Taste of hope

by: Greg Broy

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American Cancer Society

Young Professionals for the American Cancer Society (YPACS) will honor three Memphians during their Taste of Hope event at 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 30 at the Children’s Museum of Memphis (2525 Central).
Taste of Hope brings together Mid-South chefs and food connoisseurs to celebrate progress in the fight against cancer and help raise funds to continue the Society’s life-saving mission. Tickets are $65 at the door and dress for the evening is casual cocktail. For ticket information, visit MemphisYPACS.com or call Jenael Ignat at 901-725-8632.
The 2018 Taste of Hope honorees are:
– Luke Berry, managing director at Collier Insurance;
– Erica Plybeah Hemphill, founder of MedHaul;
– Eric McMahon, mascot for the Memphis Grizzlies and owner of Total Fitness Kickboxing.
The evening activities will include tasting stations with Alchemy; Ben & Jerry’s; Chef Almetria Turner, “The Healthy Budgetnista with Fit and Finally Free”; Chef Phillip Dewayne; Churrasco; Eat At Eric’s Grill & Catering; Fresh Gulf Shrimp; LUNCHBOXeats; Memphis Mojo Café; MEMPopS; Moe’s; Muddy’s Bake Shop; Patrick’s Neighborhood Bar & Patio; and The Half Shell Restaurant.

Sponsors of the Taste of Hope are Horseshoe Tunica and Tunica Roadhouse, Gastro One, Baptist Memorial Health Care, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, and Premier Flowers.

Each of the three honorees has a personal connection to cancer.

Berry’s father, Sean, was 47 years old when he died after an almost seven-year cancer journey. Berry shared, “My father fueled my fire for what I do, because he probably helped more people in the seven years he was sick. He’d be on the phone at 2 a.m. with people who had a similar disease, telling them how to have an upbeat attitude.” Berry said he wants to bring more attention to caregivers, specifically citing how the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge in Memphis helps to give cancer patients in treatment “a fighting chance” with free lodging for them and a caregiver.

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Plybeah Hemphill founded a company to ease the burden of managing patient transportation. She explained growing up in a poor Mississippi Delta community helped her to understand some of what impacts patient health, such as access to healthy food or the ability to read one’s prescriptions.
“What we do outside the four walls of the hospital is more important than what we do inside the four walls,” she said. “If you provide world-class treatment, it doesn’t matter if they can’t get there.” Her company, MedHaul, is creating a transportation network of providers for patients, including those with cancer and other severe chronic diseases.
McMahon recently hit the 10-year mark of being cancer free. McMahon, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, nearly died from an infection that caused his organs to shut down. “Lucky for me I come from a family of fighters and they’ve instilled it in me. My family never let negativity creep in, even when I had a 30 percent chance to live through the weekend.”
The Memphis Grizzlies supported McMahon by keeping his Grizz mascot role open while he was treated near his mother’s Arizona home. Ten years later, McMahon said he’s grateful for the experience. “Life is about the journey, not about the destination, and the journey has taught me so much about how to look at situations, and who and what to really value in my life.”
Proceeds from the Taste of Hope benefit the programs and services of the American Cancer Society, including research, patient support, prevention information and education. For cancer information or to get help 24/7, call   1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.

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