Kids gather eggs for cancer patient cause

April 05, 2004|by SCOTT BEARD

HANCOCK - While most of the estimated 150 children taking part in an Easter egg hunt at Widmeyer Memorial Park in Hancock on Sunday were smiling Sunday after getting candy, one boy's focus was on another prize: Hot Wheels.

Matthew Scott Swope Jr., a 5-year-old Fulton County, Pa., boy battling cancer, was the grand marshal for the egg hunt. Matthew, who was diagnosed with malignant melanoma, has a goal of owning 1 million Hot Wheels cars.

Participants in the egg hunt were asked to bring at least one Hot Wheels car for Matthew, said Shannon McKinley, one of the event's organizers.


McKinley said she does children's ministry for the Hancock United Methodist Church Children's Ministry Team which, along with Hardee's, sponsored the event. The sponsors wanted to honor someone special through the event, so they decided to help Matthew.

About 300 people attended the egg hunt and more than 300 cars were given to Matthew in a short ceremony after the hunt, McKinley said.

Asked if he liked the donations, Matthew nodded.

His collection has increased from about 14,000 to more than 20,000 since an article about Matthew's goal was published in January, his mother, Brandy Swope, said after the event.

About 150 children, separated into age groups, searched for about 2,000 plastic eggs, McKinley said.

The Easter egg hunt was the first one in Hancock in about seven years, she said. The Hancock Lions Club also is planning an Easter egg hunt, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Widmeyer Memorial Park.

To see how happy Matthew was and to see his positive spirit was great, she said.

The Easter egg hunt was scheduled Saturday but was delayed until Sunday due to inclement weather. A 2 p.m. puppet show scheduled to precede the hunt Sunday was canceled due to cold weather.

According to an electric sign outside a Hancock bank, it was 41 degrees about the time of the event. A cold breeze during the ceremony left children and adults bundling up to stay warm.

Hot Wheels cars can be sent to:

Sideling Hill Christian Church
c/o Matthew Scott Swope Jr. Fund
10424 Sipes Mill Road
Needmore, PA 17258

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