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Walk strong for hope

South Boston News / September 16, 2019
Cancer touches all ages, and survivors young and old turned out with family and friends Saturday at the county fairgrounds for the 15th annual Walk For Hope fundraiser for the Halifax County Cancer Association.

Sharon Blosser, HCCA director, said participants in this year’s Walk For Hope ranged in age from three to 80 years old. The crowd at the fairgrounds included walkers who lapped the fairgrounds track to raise money, and hundreds of others who came out to support the cause.

A highlight of the day came at the end, when four volunteers — Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital president Jason Studley, Chamber of Commerce president Mitzi McCormick, Halifax town manager Carl Espy and Virginia State Trooper David Clark — made good on their pledge to kiss a pig. They had promised to do so if Walk For Hope hit its fundraising goal of $80,000, and although the day fell a little short, raising $64,382.39, the good-natured volunteers followed through on their commitments.

Bert the Pig was provided courtesy of Franchesca’s Dawn Farm, and the animal was a good sport as onlookers cheered the big payoff — a porcine smooch by the four.

Jo Francis, who travels to Duke for treatment of her sarcoma cancer, said she loves the Halifax County Cancer Association for the support it has provided to her and her family, and for everything they do in supporting local cancer patients. Francis is battling sarcoma which returned this summer after being in remission. She was first diagnosed in May 2016, and is now undergoing chemotherapy at Duke.

Francis’ son-in-law, Lee Buckll Smith, was one of the musical performers on the Walk For Hope flatbed stage, singing his original song, “Never Give Up.”

The HCCA Walk For Hope helps registered patients pay for their travel expenses (fuel and meals), nutrition supplements, medications, utility bills, wigs, female undergarments and other costs from their cancer treatments. This past year the HCCA donated $45,000 for fuel assistance to local residents.

Donations are still being accepted for Walk For Hope and for the ongoing work of the Halifax County Cancer Association. To help out, donate online at

Blosser expressed appreciation for all the community support on Saturday and especially thanked the volunteer walkers, fundraisers and other supporters for the hard work they have put into this year’s Walk.

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