One is Halloween and the coming Halloween Block Party, as well as a myriad of related events on Thursday and Thursday night. Whether it be along the perimeter of the Courthouse Square or Bradley Square Mall or First Baptist Church of Cleveland or Oak Grove Elementary School or any number of family-friendly and children-pleasing groups, schools and churches, Thursday’s lighthearted tributes to Halloween are certain to tickle the funny bone and titillate the sweet tooth in anyone.
But an annual campaign aimed at breast cancer awareness is also reaching its zenith Thursday and Friday. We speak of Volley for a Cure 2013. On Thursday, VFAC will host its Breast Cancer Survivors Luncheon featuring the inspiration of keynote speaker Vonda Skelton, and on Friday comes the day to “Paint the Town Pink” with Lee University’s traditional evening of pink events in the Paul Dana Walker Arena.
Thursday’s luncheon will kick off at 11:30 a.m. from the university’s Rec Center. Reserved parking is available at the center at the corner of Parker Street and Billy Graham Avenue, the Tennis Center and at the corner of 15th and Magnolia streets.
Skelton’s appearance is being sponsored by Cleveland businesswoman Brenda Lawson, founder of Brenda Lawson & Associates LLC, who has served as a longtime supporter of Volley for a Cure and of the annual public awareness and fundraising campaign against breast cancer each October.
Although ticket supplies surely are running low — if they’re not already sold out — calls may be made to 423-614-8600 for their purchase. Cost is $20. Breast cancer survivors who make reservations will be allowed free admission.
Skelton’s visit is intended to support breast cancer awareness, and to raise funds for MaryEllen Locher Foundation scholarships. But it is also an appearance focused on celebrating life.
In the words of a previous keynote speaker to the same event, addressing a crowd of cancer survivors is especially rewarding because they have a stronger zest for life. They laugh louder. They find humor in the most surprising of moments. They have an appreciation for the ordinary and they wake up each morning to the promise of a new day, and not the drudgery of another week full of Mondays.
Want to understand the sanctity of life? Spend some time with a survivor of cancer.
Friday’s VFAC grand finale includes the traditional silent auction at 5 p.m.; Pink Party featuring crazy hair, face painting, cotton candy and pink flamingoes at 6; “Pack the Stands Pink” event at 6:45; and at 7 p.m. the Lee Lady Flames take on their new Gulf South Conference rivals, Valdosta State University, in a high-powered volleyball matchup where pink will rule the roost.
And speaking of roosts, everybody’s VFAC favorite — the Flamingo Flock — will wind down another season Thursday night. The pink figurines will make their way to Thursday’s luncheon and then to Walker Arena for Friday’s big climax. The birds of morning surprise will then be retired until the 2014 flocking season.
Kudos to the staff at Doctors Express, and to a host of other volunteers, who accepted the pink baton of flamingo fanaticism this year from Dr. Michael Hoops and his pink-laced lasses of The Plastic Surgery Clinic of Cleveland.
Despite the relocation of Flocking Headquarters from Hoops to Express, this madcap world of pink dawns never lost a beat.
Jeers to cancer, the disease.
Cheers to Volley for a Cure, the hope, the prayer and perhaps one day ... the answer.
And special cheers to the memory of Joretta “Jo Mama” Orr, the dedicated mom of five daughters who work together each year to organize Volley for a Cure. We speak of Andrea Hudson, Zandra Whaley-Welch, Linda Roark, Yvonne May and Kathy Eaton.
“Jo Mama,” so named by the Lee Lady Flames volleyball players for her sideline support over the years, will again be with her team for Friday’s big game. But this time, her presence will be felt only in spirit. The feisty 82-year-old died in June.
In years to come, it is our prayer breast cancer will be spoken of using only words of the past.
Until that day, let us say long live Volley for a Cure and all such miracles from which hope emerges from the hopeless.