with cancer last June, Long, a Cranberry resident and Seneca Valley graduate, has undergone six cycles of chemotherapy.
She currently is in radiation therapy to shrink a mass in her chest.
“The radiation doesn’t hurt, it just makes me tired,” she said. “But the chemo made me very sick.”
Unable to work because of her illness, Long said she was forced to quit her job. Her medical benefits ran out in December.
Upon learning her family was chosen as this year’s Cranberry CUP beneficiary, Long said she was sighing with relief.
“It has been a huge help,” she said. “When they told me I was chosen, I felt the whole weight of the world lift off my shoulders.”
Not that she didn't already have a lot of support at home.
To help his family, Ricky, a sophomore at Seneca Valley and JROTC member, recently began to pick up shifts at the local Burger King.
On days when their mother was sick from chemo treatments, the Long kids helped with cooking dinner and cleaning the house. Sometimes, when she couldn’t move without help, Long said Ricky would carry her from the bed to the couch.
“They’ve been there every step of the way,” Long said. “You have no idea what these kids have done. They’ve been amazing.”
Long said she will have a CAT scan May 10 to determine if the radiation treatments are working. If not, she will need to undergo more chemotherapy, she said.
“It’s been one heck of a road, I’ll tell you that,” she said.
To learn more about Long, and how you can donate to the Cranberry CUP, click here.
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