Amber’s tragic but inspiring story seemed to close its final chapter on July 28, 2015, when the Statesville mother of three lost her battle with neuroendocrine carcinoma cervical cancer at 27 years old.
But her family refused to let her death be the end and instead chose to honor her memory by creating an organization to help others.
This year our charity is sponsoring two local families and we are asking for any help you can provide. If you would like to donate your time, money, or even something we can use as one of our silent auction items please reach out to us. Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated!
Amber Davis Drive for a Cure's goal is to expand the charity each year, so that it may
help a new family with each event.
Families struggling with cancer in Iredell County can submit applications to Dan Scott at:
physical address: 197 Paradise Peninsula Road in Mooresville, North Carolina 28117
Applications to request sponsorship by Drive for a Cure for cancer afflicted families are available by clicking here.
Kelly Stutts was diagnosed with cervical cancer in August 2006. Instead of radiation, she opted for a complete hysterectomy.
But in November 2016, after a decade of being cancer-free, Kelly was diagnosed with an aggressive, rare form of breast cancer.
Kelly, 57, said her second battle with cancer isn’t connected to the first, but the doctor informed her she had a genetic marker that meant if the breast cancer ever returns, it will resurface in another organ like the lungs or brain.
Following chemotherapy treatments over a 15-week period, she experienced a rapid heartbeat during medical visits, prompting doctors to check for heart damage.
While no damage was found, her heart was strained so doctors decided to operate. The cancer is only present in one breast, but Kelly opted to have a double mastectomy due to the risk of it spreading.
Until being forced to take medical leave in December, Kelly was a data coordinator for Children’s Hope Alliance.
She has exhausted her allowance under the Family Medical Leave Act and the paid hours donated by her co-workers, she said. She plans to file for disability.
Recovery from the mastectomy will take two to three months, she said. She will take a chemotherapy drug for a year and undergo five weeks of radiation therapy to guarantee remaining cancer cells are eliminated.
And she plans to have reconstructive surgery in early 2018.
The family of Pamela Parks was one of two chosen as beneficiaries of the Amber Davis Drive for a Cure this year.
Pamela Parks is familiar with cancer striking at what should be life’s happiest moments.
She was diagnosed first with breast cancer in April 2014, a month before her youngest son Jared was married.
She won the first round. A scan in May 2016 declared her completely clear.
The following summer, Pamela had a cough she couldn’t get rid of and her primary physician started treating her for asthma.
Her hip gave out and her knee hurt, but she dismissed it as pains from walking the family’s black labrador retriever, Winchester.
Finally, her lip and lower teeth went numb, but physicians thought it was a reaction to her asthma inhaler.
“We went on a family vacation the last week of July, and that week I knew,” Pamela said. “One night (my husband) found me crying and I said ‘My cancer’s back.’”
“You just had a scan in May,” said John Parks, Pamela’s husband. “It’s not back, you’re fine. Don’t think that way.”
Pamela went to urgent care after they returned from vacation. Based on her symptoms, the doctor thought she had a stroke and started running diagnostic scans.
“She came back in and she said ‘You didn’t have a stroke, but you’re eaten up with cancer,’” Pamela said.
Her cancer returned in the form of tumors along the nerves behind her ears, the lining of her skull, the top and bottom of her spinal column, both hips and lungs.
Doctors told Pamela she would live two to three months without chemotherapy, and six with it. Blood clots in her lungs hospitalized her in December.
Pamela now undergoes a chemotherapy combination every 21 days, including a three-hour IV and eight pills that she takes at home for the 10 days.
Her family says her health is improving.
Pamela said doctors, despite being shocked that two tumors are gone, believe chemotherapy is what keeps her alive, but from the beginning she has asked God to “show himself mighty.”
And he has, she said.
Pamela says her cancer returned just as she and John were starting the next chapter of their lives. They were still paying off the bills from her first diagnosis. Their savings are drained.
John obtained a new job in Sylva, and Pamela, a teacher at North Iredell Middle for 11 years, was transitioning to a teaching position at Blue Ridge Elementary School in Cashiers.
“I was going to have a total of 23 kids and life was changing big time,” Pamela said. “The day I was to report to Blue Ridge was the day I got my cancer diagnosis.”
The first time she underwent chemotherapy, Pamela continued working. She intended to do so again, but her strength wouldn’t allow it.
“Stage four hit me harder,” Pamela said.
Since they were already established in Statesville, the couple chose to remain here.
John commutes two-and-a-half hours to his job at Appalachian Funeral Services in Sylva where he works up to nine days before returning home for three or four days.
Pamela says she’s not ready to go; God still has plans for her. And she’s on the lookout for other cancer sufferers to pray together.
It’s that desire to help others that led Dan Scott to select her family as one of this year’s Amber Davis Drive for a Cure recipients, Scott said.
“If I’m able to help anybody going through anything, I’m able to get in that car and go,” Pamela said.
Pamela Parks and her husband, John Parks, have two sons, Jared and Justin, and a daughter, Jonna. The Parks have lived in Iredell for over 30 years.
Josh and Jessica Stroud live on Faith and Hope Lane in Troutman.
In May 2015, after months of experiencing double vision, Jessica, a mother of two, learned she had stage three anaplastic ependymoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer above her spine.
Amber Davis Drive for a Cure nominated Jessica for funding, legal help, counseling, and spiritual assistance.
Since her diagnosis, Jessica has gone through intense radiation therapy and surgeries, including laser interstitial thermal therapy, or LITT, which uses a heated beam to kill the tumor from the inside out.
Within four weeks of sponsorship, she received a total of 120 doses of radiation. She received six shots a day, five days a week and each dose took about 20 minutes.
While the tumor continues to grow slightly, doctors hope it is just a reaction to the intense rounds of cancer treatment she has received over the months.
The Strouds will continue receiving our support well into the future.