Chain saws and compassion?
The Halloween spirit located its benevolent side Saturday night at Cielo Grande, where participants of a Haunted Trail marched to raise money for the C[auth] haves County Cancer Fund. The event was put together by Outrun Fear, a new committee of ENMU-Roswell students inspired to help combat the devastating effects of cancer.
Mellissa Luna, a nursing student and vice president of Outrun Fear, said her organization is comprised of 10 students within ENMU-R’s Health and Science department, a committee that formed quickly in late August.
“We just wanted to help out our community and try to raise as much money as we can,” she said. “To me personally, I’ve had family members pass away from cancer. There’s some cancer that has a cure, and there’s some that don’t. I think it affects everybody. It affects everyone on a personal level.
“There’s a lot of people here who don’t have insurance and don’t have funds available to take care of themselves and I just think if we can help, we should.”
Outrun Fear president Robin Reedy, a paramedics student, said she hopes Outrun Fear remains a staple at ENMU-R for years to come. She said that for her personally, the walk is for a very close friend of hers who is battling cancer.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations about breast cancer and what it means to be battling the fear, the unknown of what’s going on with being sick,” Reedy said. “Outrun Fear is all in support of those people who fight that fight every day.”
Reedy said the idea for a haunted trail that doubled as a fundraiser was “sort of a fluke thing,” and that it ultimately came about when students were bouncing fundraiser ideas off one another.
For Saturday’s participants who dared to encounter monsters and chain saw-carrying zombies, the outer track at Cielo Grande was full of surprises. Moulage artists from ENMU-R’s EMS department transformed dozens of students into gruesome figures who prowled the trail well into the night.
ENMU-R student Jacquelin Valadez attended the walk dressed as a zombie nurse with her 4-year-old daughter Alyssa. Valadez said a Halloween-inspired event to raise cancer awareness is more than clever.
“I think it’s awesome! I like to dress up,” she said. “Breast cancer is a big thing, and I think it’s great that we’re bringing everything together to support it.” Of her daughter’s participation, she said, “She’s more interested in the goodies. But she wanted to scare people, too, so she got to dress up!”
The walk was part of “Paint the Town Pink,” an Eastern New Mexico Medical Center and CCCF effort that aims to raise awareness about breast cancer and solicit donations to CCCF. CCCF Vice President Julie Morrow said when she got the call from Reedy in August about the Run/Walk Haunted Trail, she thought it was a great idea.
“It has been phenomenal. Everybody in town has jumped on board,” Morrow said. “[Reedy] just came up with this in August, and here we are tonight. She rocks!
“The one thing that I understand and know is that you can tie one event to another very easily here. The concept is what you make it. They have worked hard with the Halloween theme, and you would not believe the number of volunteers who have come out for this event.”
The event featured free food courtesy of Farmers Country Market and Southwest Cash & Carry and live music performances from Cherubim, Reverie and So Say We All.
“It’s just so encouraging to see that people care about their community,” Morrow said. “And that’s what’s crucial about the CCCF. All the money that we raise stays right here in Chaves County.”