Faithful Friends gear up for Relay for Life event
Run. Walk. Give. Pray for a cure

Wanda English Burnett - Editor

“I-16,O-72,B-3, N56,” the numbers were called by Vonda Miller as the only sound from the crowd was an intake of breath, until, “BINGO” was called loud and clear and a Longaberger basket found new arms to hold it.

Those in attendance at the Faithful Friends bingo event held last week at the Osgood Community Building didn’t’ mind putting down their money for a bingo card and the chance to win a quality prize. Better yet, they were enthusiastic about sharing their funds for one common cause - to find a cure for cancer.

Participating in Ripley County Relay For Life event for the fourth year, a group of 11 women, who call themselves the Faithful Friends, sponsored the bingo to raise money.

“What if your dollar was the one that found a cure?” Miller enthused as she thanked each person who has contributed to the cause.

Faithful Friends were able to raise $1000 at the bingo - the largest single fundraiser they’ve had this year. They’ve held soup suppers, yard sales and other events to raise money. The group consisting of Miller, Chris Miller, Bonnie Miller, Evelyn Miller, Marcia Billman, Vickie Holman, Jean Huber, Sarah Gibbs, Ona Peetz, Peggy Benham and Tammy Dilk, have been true to their name and been faithful to meet in homes on Sunday afternoons for brainstorming sessions. “How can we raise money to help others?” is the focus question.

Chris Miller’s life was touched by the dreadful disease when her mother, Bobbie Maddux, was diagnosed with breast cancer. She lost the battle and died at the age of 50.

With tear filled eyes, Chris described her sorrow as she knew her mother was losing ground But, Bobbie had a plan to leave a little touch of love with each of her children even after she was gone. She began to design potholders - an elaborate design that was weaved and folded, sewn in a special way, perhaps weaving her love and memories for her children to cherish. She began making these squares of love in every holiday material. There were ones for Christmas, Valentines’ Day and so on. Bobbie couldn’t complete her legacy of love before cancer claimed her life.

Looking at the material and the task ahead, Chris cried, “I’ll never be able to finish these.” But, she did. And not only did she carry out her mother’s wishes for her and her siblings, an idea was born. “Why couldn’t we get pink material and make them to sell to generate money to find a cure?”
And, that’s exactly what the Faithful Friends did. Gathered in a living room there was a frenzy of measuring, cutting, ironing, and assembling little potholders of hope. “Even my husband, Larry, was ironing,” laughed Vonda Miller, as she told about the day.

Packaged pretty in pink, the potholder ensemble has cookie cutters in the cancer ribbon design giving the group the hope that a cure will be found through the creation of a cancer patient and the last laugh will be on the disease itself. Bobbie was a nurse at St. Vincent’s Jennings County Hospital and as she helped people in life, her legacy to help others continued in each thread sewn into the potholders.

“We hope to have more made and have them available on site at the Relay For Life event on June 16 and 17,” noted Miller.

She encourages anyone who wants an uplifting experience to come to the June event at the Batesville High School track. “Any one can walk, you don’t’ have to be part of a team,” she noted, adding, “It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. With all of the terrible stuff that goes on in the world, to see a community come together like this is so amazing.”

Miller reflected on her first walk and said as she neared the finish line she was dragging. Then it occurred to her, “what I’m enduring at this moment is nothing - nothing compared to what a cancer patient goes through.”

Two of Miller’s favorite moments at the 24-hour event, are the first lap that is walked by cancer survivors and the luminary service. “It is so touching,” she noted.

The theme for this year’s relay “Where there is life there is hope” will be worn on T-shirts by members of the Faithful Friends where they will make their final bid to raise money for cancer research.

“Every little bit helps, no gift is too small,” Miller concluded saying they are thankful for every cent given to the cause. “We cannot let cancer win!” she emphatically echoed throughout the interview with the Osgood Journal.

Those wanting to help the team can send a check to Vonda Miller at 4440 N CR25E, Osgood, IN 47037, made payable to Ripley County Relay For Life.

Patsy Bradley of Holton, is all smiles as she has the winning combination to bingo on this beautiful Longaberger basket. Brooklyn Billman, 14, presented her with the prize. "We couldn't do without Brooklyn," Vonda Miller noted, saying she is a mainstay at all of the functions and works really hard for the cause.