'Paint Knott Pink' does more than meet the eye

Published: Oct. 21, 2019 at 6:35 PM EDT
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As Breast Cancer Awareness month continues, counties across Eastern Kentucky are showing their support. Whether it be a 5k walk, run, football game or a pink bow, Knott County's 'Paint Knott Pink' would do more than meets the eye.

Throughout the city of Hindman, you can see sprinkles of pink everywhere. Relay for Life encouraged residents and businesses to participate by decorating their homes and building with anything pink.

Karen Sandlin, a committee member for Relay for Life as well as an employee of Knott County Board of Education, knew it was crucial that she joins in.

"Another captain from another team also works here and we kind of came to each others office and we're like we really need to do this," said Sandlin.

"My mother had breast cancer." Her mother had her normal mammogram just four months prior. "So when they found it, it was just pretty overwhelming."

Never quite knowing the outcome, her family found comfort in being somewhat prepared.

"I have maternal aunts and cousins who had just went through breast cancer treatment," she said.

"Anytime you hear the word cancer it scares you."

But Sandlin's mother was not the only reason. "Our leader has fought the battle and so far won the battle."

That leader? Superintendent of Knott County Schools Kim King. King has been battling cancer for more than 10 years.

"I've been a breast cancer survivor for 12 years and I've worked for the Board of Education for Knott County the entire 12 years and I've had absolutely the best support," said King. "From the students, the staff, support staff, the cooks...they've had t-shirts that said we wear pink for our superintendent."

Each Knott County school gave a fifty dollar donation and bought boxes that display her name and heartfelt encouragement to display in her honor.

"When you first find out you have cancer it's a very scary thing," said King.

And just five years ago she was diagnosed with Metastatic cancer from her breast cancer. Metastatic cancer affects the liver, back, tissues or organs spreading to distant parts of the body. For many types of cancer, this is called stage four cancer.

"But I'm doing really well," said King.

Still fighting while being a light of hope to those around her. And how does she do it?

"I would recommend getting people that support you, stay around you. Don't give up. Just keep fighting."

Other businesses that participated in 'Paint Knott Pink' are the June Buchanan Medical Clinic, Patriot's Dairy Bar, Hindman Floral & Gift, and Knott County Health Department.