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Friend Nicole Runion holds fundraiser for cancer-survivor Krista Walker and the crowd kept coming

By Andy Furman
NKyTribune reporter

She got lucky – not once, but twice.

Krista Walker rang the bell January 9th – after some 20 radiation treatments for breast cancer – she rang the bell prompting Cancer Free at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Ft. Thomas.

Krista Walker

Krista was one of the lucky ones.

Very lucky.

In fact, she admitted she had never had a mammogram prior, but her doctor found a lump and the radiation process started.

And now the process of friendship continues.

Krista – and husband Gary Jeff Walker of 700-WLW Radio fame – both work part/time at Huddles Café (628 Monmouth Street) in Newport.

Nicole Runion is a patron – a friend – and now you can call the 2001 graduate of Newport High School, well, an “angel.”

Runion organized a fundraiser for Kristen to help off-set medical bills, Saturday at Huddles.

“Kristen is a very good friend of mine,” Runion told the Northern Kentucky Tribune, “We usually hang out almost every weekend together. I just wanted to do something nice. I wanted to show her she is not alone, and more importantly – loved.”

So, from 1 p.m. to about 7 p.m. Saturday, Huddles served as Ground Zero for the Kristen Walker Fund Raiser.

Krista and her friend Nicole

“It was free and open to the public, and I really wasn’t sure exactly how many people we’d expect, but I knew Gary Jeff hyped it on the radio.”

Gary Jeff Walker hosts a Saturday morning show – The Saturday Morning Edition – 5-9 a.m. on 700-WLW.

“I was blown away by the response,” Krista said, “In fact, I’m almost speechless by the amount of compassion and love that was shown.”

The crowd just kept coming in, noted hubby Gary Jeff. “What was supposed to be a local little fundraiser,” he said, “turned into a community-wide event. We – Krista and I – could never say enough thank-you’s to everyone.”

Runion organized raffles, split-the-pot and prizes at the bar, and, of course accepted cash donations.

And for talent, she said Gary Jeff and guitarist/friend Chris Goins performed in the afternoon. “Yup,” he’s (Gary Jeff) a singer,” Runion said.

“I waited a real long time to see Kristen ring that bell,” Gary Jeff, a resident of Southgate said.

And Krista, besides bell-ringing managed to make her own noise.

“I’ve been as giddy as a school girl since that day,” she said. “Those radiation treatments were done in Ft. Thomas.”

Those 20 treatments lasted five to 10 minutes during the week, she said. “And the surgery,” she said, “was at St. Elizabeth, Edgewood.”

Krista Walker has two things to carry with her the rest of her life.

First – she’s cancer free.

Next – she has a friend in Nicole Runion.

A friend that many people would cherish.

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