#FinleyStrong: Saturday event to benefit family with child with leukemia

Published 2:19 pm Tuesday, October 17, 2023

By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

Finley Jo Gunter just celebrated her second birthday.

Born with two holes in her heart, she has now been diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.

All through her journey, parents Austin and Courtney Gunter of Mocksville have been surrounded by love and support from family, friends and even strangers.

That support will continue on Saturday with a fundraiser at Gunter’s Family Kitchen of Mocksville, at S. Salisbury and S. Main streets. Starting at 3 p.m., there will be door prizes, raffles, a 50-50 drawing, a silent auction, and inflatable house for the children and more.

The JB Walker Band is scheduled to play from 5-7 p.m. And barbecue pork and pit cooked chicken plates will be available. All monies go to the Gunter family.

“We are so very blessed and thankful for our village behind us,” Courtney said on a Facebook post. “We can’t say thank you enough from the bottom of our hearts.

“People have reached out in concern and that they are praying for us and we thank you. People have also reached out regarding if they can help for food, gas, or etc.

“We will keep you updated as much as possible through our journey because we hope we can encourage others going through what we are,” she said. “We know Finley is going to have a huge testimony.”

That faith in Christ is helping to keep the family going.

Getting the initial news was “kind of devastating,” Austin said. “We’re Christian people. We believe in God. We trust Him. He doesn’t allow more than we can handle to happen to us.”

He looks at other families. Some aren’t as fortunate as they are, Austin said.

“We are going through a tough situation, but there are folks out there who have it a lot harder. My kid is able to get up, walk around and play. Some kids can’t even be kids.”

He has been honored and humbled by the support.

Out of the blue, Bird & Co. designed, printed and sold t-shirts on their behalf. A skeet shoot was held to raise money at Hunting Creek Preserve, and a benefit motorcycle ride was held.

His daughter, he said, is amazing.

“She’s just relentless. When most people get chemo, it drains their energy. We know that’s God keeping her.”

Austin said he is sometimes overwhelmed by the medical jargon, but that his wife understands it more – and therefore worries more.

“It’s been tough, but I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else. I need her just as much as she needs me,” he said.