Chili dinner to benefit MHHS  critical care nurse battling cancer

As a nurse, Debbie Collins has taken care of many Lakeway Area residents at Morristown-Hamblen Healthcare System for 33 years.

Now, she needs your help.

Recently, Collins was diagnosed with Stage 3 lung cancer. She is facing mounting bills due to not being able to work. Debbie’s co-workers in the critical care department at MHHS are taking the charge to help her out.

Margie Guthrie, who worked with Debbie for 13 years before retiring after 50 years of service, has helped Debbie get to treatments. Debbie tried to drive herself but she couldn’t continue due to the side effects of treatment.

“She did one week of radiation and chemotherapy, but that really knocked her out,” Guthrie said. “The doctors decided that they should try the radiation first before continuing with her chemotherapy.”

The radiation treatments are ending next week with the chemo treatments starting after that, Guthrie said.

“I’m pleased that she’s got her fighting spirit back,” Guthrie said. “She was overwhelmed at first. You’ve got to have hope.”

A chili dinner will be held in her honor from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until the chili sells out, Saturday at the West Hamblen County Volunteer Fire Department on West Andrew Johnson Highway in Talbott. The meal will be carry out or drive through only due to COVID-19 restrictions. For a donation of $8, the chili dinner includes a bowl of chili, with or without beans, a drink and dessert. Chili toppings include choice of cheese, sour cream, chopped onions, jalapenos and rice.

Suzette Dyer, a coworker, has set up a Go Fund Me account for Debbie, which is she is managing. Checks can be made to Debbie Collins. Donations can be mailed to 4815 Old Kentucky Road, Morristown, TN 37814.