The town of Medora will once again go pink Saturday in an effort to bring awareness to all types of cancer and raise money for those touched by the disease.
HOPE Medora Goes Pink — conducted on the second Saturday of October each year — was co-founded eight years ago by Medora resident Debra Wayman and her daughter, Deven Wayman-Shirley.
The idea for the festival was born in 2009, a couple of years after Debra’s 75-year-old mother, Helen Sipes, passed away as a result of the spread of her breast cancer.
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“Cancer affects those who have it but affects those around the person, too,” Wayman said. “When you can come to an event like this and show your support to say you’re not in this alone, it’s touching.”
The biggest addition to this year’s event is a parade that will include cars, a covered wagon and walking units.
A marching band was not available, but hopefully, next year there will be one, Wayman said.
“This parade has been a mission of Rhonda Freeman since 2010,” Wayman said. “Rhonda recently lost her brother to cancer, and so now, this vision is going to come full circle and make that dream of a parade a reality.”
Missy Miser Robinson of Medora is the parade chairwoman and will be there to make sure things run smoothly, Wayman said.
“We also will have volunteers from Oolitic and Bedford,” Wayman said. “I think it’s just golden that people from out of town are going to take the time to come help.”
The Pink Parade is going to have two grand marshals. The first is 71-year-old John Hughes, a Medora native. Hughes has been battling cancer since he was 17.
The second grand marshal is 17-month-old Kinley Lynn Tormoehlen, daughter of Shane and Katie Tormoehlen of Vallonia.
Wayman said this shows cancer affects the young, the old and all ages in between.
“I’m excited about being one of the grand marshals, having cancer nine times,” Hughes said. “I work with cancer patients and especially their families because of the struggle they have as caretakers.”
Hughes had bladder cancer surgery Oct. 2 but said he has just learned to live with the circumstances.
“My wife was worried about the surgery, but I wasn’t worried at all,” Hughes said. “They can take care of that, but I’m on dialysis, and I know I’ll be on dialysis the rest of my life.”
Hughes was misdiagnosed as a senior in high school and was in the advanced stages of Hodgkin’s disease as a freshman in college.
“I was 18 years old when I was actually diagnosed,” Hughes said. “I was told then I had six months to live, and that was in 1964.”
His parents allowed him to continue his schooling at Milligan College in Johnson City, Tennessee, and he just kept living, Hughes said.
“My prayer was for God to show me the doors that would open,” he said. “I wanted to be able to see those doors and have them open for me, and that’s just the way I’ve lived my life.”
Priorities change, and things that might have been important once aren’t important anymore, he said. Enjoying life, being happy, being at peace and his family and friends are what’s important, Hughes said.
“I think right now, emphasis needs to be on the people in Houston, the hurricane victims, the fires and the shooting that just happened,” Hughes said. “I think emphasis needs to be there, as well.”
Kinley Lynn Tormoehlen’s story began April 28 when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 Wilms tumor at the age of 11 months.
Doctors found the tumor had completely taken over her right kidney and also was in her lungs and lymph nodes, Wayman said.
“She underwent a four-and-a-half-hour surgery where the kidney and tumor were successfully removed,” she said. “They could not perform surgery on her lungs. On May 9, Kinley had her first of 31 weeks of chemotherapy treatment.”
Kinley continues to do chemotherapy every two weeks until the end of the year. She also had three weeks of radiation in June to break up the tumors in her lungs and around where the tumors were around her kidney, Wayman said.
The support system of HOPE Medora Goes Pink recognizes all forms of cancer. This year, the event’s theme is “A New Day Dawning with Hope for a Cure.”
“Only 10 percent of the money requested has been for breast cancer,” Wayman said. “A large portion of the recipients suffer from lymphoma, prostate cancer and melanoma.”
Each Jackson County HOPE recipient receives two $50 gift cards from Jay C Food Stores to help with gasoline and grocery needs, and those outside of the county receive a $100 money order to help meet whatever needs they might have.
All recipients receive a pink letter, explaining the gift of love being given.
“It’s been an amazing journey. It’s just been so wonderful the community and businesses that take part in it and support it,” Wayman said. “Also, all the people that donate to it because how else could a small town like Medora raise over $67,000?”
Donations may be sent to HOPE Medora Goes Pink, P.O. Box 125, Medora, IN 47260.
One hundred percent of the donations will be given to those affected by all types of cancer.
This is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
HOPE Medora Goes Pink
7 to 11 a.m.: Schneck health fair in the 237 Building next to Medora Christian Church
7 a.m.: Breakfast at the Medora Senior Citizens Center
8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Car show
8 a.m.: Registration for the 5K run/walk
8:30 a.m.: Scarlett 2 White on the stage at Main and George streets
9 a.m.: 5K run/walk
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Booths open; H&C Amusements
9 a.m.: Coed volleyball tournament in the school gymnasium
9 a.m. to noon: Caricature artist Kelly Toon drawing quick caricatures on George Street
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: “Be My Support” bra contest in the 237 Building
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Silent auction
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.: Carnival games on George Street
9:30 a.m.: HOPE Ambassadors announced on the stage
10 a.m.: Preston Carter Band
10 a.m.: Baby contest, prince and princess contest and king and queen contest at Medora Christian Church
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Dirt bikes, ATV, UTV and motorcycle exhibition on Perry Street; covered wagon rides to the Medora Covered Bridge
10 a.m to 1:30 p.m.: Barrel ride for children
10 a.m to 4 p.m: Food booths
11 a.m.: Cross for Cause relay at Medora Wesleyan Church on David Street
Noon: Medora Pentecostal Church
1 p.m: Alley Katz
2:15 p.m.: Hallelujah Hillbillies
3 p.m.: Pink Parade with grand marshals John Hughes and Kinley Lynn Tormoehlen