Computer Donated For Children of Patient With Advanced Cancer

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn., June 11, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Doctors diagnosed Melinda Smith with breast cancer in 2006. It has since spread to her bones, her brain and other parts of her body.

But don't tell Smith she has terminal cancer. It doesn't fit into her plans.

"I don't like to use the term terminal, because I don't plan on going anywhere anytime soon," Smith said during an appointment with her oncologist at The University of Tennessee Medical Center. "I just prefer to say that I have Stage IV cancer. I feel that a good attitude and a lot of humor can go a long way."

Smith exudes positive energy. But even with her optimism, she knows she's encountering limitations. Currently, the divorced mother of four drives her children to the public library frequently so they can do their schoolwork on computers. But due to declining health, that routine was in jeopardy.

"I've gotten to where I can't drive very well," Smith said. "It's getting harder and harder for me to get them to the library to use a computer."

Thanks to an anonymous donor, her concern is now alleviated. While Smith visited with staff members from the Chemotherapy Department at the medical center, two employees of the American Association for Cancer Support rolled in a cart with boxes containing a new computer, monitor, keyboard and mouse for Smith's children.

"This is just amazing," Smith said, as tears began to roll down her face. "I have to say, I've received gas cards several times from the hospital and without them I don't know how I would have made it home from treatment some times. We really need this and it will be so helpful for our family. Now my children can have their own computer to use at home."

Jula Connatser, president of the American Association for Cancer Support, said the needs of those facing cancer are quite varied. Connatser also gave Smith a box loaded with donated items including clothing and household supplies.

"A lot of people don't understand how much even a bottle of shampoo can mean to one family," Connatser said. "But for those in need, it makes a huge difference. It's very exciting to know that this computer will be so helpful to Melinda and her family."

Connatser said the anonymous donor who purchased Smith's computer is willing to donate a computer every month, if necessary, to help meet the needs of cancer patients and their families.

The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center, the region's only hospital to achieve status as a Magnet® recognized organization, is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center, a 581-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, serves as a referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. The medical center, the region's only Level I Trauma Center, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. For more information about The University of Tennessee Medical Center, visit online at

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CONTACT: Jim Ragonese Public Relations Operations The University of Tennessee Medical Center (865) 305-6845

Source:The University of Tennessee Medical Center