Marianne Gillespie

One of the best things about being a reporter/editor of a community newspaper is the opportunity to meet people you normally wouldn’t meet and see things you normally wouldn’t see.

One of the best things about being a reporter/editor of a community newspaper is the opportunity to meet people you normally wouldn’t meet and see things you normally wouldn’t see.

I interviewed Candace (Bennett) Dunbar on Thursday for a story in tomorrow’s paper. She was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer in November at the age of 31. As many of you have seen signs and posters all over town, there is a benefit for her from noon to 11 p.m. Saturday at Three Sisters Park.

I had never met Candace, but when we chatted briefly on the phone to set up the interview, one thing remained clear: she has an optimistic attitude. With her family around her in her living room, Candace shared her story, still with that pep in her voice I first heard on the phone.

Don’t get me wrong, she admitted it’s been hard for her and her family, especially when she was first diagnosed.

But that catchy upbeat attitude makes you want to cheer her on even more as she has many hurdles to get through this year.

She currently is going through chemotherapy after having a mastectomy, then faces reconstruction, radiation and a hysterectomy.

The support she’s received from the community already: meals for every night for the first six weeks after her surgery (organized by her co-workers at Chillicothe Veterinary Clinic) is amazing in itself. Enjoying the generosity of the community not only is Candace, but also her husband, Taylor, and two adorable little boys, Carson and Caiden.

As the weather gets warmer, the family is ready to leave the confines of their home. “We are waiting for boating season. We love to boat,” said Candace.

I asked her and Taylor how they met. They lived close to each other in Chillicothe, and his neighbor, Rob Semtner, said he knew who Taylor should ask out, IVC freshman Candace Bennett. “She’s a doll!” Taylor, who was a sophomore at the time, recalled Rob saying.

“The rest is history,” he said about the high-school sweethearts.

Something tells me that assessment of Candace still rings true today.