Curry Foundation ensures woman with tumor, family have merry Christmas

rheaton@beaufortgazette.comDecember 22, 2011 

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When Alison Viens learned she'd received money to help pay for her children's Christmas gifts, she shouted with joy.

"I was blown away. I was screaming at the top of my lungs like I was crazy," she said. "It was more than I could ever dream of."

She took the money, about $750 donated by the Curry Foundation, and bought her three children the gifts they "had wanted forever."

It's important to Viens that this Christmas be something to remember. She's not sure what next Christmas has in store for her.

Viens has a brain tumor. She's had one before. In 2005, she had surgery to remove it.

But it came back in the same spot, an occurrence Viens said is common with pilocytic astocytoma tumors. She recently finished radiation treatments -- five days a week for a month -- in Atlanta.

That was difficult because it meant being away from her family, she said.

Viens and her husband Joe have three children: Bailey, 17, Linleigh, 13, and Dylan, 9. They're a tight-knit family that attends and participates in many sporting events, including youth baseball, softball and Bluffton High School football games.

The tumor has left her unable to work, though she volunteers when she can at The Church of the Cross God's Goods thrift store.

This time next year, Viens said, she might be recovering from another brain surgery. Or she could be completely healed.

"Every day is an unknown day," she said. "You wake up and thank God that you're here. But you don't know what kind of day you'll have next."

The Curry Foundation heard about Viens by word-of-mouth. Thomas Curry Jr. founded the charity when his friend was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in 2009.

Curry, who has met many people fighting diseases, said Viens has one of the most positive attitudes he's ever come across.

"I've never met anyone as strong as Mrs. Viens," he said, adding that when he first offered her family help, she tried to turn it down. They still had a home and food on the table, she said.

"That's the type of person our foundation wants to help -- the people that aren't looking for handouts, but the good, hardworking people who need the help," Curry said.

The foundation typically helps families pay bills and other expenses in times of illness. The Viens family is the sixth family they've helped.

The money for Christmas isn't something they normally do, Curry said, but he wanted to make sure the family's Christmas was special.

"I can't tell you how many emails I've received from her saying it will be the best Christmas they've ever had," Curry said.

Follow reporter Rachel Heaton at

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