‘Walk’ organizers ‘Hope’ to add teams

‘Walk’ organizers ‘Hope’ to add teams

Posted: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 9:01 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

‘Walk’ organizers ‘Hope’ to add teams | ‘Walk’ organizers ‘Hope’ to add teams
By KEVIN BOWDEN
Staff Reporter
Obion County’s Home-town Walk of Hope is rapidly approaching and organizers are actively trying to recruit a few more teams to participate in the one-night event.
So far, only 23 teams have signed up for the June 4 event, according to Lorraine Gossett.
She and Brenda Perry are co-chairmen of the event. They have been co-chairmen of the event for the past 11 years, ever since the Hometown Walk of Hope started in Obion County.
During the past 11 years, the Hometown Walk of Hope has raised more than $1.3 million.
All that money stays in Obion County, as will all the money raised at this year’s event.
For Ms. Gossett, keeping the money raised from the Walk of Hope in Obion County is really important.
Working with local cancer patients is something she does year-round. Making sure the Hometown Walk of Hope raises enough money to take care of Obion County’s cancer patients is a personal mission for Ms. Gossett.
Last year’s event raised about $175,000, and Ms. Gossett is hoping to reach — and possibly exceed — that amount at this year’s event.
“We started in February with our kickoff meeting,” she told The Messenger.
Since that kickoff meeting, she and other volunteers have been intensely involved in promoting the Walk of Hope and recruiting teams for the event.
“Our first year (2001) we raised $60,000 and we’ve steadily moved up since then,” Ms. Gossett said.
In order to make their fund-raising goal, she estimated she will need at least 30 teams to set up around the track at War Memorial Stadium in June. She and others are actively looking to sign up at least seven more teams in the next few weeks.
The Hometown Walk of Hope will kick off at 4 p.m. and will continue until midnight. There will be luminaries in honor of survivors and in memory of cancer victims.
The atmosphere at the Walk of Hope will be decidedly upbeat with a variety of special events and activities, not the least of which will be the survivors walk.
So far, four banks have teams, as do six churches. There is a family team, a group of friends has organized a team, a group of cancer survivors has formed a team, and there is a team from Walmart and a team from the local Coca-Cola plant. Those and other teams have been busy seeking sponsors for the Walk of Hope and have been holding a variety of fund raisers.
Upcoming fund raisers that have been organized by some of the teams include a golf tournament, a bike run and a barbecue bologna sale.
“Last year, we had 30 teams and we’re going to need around 30 teams again this year,” Ms. Gossett said. “Some teams will raise $500 and some will raise as much as $15,000. We’ll take what we can get.”
On the afternoon of June 4, teams will set up camp sites at the football stadium.
This year’s event will feature a circus theme, and as Ms. Gossett puts it, “Our circus celebration will be the greatest show in town.”
The Hometown Walk of Hope is as much about raising money as it is about drawing attention to the impact of cancer.
Ms. Gossett estimated there will be a crowd of about 3,000 who will turn out for this year’s event.
The money raised during the Walk of Hope goes directly to cancer patients in the county. Ms. Gossett said she works with about 40 to 50 cancer patients a month from her office at Health Quest.
She said about $14,000 a month is spent helping cancer patients. The money goes toward rent, utilities, insurance expenses, medicine and travel expenses for out-of-town trips for treatments.
“The needs are just so varied … it’s just whatever,” Ms. Gossett said.
There are times when she has used the money to help a cancer patient buy food or fix their air conditioner or their stove.
Participation is the key to the success of the Hometown Walk of Hope.
“We’re really looking for more teams and we’re looking for industries to sponsor a team,” Ms. Gossett said.
So far this year, no local industry has entered a team in the Walk of Hope.
For an event that in the past has had the support of area industries, Ms. Gossett said she is a little surprised no industries have entered a team in this year’s event.
Listening to Ms. Gossett talk about the Walk of Hope, it is obvious she is a woman on a mission. The spiritual side of her involvement is quite evident.
It’s fortunate that her job as the director at Health Quest allows her to be involved in the Hometown Walk of Hope and with the needs of county’s cancer patients. In fact, in a small room at the back of Health Quest there are three lift chairs, wigs, wheelchairs, walkers, mastectomy products, nutritional supplements and canes, all of which are available for local cancer patients. The gym’s “Hope Chest” is a well-equipped resource center and Ms. Gossett is a true blessing for those who have been diagnosed with cancer in Obion County.
The next Hometown Walk of Hope meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. April 14 at Health Quest. The meeting is open to anyone interested in finding out more about the event or interested in entering a team.
Staff Reporter Kevin Bowden may be contacted by e-mail at kmbowden@ucmessenger.com.
Published in The Messenger 3.23.11

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