KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - What started as a community fundraiser for Laura Lane Fletcher turned into support from around the country.
"I was just diagnosed for the third time in six years with recurrent cervical cancer. I'm facing a pretty major surgery April 30, life changing surgery."
To help Fletcher and her family, Charity Lane started what she thought would be a small fundraiser selling t-shirts and wristbands with the phrases "Team Laura" and "Fight Like a Girl" on the merchandise.
"She could be in the hospital for up to a month. She's going to have chemo afterwards so we knew that the bills were going to start adding up really quickly," Lane said.
"When I decided I was going to do this t-shirt project I thought we would sell 100 t-shirts and we would order about 250."
Lane underestimated. Thanks to social media, just a few weeks into the fundraiser she has taken orders for about 700 shirts from people in 11 states.
"Almost all the orders came from Facebook, people from all over the country wanting me to mail shirts to them. We've mailed shirts to Louisiana, Texas, Florida, California and Georgia."
Lane says in addition to wanting to help Laura, she noticed she was filling a void.
"This is our third battle with cancer and everytime we've been struck by how few items we can find with the teal and white. The idea was to get some teal and white out there, to get some awareness for cervical cancer."
The American Cancer Society website, cancer.org, lists the pink ribbon lapel pin as the symbol to increase awareness about breast cancer. The website does not list a ribbon for cervical cancer, but a Google search for "teal and white cervical cancer" revealed several online stores that sell teal and white "cancer awareness" merchandise.
Fletcher grew up in Senath, lives in Leachville and works in Blytheville. She said she is overwhelmed by the response to the project from those communities and everywhere else.
"It makes you feel very loved and very supported and it makes it all just a little bit easier to go through."
The t-shirts cost $15. The wristbands cost $2.
The wristbands are available for purchase at several locations throughout Dunklin and Mississippi counties.
For more information email Charity Lane at email@example.com.