happenings / personalities

hoedown for hope

© MARTINA DALTON, Designer, Allovus Design

What do you get when you mix friends, a group of volunteers, and a worthy cause? In the case of the Nichols family, the Morvant family, and the Walker family, you get “Hoedown for Hope: An Event to Help Find a Cure for Breast Cancer.

T-ShirtsIt all started when Kiersten Morvant’s good friend from Washington State University (WSU), Jenny Fawcett, was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer four years ago.

“After finishing chemo, she wanted to do something to raise money to help other women who didn’t have the insurance and support system that she had,” Morvant said. “She felt very strongly about finding a cure for a disease that is diagnosed in a woman every three minutes, and that one in eight of us in the United States will develop.”

Fawcett decided to participate in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, a 39.3 mile two-day walk; each participant raisies a minimum of $1,800.

“Our goal was to do five years of walks,” Morvant said. “After my first walk, Hayley and Karen got involved in helping to raise money, and the idea for a yearly family-friendly fundraiser was born.”

Hayley eating Jon's ribsThis year’s event took place on Saturday, April 6th at the home of Hayley and Rob Nichols, founders of Allovus Design, Inc. Participants brought their families and enjoyed Texas BBQ, line dancing, pony rides, the music of four bands, Lego building, ping pong, and more.

The event was sponsored by: Allovus Design, Inc., All Star Guitar and Music Academy, Second Floor on Fire (band), Skip a Step (band), Wooden Nickel (band), The Compellers (band), Paterson’s Fruit Stand (bounce house), and 7 Seas Brewing (beer).

“This year we tripled the money we raised last year, with over $6,000 coming in,” Morvant said.

If you’d like to donate to the event (fundraising efforts are continuing through mid-May of this year), please follow the link: http://info.avonfoundation.org/goto/kiersten


Highlights of this year’s event include:

The Food: Karen Walker, also a good friend of the Morvants, explained where the BBQ came from. “Kiersten’s husband, Jon, is probably the best Texas BBQ around! In the past, the Morvants have thrown small crawfish boils to raise money, but we knew we could draw interest with his BBQ—and he has his best friend fly in from Montana to help him.”

The General Store: “Most of the food, baskets, and items for the General Store, were donated by our community. We collected donations, and had a bunch of friends help us put it all together,” Walker said.

The Western Village: “All our husbands pitched in, we have friends who know how to build and decorate. Hayley came up with the “plans” of the western village. She and a friend’s husband constructed most of the town. I painted all the signs and billboards, etc… A bunch of teenage boys were our workhorses, our girls helped with painting. Sami’s grandma did all the sewing projects. It was a real family and friends’ effort. It takes a village to build a town!” Walker said.

Food Stats:

  • 40 lbs chicken wings
  • 30 lbs potatoes (fries)
  • 8 lbs fried okra
  • 50 lbs pork shoulder
  • 150 St. Louis-style pork ribs
  • 20 lbs smoked sausage
  • 60 chicken legs
  • 5 gallons shrimp/chicken gumbo
  • 10 lbs red beans
  • 400 cookies
  • Pies, cupcakes, etc…


BONUS: Hayley’s Famous Cornbread Recipe

  • 1 can whole corn + juice
  • 1 can cream corn
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 box Jiffy cornbread mix
  • 2 Tbsp honey or sugar
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • Mix ingredients in order from top to bottom. Pour into BUTTERED 13X9 baking dish. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

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