The “Hose the House for Hope” fundraiser will kick off at 10:15 a.m. and feature the likes of Rep. Mandi Ballinger (R-Canton), District Attorney Shannon Wallace, police chiefs from Canton, Holly Springs and Woodstock and more, said event organizer Amanda Beckmann.
Proceeds from the event will go to the “Journey of Hope” fund, which benefits Georgia parents traveling to Colorado with hopes of obtaining a non-intoxicating oil form of marijuana available there can help their children with chronic seizures.
The officials have each been charged with raising $1,000 in donations for their participation. To get the money from sponsors they sign up, the officials will don shorts and a T-shirt and do a short lap in the pool at the aquatic center off Interstate 575.
Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock), who is also taking part, said he is hoping the event will aid the families seeking medical refuge out west, and also keep the issue front-of-mind after legislation allowing the oil failed to pass during the 2014 legislative session.
“Anytime the public officials can use their prominence in the community to bring better awareness to life-changing situations, I think it’s our responsibility to do so,” Caldwell said, adding: “I’m certainly excited that we get to not only be silly, but hopefully change lives.”
Beckmann feels the officials are making an important gesture.
“I believe that our leaders can make an enormous impact in the lives of these families by giving of their most valuable assets: their time,” she said.
Among the parents set to benefit from the silliness is Holly Springs mother Corey Lowe, who is heading to Colorado for six months on June 13, with her daughter, Victoria, and is also planning the event. Victoria is a 12-year-old whose chronic seizures have ruled her life and left her stalled in development. She has dozens of seizures a day and cannot speak, Lowe said.
During the 2014 legislative session, the Holly Springs mother and other parents rallied to have Georgia allow a non-psycho-active form of marijuana — the same kind she’ll seek in Colorado — after seeing results in children who’d tried the drug. But the families were devastated when Georgia’s House and Senate couldn’t come to an agreement on which version of a bill for the purpose should pass and nothing passed.
While Lowe is overwhelmed with the number of officials showing their support to her cause, she says she isn’t happy to have to shake up her family and go to Colorado to give her daughter a chance at a better life.
In the six months she plans to be there, Lowe will miss her husband’s birthday, her son’s 10th birthday, the first day of school for the rest of her children and other milestones.
“It’s not right,” she said. “We’re having to separate our family for medical reasons. My other kids already get the short end of the stick because (Victoria) needs so much attention. Now they’re losing their mom.”
But after the legislation’s failure to pass, Lowe still has support from some who work with the law in Georgia. In addition to the others, Rep. Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs) and state Sen. Bruce Thompson (R-White) have also signed on to the take a dip next Saturday, as have Superior Court Judge David Cannon and more, organizers said. Rep. Allen Peake (R-Macon), who led the charge for Georgia to allow the oil this year, also committed. Peake started the Journey of Hope Fund, which pays for six months of rent to the approved families, Lowe said.
Some officials have gone a step further to help; Lowe said the car she will take to Colorado is coming from Sen. Butch Miller (R-Gainesville), and Peake donated $500 personally.
With the outpouring of support — and even regret — from legislators after the session, Lowe said she expects the General Assembly to make moves on allowing the drug during the 2015 session, and she hopes to be able to come home. At the very least, she hopes for a bill to pass early granting amnesty to families who get the oil out of state and possess it in Georgia.