- There was no arm twisting or persuasion involved in Hattiesburg
artist Erik Eaves' decision to donate his time and talent to a good
cause at The University of Southern Mississippi.
add visibility to the Pink Garden, a memorial garden on the Southern
Miss campus dedicated to survivors and those who have died from
breast cancer, a committee made up of university employees decided
to find a way to increase awareness of the garden.
a beautiful garden, but not many people know what it is," said
Mary Beth Walker of the Southern Miss Student Activities Office.
"We though about getting some kind of marker."
a suggestion was made to hold a fund-raiser to purchase a stone
marker from Stoneworks Studio, which Eaves opened in downtown Hattiesburg
about five years ago. But when Eaves was approached about creating
the marker, he refused to accept payment and instead offered his
services for free.
he would never dream of charging us for it," Walker said.
personally affected by the disease, Eaves said his decision to donate
the time and material for the memorial was easy. "My mother,
Diane, had breast cancer and it went into remission, and then she
had ovarian cancer, and she defeated both of them," he said.
The stone Eaves
is preparing will include the inscription, "The Southern Miss
Garden - In Honor Of All Those Affected By Breast Cancer."
A dedication ceremony will be held the week of Oct. 20, said Walker.
has been one of the most rewarding things I've been involved in.
It's a powerful thing to be a part of," Walker said, adding
that she's been inspired by the work of those members of the 'Pink
Committee' who have suffered from the disease. "Everyone seems
to have some connection to breast cancer, either they've had a mother
or daughter or sister affected by it."
cancer survivor, I'm overwhelmed by his generosity," said Jewel
Tucker, administrative assistant to Southern Miss President Dr.
Shelby Thames and a member of the Pink Committee. "It means
a lot to me and my fellow survivors.
Last year when
the garden was created, pink mums and tulips were sold to people
who wanted the flower planted in the garden in memory of a loved
one affected by breast cancer.
was inspired by a campus-wide effort to increase awareness of the
disease, which included decorating offices in pink, the color identified
with breast cancer awareness efforts. It is located next to Danforth
some kind of living memorial, and we thought (the garden) would
be fitting," Walker said. "I really believe it's made
a difference (in awareness of breast cancer on campus)."
The Pink Committee
also believes Eaves' donation will make people aware that the garden
is more than just a collection of beautiful flowers.
humbled to have the opportunity to produce this memorial,"
Eaves said. "It's a way to honor those who have lost their
lives to this disease, and also those who have overcome it or are