Hope You Can Hold will host its first ever event, the Big Bad Bead Bash, on Friday, November 6, 2015 from 6 p.m. – midnight at Canal Park in Oldsmar.
Five years ago, Ann Nixon started Hope You Can Hold after participating in a Relay for Life cancer awareness event.
Nixon, Oldsmar’s city clerk, came up with the simple yet ingenious idea of relay participants creating a necklace made up of beads they earned for completing each lap; the finished product is then given to cancer survivors, a tangible piece of “hope they can hold” as they battle the deadly disease.
On Tuesday night, the Oldsmar City Council agreed to waive the special events fee for Nixon’s first ever “meaning-rasing” event, the “Big Bad Bead Bash”.
“The Big Bad Bead Bash is at Canal Park on November 6, and we’ll be walking from 6:00 p.m. to midnight,” Nixon told the council.
“You can come by any time and just walk and just let people know that you’re helping somebody.”
In addition to supporting cancer survivors, Nixon said the Bead Bash would focus on helping victims of other debilitating and deadly diseases.
Oldsmar City Clerk Ann Nixon.
“We figured out that cancer doesn’t have a corner on the misery market, so we’ve expanded it to be necklaces for ALS patients and MS patients,” she said.
“Pick up a purple strand to walk for cancer, a red one for ALS or an orange one for MS, and then you can share later.”
In agreeing to waive all but $120.00 of the estimated $820.00 special event fee due to the fact that the event met all of the city’s criteria, Oldsmar Mayor Doug Bevis praised Nixon for her charitable endeavor.
“Sometimes I think like maybe they feel like they are a burden on their family, whether its getting to and from the hospital or they can’t participate in the family like they used to, and it’s not by their choice, so it’s a little hope,” the mayor said.
“I never got the connection (with the name), but it’s an awesome name.”
Hope You Can Hold necklace. Credit: Ann Nixon
After receiving the green light from the council, Nixon explained the purpose of the Bead Bash
“The event’s focus is not on fundraising, but it does cost money as do the necklaces,” Nixon wrote Oldsmar Connect. “We whole-heartedly appreciate donations and are registered with FDACS.”
“Our primary goal is to bring people together to walk and earn beads,” she added. “We do not charge for booth space, and we are still looking for food and activity vendors. We are also looking for business sponsors.”
Nixon said admission, parking, walking, strands, and beads at the event are free. There will be food and activity vendors, which may charge to cover their costs.
She added that while she is excited for the event, you don’t have to wait for the bead bash to get involved with Hope You Can Hold.
“Since 2011 we’ve walked over 1200 miles,” she said. “Please contact us. We build hope all year long.”
If you are interested in volunteering for this event, or creating a Hope You Can Hold necklace, contact Ann Nixon by phone at 727-251-2536, via email at hopeyoucanholdatyahoo.com, or visit the organization’s website at www.hopeyoucanhold.com.