With what would have been her daughter’s graduation day approaching next month, Andi Reno said that the 10th annual Anna’s Army Day, scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Friday in the center of Hillsboro, will be the last one.
“She was a senior this year and I just felt it in my heart. I’m just ready to not be sad. As a family it’s time to move forward,” Andi said Wednesday. “It’s not like it’s something we won’t think of on a daily basis, but to have a day dedicated to it, it brings up so many emotions, and we don’t want to keep dwelling on the sadness.”
That does not mean, Andi said, that she, husband Justin Reno, their daughters and others will stop raising funds to fight cystic fibrosis, the disease that took 8-year-old Anna’s life in 2008.
“The plan is now to go back to the very beginning fundraising days where we are Team Anna’s Army. It will be the same way, there just will not be an event at home on the courthouse lawn,” Andi said. “We will continue to be Team Anna’s Army.”
Since its inception well before Anna’s passing, Team Anna’s Army has raised somewhere around $200,000 to battle cystic fibrosis.
But Anna’s Army Day is not just about Anna. Two years ago, a portion of proceeds from the sale of new Anna’s Army T-shirts benefited local youngsters Abi Lykins and Anna Fleming, who were battling leukemia. Last year the event gave $1,300 to the family of Amanda Carter, who was battling colon cancer.
This year there is another new T-shirt in a weathered maroon color and a portion of those sales will benefit Samantha Jameson, a young West Union resident who has battled cystic fibrosis, is a double lung transplant recipient, has lost an eye, and is now fighting cancer.
Friday’s event will begin with the sale of tacos that Andi said were really popular last year, other items and a silent auction starting at 3 p.m. There are usually bounce houses and other activities for kids, and a deejay will help keep things lively. At 5 p.m. there will be the reciting of the national anthem and a prayer, then at 5:30 p.m. the final Anna’s Army Day ribbon-cutting that leads into a walk around the uptown Hillsboro area will take place. After the walk the silent auction will be wrapped up and then the day will conclude around 7 p.m.
Andi said Friday will likely be emotional for some of Anna’s classmates, but it will not be the last time the Hillsboro High School class of 2018 will have a chance to publicly say so long to Anna. Andi said that at this year’s graduation ceremonies the Hillsboro City Schools are going to present an honorary diploma to Anna. Andi said Anna will also have a seat with her classmates, with her picture on it, and that she has already purchased Anna’s cap and gown.
In a recent Facebook post, Andi wrote, “Remember all… this is our final year for Anna’s Army Day!! Let’s make it a memorable one!!”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or firstname.lastname@example.org.