It’s virtually impossible to attend the annual HOPE Walk without experiencing an emotional feeling that only comes from many folks working together for an unforgettable cause.
There aren’t many people who don’t have a family member or close friend that has faced the challenge of dealing with cancer.
It took my dad away from me shortly after he started to really enjoy his grandchildren. It didn’t allow Jane’s mom to even enjoy that.
Others have watched their loved ones battle the illness, and in some cases, gain the triumph.
There was a tremendous turnout for the charity event Friday night. Driving into the Hillsboro High School parking lot, it was easy to think that it was graduation night, the Elementary School Christmas program, or a Scenic Bluffs basketball championship game with Wonewoc-Center or Royall.
In fact, it seemed like everyone in the area spent some time there during the evening, except for those Flying Pigs who probably got stuck in someone’s lawn.
The HOPE Walk seems to grow in popularity every year. The many folks walking around the track, from grandma and grandpa to babies in buggies, were determined to make a proud statement, while punching cancer right in the nose.
Visitors were able to purchase everything from food to clothing to a chance to drop Hillsboro Police Sgt. Pat Clark into a dunk tank. Some kids who missed the target even tripped the lever with their hands, following Clark’s own suggestion.
Can he write a ticket for that?
There were plenty of small and large “treasures” that were available to a lucky entrant in the many raffles.
By the way, the person who devised the number system that saved people from writing their name and phone number on zillions of tickets should win a grand prize. What a marvelous improvement. After I only had to write one number on all our tickets, I felt like a winner already.
The Hillsboro High School Band and a patriotic group of Scouts added some special excitement to the evening.
Of course, the many, many volunteers who make the HOPE organization such a success all year long deserve plenty of credit for their planning and hard work.
A walk around the track is emotionally draining because of all the brown bags paying tribute to the legion of victims who have dealt with the disease. It is truly shocking to see how many names, tributes, and personal memories stand out as you walk past the luminaries that circle the track.
Later in the evening, all the names are read over the sound system in a much deserved reminder of their loss to all of us.
You get the feeling that somewhere, they are all smiling, and feeling very proud.