HOPE Medora Goes Pink continues to grow

MEDORA — Jackson County has many events that focus on the good things happening in the community.

They include the Seymour Oktoberfest, Red, White and Blue Festival in Crothersville, Jackson County Fair in Brownstown, Medora Christmas Festival, Cars and Guitars in Seymour and Houston Fall Festival.

And then there’s an event that tackles a more serious subject that affects almost everyone — cancer — that has been held on the second Saturday of October each year since 2009.

“When we started out, I would never have thought it would have grown like this, and I think it will continue to grow,” Debra Wayman said of this year’s HOPE Medora Goes Pink breast cancer awareness event.

That 13th event was held Saturday in the small town of about 620 people located in southwestern Jackson County.

HOPE Medora Goes Pink was started in 2009 by Wayman and her daughter, Deven Wayman-Shirley, to remember Debra’s mother, Helen Sipes. Sipes had recently died after the breast cancer she had spread to other areas.

Wayman said there are still a lot of people who don’t know about the event, which has raised more than $208,000 over the years. The money has been given to people affected by all types of cancer in all 50 states in the form of gift cards for fuel and food.

She said as the number of people who know about Medora’s festival continues to grow, she picks up more people to help. That’s good because Wayman keeps adjusting the schedule and adding more activities each year.

“One lady just moved to Jackson County from Indianapolis,” Wayman said. “She wanted to be in this community with her children. She wanted to be involved in this because she feels it is a real blessing to be working here and getting to know people.”

This year’s event featured a health fair with various types of screenings, a bra decorating contest, a 5K run/walk, a cruise-in and car show, carnival games, craft and food booths, a volleyball tournament, barrel and wagon rides and more.

It ended with the Pink Parade at 3 p.m., and that’s something Wayman said someone has suggested moving to 1 p.m. to capture the lunch crowd.

Cathy and Steve Morris were in attendance Saturday afternoon, and like many others in the community, they know someone who has had cancer.

His mother survived a battle with breast cancer several years ago.

“She’s doing great,” Cathy said of her mother-in-law.

The couple has attended most of the previous HOPE Medora Goes Pink events.

“It is getting bigger, and I love it,” Cathy said. “I think what everyone does for it is great.”

Steve said the event is good because it gets everyone out.

“It’s good for the community,” he said.

The only comparable event in Medora was the Christmas parade when he was younger.

“It was huge,” Steve said. “Then it kind of dwindled down, but now, it’s coming back up a little bit.”

Wanda Arbuckle of North Vernon brought her bright red 2011 Dodge Challenger to the car show to support her cousin, John Gorbett, who has cancer.

“He is going to be in the parade, and he’s helping park cars,” Arbuckle said.

Arbuckle, who had a brother-in-law die of cancer, also said she decorated her car to drive in the parade.

Wayman said the event requires many volunteers, such as Gorbett, and they are the most important reason the event keeps growing.

She said sometimes, it’s too understated, but the volunteers make it all possible because they give of their time.

“You can work and organize it and everything, but it’s those people that will take their time,” Wayman said. “Time is the most important thing you can have. You can’t make it, and you only have so much. These people come and work, set up, clean up. It’s a lot of work.”