Club holds drive-thru pizza party for cancer survivors

By SCOTT MIMS / Staff Writer 

COLUMBIANA — Members of the Novella Club of Columbiana literally had a heart for cancer survivors this year, as on Sept. 28, club members gave a heart-shaped pizza to survivors in lieu of the club’s annual Cancer Survivor Dinner.

The dinner is normally held indoors with a well-known speaker and a musical guest, but this year, due to COVID-19, club members opted for a drive-thru-style ceremony under the portico of First Baptist Church of Columbiana.

“This year because of the COVID outbreak, we are pinned down and we can’t do anything like that, but we didn’t want those cancer survivors, our friends that we’ve been seeing year after year after year, (to be forgotten),” said Novella Club Vice President Bonnie Atchison. “This time we thought we would do a drive-thru birthday party.”

The heart-shaped pizzas were donated by Kevin Walkup with Papa Murphy’s Pizza, and nearly 50 survivors lined up to participate. Small tubs of chocolate chip cookie dough also were donated.

Club members handed out the food from a safe distance by placing it in the trunk or through the car window. Each survivor received curbside service and a goody bag.

“In the goody bag was little trinkets, masks and bottles of hand sanitizer and things that they could use, plus little bits of candy,” Atchison said. “They were thrilled absolutely to death. They just mean the world to all of us.”

Each cancer survivor received a note that read, “Thank you for coming to our 2020 Survivor Dinner. So glad you are here! This is what you may call our ‘Make Do Birthday Party.’ God willing, we will be back next year. You continue to be in our hearts and prayers.”

Each year, the club asks local churches of all denominations for the names of cancer survivors, and a dinner invitation is sent out to each person on the list.

Members of the Novella Club of Columbiana are Bonnie Atchison, Sherry Atkinson, Chestine Carden, Angie Driskell, Lynn Horton, Pam Johnson, Sallie Lawshe, Stacy Walkup, Dedra Cahela, Gayle Watts, Christy Mullins and Agnes Poole.