Medora festival raises funds for cancer patients

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MEDORA – Walking into Medora on Saturday, it would have been hard not to find your way to the HOPE Medora Goes Pink breast cancer awareness event.

Signs along the main roads leading into the city were adorned with pink ribbons, pink pool noodles tied to resemble ribbons and pink wreaths pointing the way to the festive sprawl in the middle of the small town’s downtown area. .

From the State Bank of Medora to the school buildings in Medora and up to building 237 of the Christian Church in Medora, people could be found on the streets eating, listening to music, gathering and hanging out. speak to each other on behalf of cancer awareness.

This year’s event marked the 12th year of HOPE Medora Goes Pink, which features vendors, crafts, physicals, games, music, 5K, car show, silent auction and much Moreover. It was a different story a year ago when the 2020 edition was canceled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The theme of this year’s event was ‘A Bridge of Hope’, which is in part a tribute to the historic Medora Covered Bridge. This bridge, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is the longest historic covered bridge in the country.

Proceeds from the festival will be used to send a letter of encouragement, a $ 50 gas card and a $ 50 grocery card to people battling all types of cancer.

One of the day’s activities included a bra decorating contest. People have added their own artistic touch to the bras to get people to vote. The top three winners won gas cards.

Jackie Snowden from Vallonia worked at the table where people could vote for their favorite bra.

She said it was a fun activity to support HOPE Medora Goes Pink, and the contest allows more people to understand what breast cancer patients might have to go through.

“It gives people a chance to get involved and understand how bad (breast cancer) really is,” Snowden said.

HOPE Medora Goes Pink was co-founded by Debi Wayman and her daughter, Deven Wayman-Shirley, a dozen years ago.

Wayman said she came up with the idea for the event in 2009 after being inspired after a day at church.

A few years earlier, Wayman’s mother had died of breast cancer that had spread to the lungs, ovaries and liver.

“I was standing in front of the church and I saw a woman come in with her daughter and I thought, ‘She lost her mother. I know how she feels, ”she said. “I honestly heard audible words in my head saying ‘Do something’.”

Two people from each of the five churches in Medora helped come up with ideas with the Waymans on how to raise funds to help those battling cancer.

“We wanted to (provide) a gift that could be used for anything they need, be it gas or groceries or maybe they just feel good enough to have a voucher. dine with a loved one before they die and not have to pay for it, ”she said.

Since the first HOPE Medora Goes Pink in 2010, $ 180,500 has been raised and donated to cancer patients in all states.

“It was so wonderfully received and touched so many lives,” Wayman said.

Even though the word “pink” is in the name of the event, Wayman said early on, it was meant to be inclusive for people with all types of cancer.

She said the festival was originally focused on breast cancer because of the disease’s major impact on her life.

After the first events, the slogan “Supporting people affected by all types of cancer” was added to the event.

“Sometimes when people go through cancer it’s lonely and uncertain and they see everyone’s life going normally and feel a bit left behind,” she said. “That’s it for them. It’s all about them.

Jackie Garmon from Freetown had set up a booth so that people could participate in a drawing to win an autographed guitar or cooler. Profits from the raffle were donated to her 12-year-old great-granddaughter, who is battling leukemia.

She said she thought the festival had a good turnout and had done a good job of raising awareness about all kinds of cancers.

A five-year-old girl Wayman knew was selling cookies and lemonade to help with the effort.

When Wayman asked the girl why she was doing all of this, she said, “I just thought of a little girl with no hair.”

The key to the festival’s success, Wayman said, is getting people involved and having volunteers, like Brian Bowers of Salem. He spent the day taking the children for rides in a drum barrel train.

She said she knew Bowers’ reasons for helping.

“It’s because his family got cancer,” Wayman said. “He knows the effects of cancer and he wants to be one of those kids who are having a good day. “

As the event raises thousands of dollars for cancer patients, Wayman said she judged the festival’s success by people’s enthusiasm for helping others.

“I don’t judge success by numbers,” she said. “Success is doing your best, trying to prepare something and bringing people together and doing (something) right.”

Wayman said she hopes people come to the festival to hang out, share an experience and make memories.

“There are treatments, there are surgeries and there are always new drugs on the horizon, so there is hope,” Wayman said.


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