Insurance office pays lofty tribute to cancer victims

June 15, 2011|By AARON SAUNDERS |
  • Haylee White is lifted up as she tries to reach a balloon stuck in a tree Wednesday after employees of Brethren Mutual Insurance Co. released balloons in honor of those who have battled cancer. Haylee's mother, Candee White, died of cancer in March.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — A small group of co-workers, families, and friends from Brethren Mutual Insurance Co. gathered Wednesday afternoon to reflect and release balloons in honor of those who have battled cancer.  

It was the second year the company released lavender balloons for those who have defeated or succumbed to the second leading cause of death for Americans.

“Each of us who launched a balloon today in honor of or in memory of someone did so with love and appreciation in our heart,” said Becky Marshall, communications and public affairs manager for Brethren Mutual.

The event specifically honored former Brethren employee Candee White, who lost her bout with cancer in March. Her name was inscribed on each balloon.

“I thought it would be nice to honor her. Candee was a big member of our team,” Team Coordinator Renee Russell said.

White’s family was in attendance at the Hagerstown insurance office and were the first to release their balloons.

“This means a lot to us; it shows that everyone is supportive not just at home but at work as well,” said White’s daughter, Amy Hess.

Marshall and Russell also released balloons for their co-worker and friend.

“I know when I released my balloon in her memory, Candee was smiling down on all of us in appreciation of us remembering her beautiful life.” Marshall said.

Russell, a cancer survivor, recalled that when she found out she had cancer her feeling was, “I have this poison in my body, and I want it out.”

As team coordinator, she also will walk to help fight cancer this weekend when the Relay for Life fundraiser is held at Hagerstown’s Fairgrounds Park.

“Like everyone one else, I want to make sure this won’t happen in the future, so I want to raise enough money for researchers to find a cure,” she said.   

This year, the team so far has raised $10,458, which is just short of their $11,000 goal.

“It would feel really good to raise the most money, because if Candee was here, she would push us to raise as much as possible,” Russell said.

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