A local couple, Gigi and Hal Gerhardt, have teamed up with local businesses to hold a raffle drawing on November 1 to raise money for their daughter, Deanna Raymond, who is currently battling a rare type of breast cancer.
Deanna was first diagnosed with Triple Negative breast cancer, a rare condition, three years ago at age 29.
“She went through a double mastectomy, radiation, and chemo,” said Deanna’s mother Gigi. “Even after all that, it’s back again. She has Stage Four Cancer.”
According to the Gerhardts, they want to do everything they can to ease the financial burden battling cancer brings.
“Insurance doesn’t always cover everything, and traveling up to Athens two to three times a week for treatments, scans and emergency visits adds up,” said Gigi.
The Gerhardts hope the community can be inspired by Deanna’s courage and positive attitude as she fights day in and out for her life.
“She’s an incredible girl. She is very sweet, very outgoing and a really good little fighter,” said Gigi. “If you see her you would not know she has breast cancer. She hides all her pain. People are amazed. She always has a smile on her face.”
But Deanna journey has taken a toll on her and her family.
“It’s been rough,” said Gigi. “As a mother, this is the hardest thing to go through knowing you can’t cure your child.”
Deanna is currently undergoing an experimental immunotherapy treatment after chemotherapy failed to take.
“She is undergoing her seventh week of treatment…It’s been a struggle, but we try to do everything we can to ease her pain and prolong her years with us,” said Gigi.
The Gerhardts are raffling off gift certificates from Hard Labor Creek Golf Course, Amici’s Italian Café, Chophouse and Madison Produce. Gussies Flowers has donated pink flowers to Gigi’s Hair Salon and sends flowers to Deanna regularly, too. “ I love them. They are like family to us,” said Gigi. “These business were very generous to give us gift certificates to raffle off, “ said GiGi, who has raised $200 so far in ticket sales. To purchase raffle tickets, stop by GiGi’s Hair Salon, located at 132 West Jefferson Street in Madison. Tickets to win a golf package for four from Hard Labor Creek are being sold for $5 each. All the tickets to win restaurant gift certificates are being sold for $1 each.
“I feel sorry for anybody who is in the same situation that we are in because it is heart-wrenching,” said Gigi. “I hope our story helps raise awareness about breast cancer.”