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Paying it Forward

When Richard Measner drives hundreds of miles from home to receive another round of grueling cancer treatment later this year, he’ll be doing so in his new 2010 Kia Forte.
Interestingly, it is his close connection with cancer that ultimately put Measner behind the wheel of his new ride.
Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2009, the Jonesborough resident won the black sedan, valued at $16,985, by purchasing a $50 ticket for a raffle that was part of the American Cancer Society’s Run for the Roses fundraising campaign.
The Forte was donated by Steve and Ashley Grindstaff, owners of Grindstaff Kia in Johnson City. Approximately 600 raffle tickets were sold, bringing in an estimated $30,000 for the ACS.
Richard and his wife Malinda were at the Blue Plum Festival in Johnson City in June when they decided to buy a raffle ticket. While the idea of winning a new car was exciting, it was the worthy cause that ultimately had them forking over the cash.
“We’re not gamblers. We don’t even play the lottery,” Richard said. “We heard about it and just thought it was a good way to give to the (American) Cancer Society. We had a vested interest.”
Two months later, the couple was sitting at home when the phone rang and Richard learned he was the proud new owner of a Kia Forte.
“We’ve never won anything before,” Richard said. “We were kind of shocked. I didn’t know whether I should believe it.”
On Friday, seeing was believing for the Measners as they arrived at Grindstaff Kia to pick up their new vehicle.
“This is just so unreal,” Malinda said while sitting in the passenger seat of the car. “It’s such a blessing.”
Earlier this year, Richard underwent his first phase of cancer treatment at the Veterans’ Administration Medical Center at Mountain Home. In four to six weeks, he’ll be heading to either Nashville or Houston to begin his second phase of treatment, which likely will include a stem cell transplant as well as high-dose chemotherapy.
“When I sat down with the Measners and he told me he was undergoing these treatments, I was shocked,” said ACS Representative Cara Ledbetter. “They are so deserving and they need it. It will be a good, reliable vehicle to get them back and forth to treatments.”
While raffle tickets could be purchased by anyone — not just someone who has or had cancer — Ashley Grindstaff said she couldn’t be happier to see a survivor win the car.
“It was just a wave of emotion when I found out,” she said. “It’s amazing the way things come full circle. It’s a godsend.”
The Measners plan to give their old car, a 2000 Chevy Cavalier with well over 100,000 miles on it and no air conditioning, to their daughter-in-law, who is living alone in Fort Campbell, Ky., without transportation while her husband — the Measners’ son — is deployed in Afghanistan.
“It’s like paying it forward,” Ledbetter said. “One good act of kindness by Steve and Ashley Grindstaff and, from that, so many great things can happen.”