Cancer affects millions of Americans every year, and the employees of the Ceres Barge Line Company of East St. Louis, Ill., are no exception. When Vince Schu and wife Julie were faced with a battle agianst cancer, Vince approached the Barge Line Company with an idea to manufacture a giant pink-colored barge that would float on our nation’s rivers to serve as a tribute to those affected by cancer and help raise funds for cancer research.
Following a donation of paint by Sherwin Williams, the Big Hope I pink-painted barge was manufactured. This week, this giant pink vessel docked at the Brunswick River Terminal in honor of Walker 'Butch' Fletcher who passed away in April 2011 from cancer. Butch Fletcher founded the Brunswick River Terminal in 1978 with area resident, Bill Jackson.
Lucy Fletcher, Butch Fletcher's daughter and manager of business development for the Brunswick River Terminal, sees the Big Hope I barge as an opportunity to raise funds for the Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center in Marshall. Her father served as an Advisory Council member for the Cancer Center’s capital campaign that raised $4.1 million. In 2009 the comprehensive community cancer became a reality.
The Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center offers chemotherapy and radiation therapy for treatment of cancer. Missouri Cancer Associates’ physicians, along with a team of nurses and therapists with specific cancer treatment certifications, design and deliver personalized cancer care.
Lucy Fletcher states, "We will be donating to the Fitzgibbon Hospital Community Cancer Center where my father received treatment. He was a major contributor to the capital campaign to bring cancer care to our community. In our rural area, it has been a blessing for my family and many others that they are able to receive treatment close to home and not have to travel long distances while in poor health. We would be grateful if you'd be willing to join us in our contribution," said Fletcher, noting that her company has plans to do outreach to business partners to encourage them to donate to the Fitzgibbon Cancer Center as well.
Donors may send contributions with a memo stating "In Honor of Butch Fletcher" to:
Fitzgibbon Community Cancer Center
PO Box 250
2305 S 65 HWY
Marshall, MO 65340
To see the video about Big Hope I and the mission behind it, go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lC_9GWZ3xjo