Howard's Blossoms of Hope raises cancer awareness

The Blossoms of Hope, a monthlong celebration of activities that honors the beauty of the pink Kwanzan cherry trees and helps raise cancer awareness, is under way in Howard County.

"With more than 1,600 beautiful pink Kwanzan cherry trees blossoming in parks, along roadways and at attractions countywide, spring in Howard County awakens the human spirit filling it with hope, happiness and health," said Victoria Goodman, executive director of Blossoms of Hope.

Blossoms of Hope is a marketing campaign of Howard County Tourism and Promotion that works to "beautify county attractions by planting Kwanzan cherry trees and giving back to the community by supporting the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center and other local charities," Goodman said.

On April 4, the sixth annual Pretty In Pink Champagne Ladies Luncheon was held at Turf Valley Resort in Ellicott City. It served as the kickoff event for Cherrybration Days, which helps draw attention to Howard County during the blossoming season and to the "community conscious" partners who participate in the many fundraising events.

"It is one of Blossoms' biggest fundraisers," said Goodman of the luncheon. "Last year the event contributed over $8,000 to the project and we estimate that this year's donation will be in the same ballpark. Many of the models are cancer survivors and some are clients of the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center who are currently in treatment."

Goodman added that Blossoms of Hope "has raised awareness of the services" provided by the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center at Howard County General Hospital and "contributed over $175,000 toward its operation since inception."

Goodman complimented Turf Valley and its owner, Pete Mangione, who is President of the Blossoms of Hope Board of Directors, for its commitment to the program. Turf Valley, which is home to more than 50 Kwanzan cherry trees, also will host the Pink Greens Golf Classic on Friday, April 19.

Here are some ways residents can support the Blossoms of Hope campaign:

• Support the efforts of the 15 participating restaurants by choosing the Pink Plate Special promotion in April.

• Plant a Blossoms of Hope Kwanzan cherry tree. Residential size trees are $125 each with $50 going to Blossoms of Hope in support of the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center.

• There are sponsorship opportunities for trees planted in public land groves across Howard County. Recognize, honor or remember someone special by dedicating one of these trees for $500.

• Mention "Blossoms" when you purchase tickets to any performance from April 21-28 to "Fiddler on the Roof" at Toby's Dinner Theatre of Columbia and $10 will be donated to Blossoms of Hope.

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