By Anna Robertson Ham
The 4th Annual Franklin Witches Ride takes place this month on October 27th at the Westhaven Residents’ Center. This festive fundraiser will bring out the brooms, capes and witch hats for a great cause - benefiting the American Cancer Society which is dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives and leading the fight for a world without cancer.
Women of all ages can participate in the witches parade, which is about a half mile long, by dressing like a witch and decorating their “broomcycles” (bicycles) or “monster machines” (golf carts) and FLY through the streets of the Westhaven community. During the route, the participants can throw candy in the “candy zones” throughout the route.
We spoke to Dawn Gardin, Community Development Manager of the American Cancer Society, to learn more about this family fun event. Dawn works with local communities to plan fundraising events for the American Cancer Society, like the Franklin Witches Ride which actually started in the Westhaven neighborhood in 2016. Since then, it has grown to become a beloved Halloween event in the community and Williamson County, with nearly 100 participating last year and over 150 already signed up for this year’s event. “Franklin Witches Ride continues to grow each year with more women participating, or ‘flying for a cure’ as we like to say! In 2018 we doubled the number of witches who participated and the amount of money we raised. This year, we would love to continue to grow the event with witches from other neighborhoods joining in the fun. So far this year we’ve expanded to have three ‘covens’ of witches,” Dawn Says.
“Funds raised through events like Franklin Witches Ride help fund cancer research, including grants for scientists at Vanderbilt University and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital,” explains Dawn. “Your support helps us provide a free home away from home for cancer patients and caregivers at our Hope Lodge while they’re in town for treatment. Donations allow us to coordinate programs like Road To Recovery and our 24/7 information line at 1.800.227.2345.”
“The generosity of our community partners is critical to realizing our vision of a world free from the pain and suffering of cancer. You help fund our mission, spread our message and are the backbone of what we do. For example, and because of your support, the American Cancer Society was able to provide eighty-seven free nights at our Hope Lodge and coordinate 138 free rides to cancer treatment for Williamson County residents last year,” says Dawn.
If you cannot participate in events like the Witches Ride, then you can still help. “Volunteers are urgently needed to help drive cancer patients to and from treatment or help coordinate transportation for cancer patients,” she says. “Volunteers can help us advocate for laws and policies that will fight cancer. Volunteer groups can also help cancer patients feel at home at our local Hope Lodge, or by helping out at our Greater Nashville office. We have several other events year-round including our Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk.”
There is still plenty of time to be part of Franklin Witches Rid and this event isn’t just for the ladies! Fellas are encouraged to join in the fun and dress like warlocks to watch over the children along the path, as the witches pass by and sprinkle the streets with candy in the posted candy zones. The parade ends with a fall festival including food and fun. The Franklin Witches ride celebrates the beautiful spirits of those we love affected by cancer… The fighters, survivors and angels.
To learn more and to sign up for the Franklin Witches Ride, visit franklinwitchesride.org or go to Facebook.com/FranklinWitchesRide. Participants can choose from several registration options, ranging from $25-$120. You can also register the day of at 4pm. The line-up for the Witches Ride takes place along the sidewalks near the Westhaven Residents’ Center at 4:35pm and the broomsticks will launch at 4:45pm.
To learn more about the American Cancer Society, their events or to make a donation, visit cancer.org.