'Taste of Hamilton Place' a success - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

'Taste of Hamilton Place' a success

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HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB)- For the third year running, dozens came for the 'Taste of Hamilton Place,' offering their support and donations.

It is an event that grows bigger and bigger every year. Taste of Hamilton Place brings out area restaurants showcasing their best cuisine and it is all for the kids.

"We have about 50 children who are diagnosed with cancer right here in this community every year. Ninety-five percent of those kids will stay right here in Chattanooga for all of their treatment," says Betsy Taylor, President of The Children's Hospital Foundation.

Mattie Ballentine is one of those kids. She was diagnosed with Leukemia in October of 2009. Her family turned to Children's Hospital at Erlanger.

"We chose to stay in Chattanooga for treatment and it did not disrupt us, didn't have to move to Memphis or anything," says Luanne Ballentine, Mattie's Mom.

Besides being able to stay close to home, she says the hospital provides so much for families touched by illness.

"We wouldn't have chose this path but if you have to be there, we're very proud of the hospital, the oncology," says Ballentine.

"It's not really about healthcare. It's about enabling a child to grow up, to go to school to be what they wanted to be when they grow up," says Taylor.

And for families like the Ballentines, seeing local businesses and people come out and give their time and money means so much.

"The support, I guess, is the big thing. It's great to see the support and that people care about the kids," says Ballentine.

"We always try to get involved with the community. And just be part of the right thing. And I definitely believe that this is that," says Chef Jean-Paul Mendes with P.F. Chang's.

And coming from Mattie, who is a little camera shy, her gratitude can be summed up in four simple words: "Thanks for coming out."

There is not a final count yet on how many turned out, or how much was raised but organizers are calling it a success.

All money raised will benefit Pediatric Cancer Services at Children's Hospital Erlanger.

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