By Russell Hixson
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Carved soap chess pieces, a grandfather clock made of newspaper, sand roses, crocheted animals — these are just a few of dozens of art pieces Cushing prisoners are crafting to fight cancer.
Inmates at Cimarron Correctional Facility have been busy crocheting, sketching and sculpting art pieces for a silent auction March 30 at Hunt’s Meadow Pavilion at Lake Carl Blackwell. Proceeds will go toward Relay for Life.
Interest in raising money for cancer began when inmates participated in a competition to design a T-shirt for Cimarron Correctional Facility’s second-annual Hunt for a Cure trail ride to benefit Relay for Life of Cushing, which will also be at Lake Carl Blackwell on March 30.
Even after the competition was over, inmates kept sending art, poetry, handmade jewelry and other art pieces. One inmate spent 17 hours sculpting a Santa Claus statue out of bread, cardboard and rags. Much of the art was used in promotional material for the Hunt for a Cure ride. Other items will be auctioned.
Inmates have now organized a 27-member club to oversee fundraising efforts. Inmate Jimmy Anderlohr said he initially started coming to the meetings to help someone on a project but was drawn in by the group’s goal.
“In life we learn that giving is much more rewarding than receiving,” Anderlohr said. “It makes me feel good.”
So far, inmates have raised approximately $1,200 by offering other inmates portrait services. Inmates can pay a few dollars to have portraits taken with their friends to send home to their families.
Quality Assurance Manager Cheryl Shoemaker said being able to do something positive in the community has been a great morale boost in the prison yard. She said many of the inmates have friends and family members who have been affected by or died of cancer during the inmates’ incarceration.
“It is very healing for them,” Shoemaker said.
Those wanting more information about this year’s Hunt for a Cure events can call 580-307-4582 or search CCF Hunt for a Cure on Facebook. The event will feature a trail ride on horseback, food, an Easter egg hunt, magic show and door prizes.