Pink Arrow Pride brings community together once again
There was some early morning rain, but the weather was gorgeous by the start of the “Pink Arrow Pride: Arrow Force XII” event at Bob Perry Field on Friday, Sept. 13. Admission to the stadium was free for anyone wearing this year's t-shirt.
“I am just rejoicing tonight,” said event organizer Teresa Beachum. “The weather has been a roller coaster, but look at it! And look at all those pink shirts, how this community continues to support this program. It is amazing to me. We are thankful for every t-shirt that's out there and the supporters in this community touch our hearts.”
“This is one of my favorite events of the year,” said Lowell mayor Michael DeVore. “I like to watch the way our community comes together and how people come in and see all the cool stuff we can accomplish when we work together.”
All proceeds from the event will support Pink Arrow Pride, an organization that directly helps Lowellians who find themselves on a cancer journey, and also supports Gilda's Club, Lowell Community Wellness, the Kathy Talus scholarship and the Dr. Donald Gerard scholarship.
“I think it's awesome that we have the community behind us,” said Gerard scholarship recipient Jeremy Wodarek. Wodarek said he is attending the CMU College of Medicine to study orthopedic surgery. “If you go to medical school, you have to take out a lot of loans, so it's good to have this kind of support.”
Vendors on “Restaurant Row” included the Ice Cream Cabus, the Cannonsburg Grist Mill, Main St. BBQ, Keiser's Kitchen and Big Boiler Brewing.
The survivor walk was at 6 pm, followed by honoree introductions at 6:35 pm. The main event, a football game against the Greenville Yellow Jackets, began at 7:10 pm.
LHS student McKenna Grody, the Lowell High School choir and LHS teacher Nathan Masterson performed songs at the event. Masterson has done so for the past two years and chose the material: “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, “I Won't Give Up” by Jason Mraz and “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.
“I feel like we did okay. We gave something to the community that they wouldn't have had without us performing tonight,” Masterson said. “The music that I chose for myself and the student performer something that was much more involved than what I thought it was going to be. I wanted to have a piece of music that would remind people that regardless of what they're going through, regardless of what this journey has done to them physically, they are still beautiful. They are strong themselves, but they are stronger within the community.”
Volunteer Brian VanderMeulen was very busy selling tickets for a 50/50 raffle during the football game.
“Everybody around here is very generous, there are a lot of people selling raffle tickets,” VanderMeulen said. “I first came to this event about five years ago, and when they read the names I was shocked by how many people I knew who were effected by cancer. It makes me super proud that I live here and I'm thankful that people are getting the support they need. I don't think there are many communities that have the support that we enjoy. I feel lucky to live here.”
Pink Arrow volunteer Brian Brenner was grilling burgers and hot dogs during the event.
“To me, this event means a potential cure for all the patients that have yet to come through and a remembrance for all the people that have passed on,” Brenner said.
“It's about community and just bringing everybody together,” said concession stand volunteer Sherri Royer. “Even outside of Lowell, everyone is aware of the Pink Arrow game and comes over to support it.”
“This is a significant event to support the community and everyone that has fought cancer, won cancer or passed from cancer,” said attendee Kathy Swanson. “My mom is a survivor, so it's very emotional. It's just amazing that all of these people come together for this game, specifically to represent cancer. It's an honor and a privilege to support it.”
“This event is a big deal for Gilda's Club and for Versiti,” said Kyle Graham from the Versiti Blood Center of Michigan, formerly known as “Michigan Blood.” “We saved over 400 lives with a blood drive that they did, then, in turn, we help Gilda's Club by providing them funding as well.”
“This event means everything to our company and its owner,” said volunteer Juli Bernock from All Weather Seal. “This is a big event and it's really close to our hearts. We are pleased to be here having a great time every year.”
“This is a way a lot of people represent the people they have lost or have supported through cancer or a loss,” said volunteer Janel Badder from Meijer. “It's wonderful to see how many people turn out to support it. It's more of an emotional game.”
“This event means a lot,” said volunteer Devra Keller, who said she lives outside of Jackson, MI. “Last year was my first year here, and we love it. It's huge, it gets the word out and it supports a good cause. Look at all the people, it's wonderful. We've had many family members who were effected by cancer. My brother died 10 years ago, my husband William Keller had it but he's a survivor.”
“This event, in general, is one of the most incredible things that I've seen in any community,” Masterson said. “It really joins everybody in a way that you do not experience unless you are here.”
The Lowell High School football team beat Greenville's team 40-0.