A celebration of life

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Last Saturday, October 8, WaterFire concluded its 2011 season with a memorable experience recognized as the ‘Flames of Hope’ event. In collaboration with the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Resource Foundation, thousands of advocates gathered to raise awareness for Breast Cancer. Activities and entertainment were provided throughout the day as countless members of the community congregated to celebrate life.

Children could be seen running around with pink balloons, men and women were enjoying the ultra-smooth pink cake provided by Greggs bakery, survivors exposed their pink ribbons across their chests, and people everywhere were singing, dancing, and enjoying the day of celebration. Station Park of Downtown Providence became a vast sea of pink manifestations as the sunshine beamed down on this unforgettable occasion. I had the opportunity to attend this WaterFire event and can truly say that it is one I will never forget.

As the night approached, Providence unveiled pink lights throughout its cityscape. The Capital was illuminated by a glowing pink shade that represented hope for all its spectators. The words: determination, hope, strength, courage, and faith were transcribed upon Providence’s Capital.

Thousands congregated around the stage at dusk to hear various speakers talk about their encounters with this horrific disease. Gloria Gemma’s son was the first to speak, and his address was remarkable as he emphasized his mother’s words, “Everything Happens for a Reason”. It seems that this quote became the foundational spirit for the rest of the evening, as others reflected upon their own personal experiences with Breast Cancer.

Live music by American Idol contestant, Jimmy Allen, and the famous Edward twin brothers, Eddie and Anthony, also set an encouraging tone for the evening. The Mastery Demo Team of Mastery Martial Arts was responsible for the symbolic “Breaking Boards for Breast Cancer” ceremony. This team, led by martial arts instructors, rapidly broke over 1,000 boards that would be used to light the fires for the night. The boards were personally inscribed and signified the strength, determination, and courage of the Breast Cancer survivors.

The community was then united to raise the “flames of hope”, which would light the torches of the WaterFire that radiated along the Providence River. One hundred and fifty survivors marched through the town, holding their flames high in the air and creating an aura of life all around us. The fires remained lit in the WaterFire’s basins until midnight. The strength of those who had suffered and endured was a remarkable experience to see.

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