April 30, 2008 Edition

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Diana Shelton (left) and Carolyn Fowler prepare to lead the walkers with the Lawrence County Walk of Hope banner.

Walk shows continued support



Carolyn Fowler gets some assistance drawing a door prize winner from a young supporter of the Walk of Hope.
Gretchen Hunt
Editor

The Lawrence County Walk of Hope, on its five-year anniversary, was less about raising money and more about giving back.

In recognition of all that people have done over the past five years, there was no charge to participate in this year's walk, though some contributions were received and several cookbooks were sold, according to Diana Shelton, one of the event's organizers.

"Raising money and awareness of cancer is such a worthy cause, and it's so amazing to see how our community responds to the need," Shelton said. "Everyone realizes it is a dreadful disease that has touched so many of us that it just seems like they all want to help, and that's absolutely wonderful. We get so much support and encouragement from Lawrence County that it makes us proud to be able to do our part to help out."

This year, the highlight of the walk was the grand opening of a new Walk of Hope room at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

"We had a wonderful response to the new room," Shelton said.

Several participated in a ribbon cutting for the new room, which offers brochures, books and information concerning different types of cancer, as well as free hats, scarves and wigs for cancer patients.

"They all seemed pleased and very interested in the new room," Shelton said. "We even had several who signed up to volunteer their services in the room, and a couple who said they would like to purchase some hats and scarves to put in there to be given away! We were very excited about that."

Cancer patients are encouraged and invited to use the services being provided in the new room. Shelton said there is a list of names and phone numbers to call to receive assistance with wigs or obtain additional information.

"We want to thank Lawrence Health Services for their generosity and support in providing a room for us to use," Shelton said. "We certainly hope it will benefit many people in Lawrence County."

Between 60 and 65 people participated in the walk, according to Shelton. Several door prizes were given away, as well.

Lawrence County Walk organizer Claudia Wheeless was unable to walk with the group this year because she is a patient at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, where she is being treated for pneumonia.

Luckily the walk kickoff was held at LMH this year, so she was still able to be a part of the event.

"The Lawrence County Walk of Hope began as an idea that Claudia had shortly after she had breast cancer about six years ago," Shelton said. "Claudia said God gave her the idea to do a walk to help cancer patients like herself, and she wanted to do something to be able to celebrate life."

Wheeless was back to work at Wal-Mart at the time, and she began talking about it with her co-workers and friends.

"Many responded to her excitement about getting a walk started and agreed to help get it organized," Shelton said. "It has been a successful venture. Claudia was unable walk with us as we celebrated the fifth anniversary on Saturday, but her spirit was definitely there with us."

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