Phillip Fulmer and Student Athletes Visit Cancer Patients

Posted on May 7, 2018
Coach Fulmer and student athletes visit cancer patients at Thompson Cancer Survival Center.
Pictured from left to right: Evina Westbrook, Rebecca Dotson, Phillip Fulmer, Todd Kelly Jr.

University of Tennessee Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer and student athletes Evina Westbrook and Todd Kelly Jr., recently partnered with 818 Ministries to make a special visit to Thompson Cancer Survival Center (TCSC) patients.  

“It means a lot to us to be able to meet patients and their family members. One of our four pillars in our athletic department is ‘warmth’ – our coaches and athletes care about each other and the community we live in,” said Coach Fulmer.

Founded by Covenant Health employee Rebecca Dotson, 818 Ministries is a local nonprofit that delivers handmade hats and letters of encouragement to cancer patients.

“As a UT alum, I’m super excited to be here today with Coach Fulmer and the student athletes,” said Dotson. “I started this ministry after watching my mom go through a cancer diagnosis, and it’s heart-warming to be able to give back to patients in hospitals across the country.”

In addition to giving out hats and letters, Coach Fulmer and the student athletes signed autographs, posed for photos, and visited with patients and their family members. Their time was a bright spot in a long day of chemotherapy and radiation treatment for many patients. 

TCSC patient Olivia Russell holds a football autographed by Coach Phillip Fulmer.

“Coach Fulmer and the athletes really took an interest in me. We had a good conversation about school and work. I told them it’s funny how things work out. I’ve received such great treatment here that I’m considering becoming an oncology nurse myself,” said Olivia Russell, a current Thompson patient and UT nursing student. 

Phillip Fulmer has a record of being a successful football coach, and his greatest legacy may be giving back to the community where he works and lives. According to Fulmer, outreach initiatives like this are important. “We’re part of this community, and if we can give back or make people going through a tough time feel better, then that is what we should do.”


About Us

Thompson Cancer Survival Center is a proud member of Covenant Health’s Thompson Cancer Network, which offers more imaging centers, more board certified physicians and surgeons, and more cancer and radiation centers than anyone else in our region. With access to the latest technology and most advanced treatment methods, we use a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to guide patients through their cancer journey.