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Paula Deen surprises Brantley resident

Who says that famous people we see every day on TV don’t “connect” with the “everyday” folks?

June Jones of Brantley certainly knows differently.

Jones has not had it easy these last few months, to say the least. She was diagnosed with renal carcinoma, or kidney cancer, in June 2008.

On Aug. 6, she had surgery at UAB and still has the use of her left kidney.

Jones continued to improve and even began aquatic aerobics in Troy for a while. However, in February of this year, she was told the renal carcinoma had spread to both of her lungs.

“I began taking a large quantity of the chemo treatments, and I’ve had some success with it,” she said.

But Jones has to deal with the harsh side effects of chemotherapy, including hair loss and a rash all over her body.

“The nausea, the severe fatigue—it has been really bad,” she said, “and I have these boil-like places that have to be lanced, and they’re very painful.”

“Some days are better than others; I have so many friends, family and

co-workers who have supported me,” Jones said. “You really realize who your friends are when you get in a time of need like this.”

And it was a dear friend who got the idea to both surprise Jones as well as lift her spirits recently.

“When I retired in 2006, my co-workers gave me a surprise trip to attend a Paula Deen cooking class in Savannah, Ga., because they know how much I love Paula Deen,” she explained. “Well, it seems that one of my dearest co-workers, Melissa Stinson, contacted Paula Deen Enterprises and explained my situation to them—she asked if they could get Paula Deen to sign a get-well card to lift my spirits…she was told that they’d have to wait until Paula got back into town to sign the card, so she thought that was the end of that.”

But much to everyone’s surprise, Jones soon received a big box filled with surprises from the famous cooking diva.

“Inside the box was an autographed copy of her latest cookbook, The Deen Family Cookbook, a pink Paula Deen hat, a pink tote bag, a green

Lady & Sons T-shirt, which is her restaurant in Savannah, Ga., a can of

Paula Deen peanuts, an autographed photo of her, and an autographed photo of Paula and her sons, Jamie and Bobby,” an excited Jones said.

“But that’s not all—there was also a handwritten note on her personal stationary that said, “Hope you feel better soon, June. God bless you, Paula Deen.”

“This just meant so much to me, something like this to lift my spirits,” she said. “And I just want to say thank you to all my family and friends who have been by me throughout these last several months.”

“We need to remember that we are not alone when we go through something like this as long as we have family and friends—I’m so fortunate,” she said.