More than six years ago, a group of residents from the tiny community of Medora came together with an idea driven by two simple words: “Do something.”

In October of that year, they staged a breast cancer awareness event.

That event, known as HOPE Medora Goes Pink, has grown into something much more, according to one organizer.

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“I compare it to tossing a pebble into the water,” Debra Wayman said. “That’s what we did six years ago, and the ripples are being felt across the country all the way to California.”

This year’s HOPE Medora Goes Pink will be Oct. 10. Throughout the years, the event has raised nearly $24,000, which has been given to people affected by cancer of all types who live in Medora and surrounding counties.

Wayman, who led the drive to put the first event together and still manages the event, said it came about after she lost her mother to breast cancer that spread to other parts of her body.

“Dealing with the loss (of someone to cancer) can really bring about a lot of grief to an individual,” she said. “That’s what it was for me.”

Wayman said she later saw another woman coming into church who had lost her mother to cancer.

“I know just how she felt,” Wayman said. “In my head, I heard, ‘Just do something.’”

That something turned out to be roots of HOPE Medora Goes Pink.

Two people from each of the town’s five churches — Lutheran, Christian, Wesleyan, Pentecostal and Methodist — came together and organized that first event.

“There’s strength in coming together and doing something,” Wayman said.

Organizers started the event with no guidelines, but that has changed over the years.

The California connection includes Wayman’s daughter, Deven Shirley, and her husband and their three children. The family lives in Malibu, and 4-year-old Eden Shirley held raise funds for HOPE Medora Goes Pink. An acquaintance of the Shirley family, who also lives in California and lost a family member to cancer, designed the event T-shirt this year.

That effort is typical of the those involved in efforts to raise money for those affected by cancer of any type, Wayman said.

Locally, 5-year-old Jenna Bowers of Medora sold cookies and lemonade at a yard sale to raise money through the HOPE Ambassador, which is designed to instill community service and leadership in youth, she said.

That effort has produced $2,000 in pennies to give to the effort, Wayman said.

Others, such as Sue Isaacs, help out in other ways. Isaacs is responsible for fundraising efforts involving people donating through memorials at funeral homes for those who have died of cancer.

The effort to provide help to people affected by cancer begins when someone submits a name to the program.

“We send them a $50 gift card for travel to an appointment and give them a $50 gift card for food,” Wayman said.

All of the donations to the event go to that effort. For instance, the group wanted to purchase canopies for activities during the festival and used a $1,000 grant from the state to purchase those canopies.

Wayman said it’s all about inspiration taken from grief and knowing that even the people of a small community can come together and do something.

This year’s HOPE Medora Goes Pink event will feature a silent auction, live entertainment, a balloon launch, carriage rides, baby, prince and princess and king and queen contests, a 5K run/walk, a cruise-in, a four-wheeler, dirt bike and motorcycle exhibition and a silent auction.

There also will be the Wall of HOPE that contains ribbons, photos and messages about cancer survivors, those with cancer and those who have lost their battle with cancer. That will be in the 237 Building on George Street south of the school.

Schneck Medical Center will conduct a health fair from 7 to 11 a.m. that day. There will be colon care kits, information about breast cancer and the Don and Dana Myers Cancer Center, total cholesterol and blood sugar screenings, thyroid testing at a discounted rate and information about Schneck Vein Center.

The Medora Community Lions Club will offer vision screening, and there will be a display of photos from nature photographer Amber Ingersoll.

There also will be booths set up for other groups, including the Friends of the Medora Covered Bridge.

The total amount given by HOPE Medora Goes Pink to those who are affected by cancer to date is $23,600. Recipients live in Jackson, Lawrence, Monroe, Jennings, Scott and Washington counties and other areas.

A year ago, organizers added a benefit dinner that’s held in August.

The second HOPE Medora Goes Pink benefit dinner attracted more than 200 people and raised more than $3,200 to help pay for a website for the six-year-old cancer awareness initiative. The website will make it possible for people donate online.

The dinner was conducted Aug. 22 in the 237 Building.

Anyone interested in participating in HOPE Medora Goes Pink may contact Wayman at 812-966-2754 or debrawayman@gmail.com.

If you go

Schedule of events

Oct. 10

7 a.m.: Breakfast at Medora Senior Center on Main Street

7 to 11 a.m.: Schneck Medical Center health fair

9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Silent auction, 237 Building, George Street

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Wall of HOPE display, 237 Building

9 a.m.: 5K Run/Walk, George Street

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: H&C Amusements, George Street, $8 bracelets to ride all day

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Booths open, Main Street

9 a.m.: Adult coed volleyball tournament in the Medora Community School Corp. gymnasium

9 a.m.: Special Recognition Spirit Award given in honor of the late Leland Bundy Jr.

9:30 a.m.: HOPE Ambassadors announced, Perry Street stage

10 a.m. to noon: Face painting and fingernail art for the children, George Street

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Carnival games in the school cafeteria

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Dirt bikes and four-wheelers display

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Cruise-in automobiles, Riley Street

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Food booths open; horse-drawn carriage rides; wagon rides to the Medora Covered Bridge; barrel rides for the children

10 a.m.: Baby, prince and princess and king and queen contests, Medora Christian Church, George Street

12:30 p.m.: Community walk and balloon launch

3:30 p.m.: Free door prize drawing, 237 Building

Entertainment schedule

9:15 a.m.: Dusti Muns

10 a.m.: Medora Pentecostal Praise Band

11 a.m.: MTR Cowboy Church

11 a.m.: Lunch at Medora Senior Center

Noon: Six Ways to Sunday

1 p.m.: Anonamus

2 p.m.: Brendan Patman, Brittany Isaacs and Emily Bridges, Shaylee Mondie

3 p.m.: Past Tense

4 p.m.: Tom Judd

Author photo
Aubrey Woods is editor of The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at awoods@tribtown.com or 812-523-7051.