Hope can be found in DeSoto County. Hope for a brighter tomorrow. Hope for the love of family and friends. And Hope for recovery from cancer.

A new non-profit group, DeSoto Hope, is relaying the message of encouragement and awareness, that fighting a cancer battle doesn’t need to be fought alone.

Tracy Gallagher and Ashleigh Parker are cancer survivors who shined their message of light and hope this past Sunday at Southaven’s Central Park.

The park lake had its banks adorned with over 700 lanterns representing over 700 names of individuals who have battled cancer. The names were displayed on individual signs that lined the park’s drive all the way to the lake.

Light up the Lake was the first such occasion for the group that started in October 2020.

Each lantern was purchased in honor or memory of someone who has been affected by cancer. All donations and proceeds from the event are applied to the Hope Baskets for cancer fighters.

Parker is a stage 4 colorectal cancer survivor. After being diagnosed in August of 2019, she has been in remission since May of 2020.

“I had friends and family cover me up in love and prayers,” said Parker. “I had people bring me gifts and little happies that made the journey better.”

Parker added that attendees to the event included cancer patients who wanted to come see the lights but were too tired from receiving cancer treatments that Sunday. The drive-through setup allowed them to attend and see hope in action.

DeSoto Hope makes “Hope Baskets” to give others, reassuring them the cancer journey doesn’t have to be solitary and they are not forgotten. Whether a DesSoto County resident or receiving treatment in DeSoto County, baskets can be requested through the group’s website, www.desotohope.org.

Parker and Gallagher were grateful to one of their event sponsors, Baptist Memorial Healthcare Foundation for their $5,000 donation that helped make the event possible.

“We’re planning to do another event next year,” Parker said. “Even an event for this fall.”

Parker encouraged those who want to participate and help with baskets or donations to visit their website.

“We even have an Amazon wishlist people can look at to donate also,” Parker added.

 

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