A Celebration of Life, Help and Remembrance
Over the years there had been various programs for cancer survivors; unfortunately the funding for some programs was lost in the early 2000’s. In 2003 it became evident to local health care workers that there was a growing need to assist area cancer survivors. The goal being to decrease the burden cancer patients and their families are going through and hopefully improve outcomes. Help from many other “great citizens” was solicited, a 501-c3 corporation was formed, and The Festival of Hope was born.
The first Festival of Hope was two day event that was held June 20-21, 2003 at the Mitchell Event Center. The inaugural event revealed that there was a great interest in our community to support the mission of the Festival of Hope. Eventually, Festival of Hope evolved to a one day event, on the Saturday before Father’s Day, which kicks off with a 5K Run/Walk and Children’s Fun Run as well as breakfast served by the Knights of Columbus. We continue to have successful silent and live auctions, plus entertainment throughout the day, various booths, raffles, penny carnival and of course plenty of food and companionship. We end our event with reading of the names listed on our Wall of Hope and our cherished butterfly release.
Festival of Hope has had various other special events including a dance, an art show, an appearance on the Barrett-Jackson auction, and to celebrate our 10th Anniversary we hosted a Sammy Kershaw concert which was well received and enjoyed. Those with musical and/or artistic talents have shared their gifts at our events as well as those who just work hard. We are so proud of and thankful for EVERY VOLUNTTEER who has ever shared their time, talent or treasure with the Festival of Hope!!!
Thanks to the initial hard work, our first event raised over $60,000 and we were excited to help twenty patients in 2003 with rent, mileage, utility bills and other expenses to help ease their burden during their cancer care. Over the years our mission has been so successful that as of early 2016 we have distributed over $1,500,000.00 to 1400 patients and their families. We have also donated $166,000.00 for cancer research at University of Nebraska Medical Center and the University of Colorado. Plus, over $25,000.00 has been donated to area programs for cancer education.
Knowing that money raised mostly stays locally has been a big reason we feel Festival of Hope has been so successful. Monies raised come from the many efforts of committee members during the event as well as generous businesses and donations/support from the community/region. Festival of Hope has also benefited from memorials from those who have been affected by cancer. We are grateful for all. YOU all make the Festival of Hope successful! Thank You!
Festival of Hope has not only become an event to raise money for area cancer survivors in need, it is also a place where these cancer survivors are honored with pride and affection, surrounded by their family, friends and neighbors. Plus, it is a place of healing and love for those who have lost a loved one to cancer. For any volunteer it is a place to show gratitude and assistance to their fellow man. For all, it is a place to gather and showcase HOPE no matter what!!