Eight-year-old Avery Fowler, center, receives her black balloon snake from Who’ee the Clown at Cancer Coalition of South Georgia’s first Carnival of Hope Saturday. Camryn Culpepper, also eight, is at far left. The coalition celebrated the wrapup of a six-week STOMP fundraising campaign.(Staff Photo: Jim West)
ALBANY — Judging from the festive atmosphere on the grounds between The Veranda and Phoebe Putney at Meredyth Place, an observer would hardly expect cancer to be the theme.
But Saturday’s Carnival of Hope and the preceding one-mile Walk to Remember were to celebrate the end of Cancer Coalition of South Georgia’s six-week Cancer STOMP fund-raising campaign to help stomp out cancer in the region.
“Our walk is a little different from some other fund-raising groups,” said Casey Perkins, communications coordinator for CCSG. “We didn’t ask anyone to donate to be able to walk. This walk was designed to be reflective. On the path around the property, participants saw signs that showed facts about cancer, signs for honoraria and memorials for people in their fights against cancer.”
Perkins said cancer survivor C. C. Morris spoke at the beginning of the walk, which was led by other cancer survivors.
“I was the first out of the gate and the first one home,” said cancer patient and two and survivor Jimmie Thomas of Camilla. “I’m here because of the cause. Phoebe is the bomb. Cancer patients are sick and they’re confused. They don’t know. They just want someone to say it’s going to be okay. If your spirit is good, it helps. It really does.”
While turnout for the first ever STOMP walk and carnival were lower than hoped for, CCSG CEO, Diane Fletcher, expects the events to gain in popularity from year to year, she said.
“These were the pioneers,” Fletcher said, “We hope the people who are here will tell their friends and hopefully we’ll have a bigger crowd next year.”