6/13/02 - Celebration Bus

A special bus is making a trip across the country to raise awareness about cancer. The Celebration Bus started in New York in March, since then it's traveled over 20,000 miles to 23 states and Thursday it made a stop in the Heartland.

The goal is to get signatures from everyone who's been touched by cancer. All those signatures will be taken to Washington, D.C. for the American Cancer Society's Celebration on the Hill, to raise awareness and help people fight cancer. Thursday Heartland cancer survivors were more than happy to make their mark on the bus.

Brian Yarbrough with the American Cancer Society says, "When we came up with this idea we didn't know how popular it would be and we wanted to see how it would catch on." It did catch on with people signing to honor someone they love who has cancer. Some are from people who want to remember a loved one they lost to the disease, while others send messages of hope. That's why Danny Crowell was there. Two years ago, doctors told him he had cancer in his lymph nodes. "I had no health problems," Danny says. "It just hit me all at once. I went to the doctor and he found some swollen lymph nodes that was giving me some pain." This wasn't the first time Danny's wife Barb had to see a loved one struggle with cancer. "My mother died of breast cancer and you never get over something like that," Barb says.

Like everyone there, they hope their signatures will bring attention to a disease that affects so many people. Danny and Barb Crowell are only two of 53,000 people who have signed the Celebration Bus so far, they're hoping to get over 100,000 signatures before the bus gets to Washington D.C. In fact, the bus has had a few facelifts to be able to fit all the signatures. "Actually we had to re-wrap the bus. This is the fourth time we've unwrapped it," Brian Yarbrough says. "We keep the signatures and it's kind of like a bumper sticker and we peel it off and put it on a board. All those boards will be displayed around a mall in Washington D.C."

It's giving people hope they will be a survivor story, like Danny. "I feel pretty good, it's been one year now. cancer free, it feels real nice." After it's stop in Cape Girardeau, the Celebration Bus is headed to Lee County, Illinois. It's last stop will be in Washington, D.C. September 18th for the Celebration on the Hill ceremony.