Locals Helping Locals

Freestone Cancer Support Group Puts Local Patients First


Payton Botelho

Board members and volunteers of the Freestone County Cancer Support Group. Board members are Spain Trask, Diana Lewis, Janet Bulger, Jane Morrison, John Fry, and Bettye Trask.

Kylie Story and Jerry Draper

Small towns have a reputation for friendship, compassion, and loyalty. Freestone Cancer Support Group embodies that image.

Since 2012, the support group, whose motto is “we are locals helping locals,”  have given over $356,511 to 540 Freestone County cancer patients. 

“I was diagnosed with colon cancer in April of 2022 and as soon as they heard about my diagnosis, they reached out to ask if I needed help,” local recipient Vicki Stephenson. “It is so frightening when you first learn you have cancer. You have so many questions and there are so many unknowns; but to have a group of people willing to walk alongside you, to provide encouragement and support, there are simply no words to express how much that truly means.” 

Freestone Cancer Support Group was part of American Cancer Society for 13 years. During that time, they raised well over $1,000,000 in fundraisers such as Relay for Life. 

“In 2012 we decided to pull away from the ACS and help our cancer patients in Freestone County,” board member Janet Bulger said. “We realized local cancer patients needed help getting to and from treatments, food when traveling to treatments, etc.” 

As evidence of their compassion and generosity, the support group has given $33,400 in 2020, $29,150 in 2021, and $37,700 in 2022.

“Whenever a need arises, they are there to provide support,” Stephenson said. “They have helped my family in so many ways. They have provided financial support, they have encouraged me, and they have prayed for me ever since I was first diagnosed in April of 2022. Throughout the course of my  treatments, they have helped us pay for food and gas while traveling back and forth to Waco multiple times a week for doctors’ appointments, blood work and chemo treatments. With all the other financial burdens that come with treating cancer, we are so grateful that the Freestone Cancer Support Group alleviates the financial burden of traveling to Waco for treatment.”

They have two major fundraisers including a fall Meal-to-go and a Spring Style Show. These major fundraisers provide the source of the monetary donations. 

“Anything we buy for ourselves, such as Freestone County Support Group t-shirts, the volunteers pay for themselves,” Bulger said. “The only thing the monies raised for the FCSG go to are postage stamps, notecards, stationary needs, and care gifts to Freestone County cancer patients.”

Due to venue issues this year, the support group will not have the style show; however, they have planned a go-to meal as a fundraiser in April.

“We do not take a fee, like GoFundMe,” Bulger said. “If someone gives $5,000, the patients get $5,000 immediately.

Present Board members are Spain Trask, Diana Lewis, Janet Bulger, Jane Morrison, John Fry, and Bettye Trask. Original board members were Spain Trask, Diana Lewis, Janet Bulger, Jane Morrison, Becky Stephenson. Everyone on the committee are volunteers. 

“The financial support provided by the Freestone Cancer Support Group has been significant in our lives,” Stephenson said. “What an amazing group of people, to walk alongside and care so well for people they have not yet met. It eases a burden that is hard to express and has impacted my life in such a significant way.”

Those wanting to support this group can find more information at fcsginc.org. 

“The impact that they have made in my own life is huge and I know several other people in Fairfield alone that benefit from the support and care provided by the Freestone Cancer Support Group,” Stephenson said. “I cannot even begin to imagine the impact they are having in the lives of so many people in our community and throughout the county but based on my own personal experiences, I know they have made this difficult journey a whole lot easier.”