Annual G-Ma Pam’s Walk for Life

                                                                                                       Photo by Shari Harris
Over 100 balloons were released toward heaven Saturday.
By Shari Harris

Survivors and their supporters gathered at the Old City Park in Licking Saturday to celebrate life and raise money for G-Ma Pam’s Rack Pack, a non-profit organization which supports local cancer patients, usually by helping with funds for gas, motel and food costs incurred during treatment. The weather cooperated and it was a perfect day for the 5th annual Walk for Life and Craft Fair.
The day started with Biscuits and Gravy at 8 a.m. Vendors filled the park and were displaying their wares from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Food, fall décor, jewelry, wood crafts, metal crafts, handmade crafts, massages and more were available for shoppers. The TCMH Hospice of Care group was present and Dr. Crase sponsored the UTV shuttle which was present to ensure everyone could participate in the event, regardless of their mobility. Games were set up for the younger attendees, including bounce houses, a dunking booth, oversized building blocks, bracelet making, lawn pong, sand art, a duck pond, a tiny manual square hay baler and an inflatable boxing ring.
A balloon release was held before the walk, with 114 balloons purchased. A few escaped early and one or two stuck around in the hands of youngsters, but well over 100 were released together, symbolizing memories of loved ones, prayers, and hope going toward heaven.
                                                                                                       Photo by Shari Harris
Cancer survivors led the walk with their survivor lap.
Many teams participated in the 10-lap walk/run around the perimeter of the park. The survivor lap was first, with twenty-one survivors present this year. Most walked and some rode the shuttle around the park to celebrate their victory. After applauding the survivors, the walkers began their ten laps. The oldest survivor this year was Ethel Heavin, and the youngest was Krysta Joyner.
The support of the community was awe inspiring, when the teams of supporters and survivors filled Hickory Street to begin the walk. The walk had different meanings for the participants. For some, it was a component of their battle against cancer. For some, it was a memorial to loved ones who lost their battle with cancer. Others found it an opportunity to offer their support to neighbors and loved ones involved in their own battles. Regardless of their reasons, it was wonderful to see the numbers present. 
Photo by Shari Harris
Garrett Gorman raced 
around the ten laps Saturday.
It was a race for a few and Garrett Gorman was the first to complete the distance. A few jogged the distance, but most enjoyed walking the laps at a leisurely pace, visiting with old friends or making new ones. Marie Barnes and Gloria Schembra, with young helpers Rylynn, Jaylynn, Hannah and Ashtin, manned the water station, giving out bottles of water and bananas to the participants.
Steve and Pat Buckner and Neal Gately held an auction after the walk to raise more funds for the event. All in all, the event must be considered a great success. And the ones benefitting from the event are the people of the community who will have a place to turn if they need a little help while battling cancer.
Organizer and fund manager, Kassi Ramsey expressed her thanks to everybody who came out and participated, regardless of the contribution. She was also grateful for everyone who volunteered their time and effort to make the day a success.
This year’s total was the second largest amount raised, at about $11,500. If you are a cancer patient who is struggling to afford the expenses related to cancer treatment, or if you know a cancer patient who’s struggling, contact Kassi Ramsey at RightAway Rent-to-Own or call 573-674-4779 or 417-818-2488. 

                                                                                                       Photo by Shari Harris

The walkers and runners filled the street around the Old City Park in Licking. 

The support of the community was inspiring to all.



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