County sends a message

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 5, 2002

Features Editor

The "Celebration on the Hill" bus pulled up to Bicentennial Park right on schedule Saturday and left taking the message to Washington D.C. that Pike County is serious about finding a cure for cancer.

"We all support this effort," said Angie Roling." My interest is particularly in the political arena. That’s where I believe we must get the funds to find a cure for cancer. This bus, that is going across the country and then back to Washington, is making a very important political statement for the American Cancer Society."

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Roling said she recently attended a rally in Montgomery in an effort to get state legislation passed so people will have clean air to breathe in public places.

"And, we need to look to Washington to help find a cure for cancer," she said. "I’m not sure what the numbers are today, but two years ago – and it’s probably still about the same – only two-tenths of a penny of our tax money went toward the cancer effort. With all of the money we send to Washington, that seems like a penance."

Roling would have penned that very message on the bus to Washington, if there had been enough space.

"Jim and I could only find enough space to write our names," she said.

But, they still sent a message. And, Roling said she would like to be in Washington Sept. 19 to carry that message in more personal way.

At Bicentennial Park Saturday, warriors of all ages in the fight against cancer searched for a small blank spot on the shirk-wrapped bus to write their messages to the leaders in the nation’s capital who have the power to enact policies and provide resources that will help alleviate the nation’s cancer burden.

However, it was not easy to find a place to write.

Thousands of messages already written told the stories of ongoing battles and lost battles with cancer: "We love you and miss you," "Remembering those who fought heroically to the end," "Four years old, three years in remission," "15 years in remission" and "See you in heaven."

Each story was a life story.

The bus has been on the road since March 6, going from state to state, collecting signatures and messages to take to Washington when the tour ends Sept. 19 with the "Celebration on the Hill." More than 21,000 people have taken advantage of this opportunity to let their voices be heard. More than 100,000 messages will be written on the shrink-wrapped bus before the tour ends.

The bus has been rewrapped once and was scheduled for a third wrapping after leaving Montgomery Saturday afternoon.

When the bus tour ends, the shirk-wrap that has been removed and placed on backing boards will be displayed with the bus so the nation and the world will see that people do care -and those people do vote.

Those representatives in the Congress of the United States must not miss the message of "Celebration on the Hill." If they do, they just might find themselves missing from the "hill" after their present terms expire.

Salina Fraze, public relations coordinator for the Mid-South Division of the American Cancer Society spoke briefly to those who gathered to send their messages to Washington.

She told the group that their personal messages will help send the collective message to the leaders in Washington that cancer should be a national priority.