ODESSA, Texas (Big 2/FOX 24) – “Be Our Change” – they’re positive, inspirational stories. This time, we’re highlighting “West Texas Gifts of Hope.” If you’re not familiar with the nonprofit, those involved do so much for our community and offer various services to those battling cancer, including running Hope House Odessa. It’s a place where cancer patients can stay for free while getting treatment.
“We do the Trans Pecos area; we go down to Big Bend, Alpine/Marfa area. We also have people come from New Mexico,” said Susan Calvin, West Texas Gifts of Hope Program Director.
“You know, it’s just not just breast cancer. It’s colon cancer, brain cancer, liver cancer,” said Brenda Medlock, West Texas Gifts of Hope Executive Director.
They’re also gearing up for a fundraiser that benefits “Hope House Odessa.” It’s called “Paint the Park Odessa.” It’s less than a month away, but volunteers are already hard at work in hopes that you will get involved as well. “When you drive by to see all those flags waving, it just kind of takes your breath away,” said volunteer Penny Prophitt.
It’s a celebration to support cancer survivors. “What a ray of hope for them. They survived one more year,” said volunteer Roni Hampton. It’s also a time to honor those who have lost their lives to cancer. “A visual symbol of their memory,” said Hampton.
“They can’t kick me out,” said Prophitt laughing. “I come in on Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, even when they don’t want me too. A big personality and a big heart. “The word cancer is scary,” said Prophitt. She’ been volunteering with the nonprofit for ten years and is also a three-time cancer survivor. “I had breast cancer in 1998. In 2004, I had cervical and uterine cancer,” said Prophitt.
“Feels like that you’re here for such a time like this,” said volunteer Anne Ledbetter. She was by her husband’s side through it all. He fought a brave battle with lung and throat cancer. “You just feel like you’re not in this journey alone,” said Ledbetter.
Roni Hampton’s story is a bit different. She had no connection to cancer when she started volunteering. A lady in her Sunday school class kept pushing her to do it. “I just thought it would be so depressing, and truthfully, I started, so she would just shut up and leave me alone,” said Hampton, giggling.
In the end, she’s glad she got involved. Her pastor’s wife ended up getting cancer. “It was a joy to be able to serve her, and then, it just made it so much more personal to me,” said Hampton.
Our Monica Quintero will have the honor of serving as the MC of the event. “Paint the Park Odessa” will take place at Memorial Park on September 26th between 10 a.m. and noon. As we mentioned, volunteers are already working hard to get even more people involved.