August 24, 2011 —
They’ll be dancing in the streets, forming a line of humans linked by love and hope in the Town of Highland. They’ll be holding letters that spell the names of loved ones battling cancer, or lost to the increasingly common disease that has claimed far too many lives.
All this will happen on September 18 during the day-long Human Line of Hope event organized by Eldred businessman Lou Monteleone.
Participants are encouraged to join the line and to sponsor a letter, name or word at $10 per letter. Monteleone contributes the letters and all proceeds benefit the Saint Baldrick’s Foundation, which funds research to find cures for childhood cancers. According to the foundation, cancer is the most common disease to kill children in the U.S., with more than 160,000 children diagnosed annually.
Head shavings will be performed by Sophistications Hair Salon and the event will be broadcast live on WSUL 98.3 and WVOS 95.9. Entertainment and raffles will brighten the scene and food will be provided by the Corner Grill. A special “troops and veterans” tribute will also occur.
Following the Line of Hope, a “Conga Against Cancer Across America” will take place, during which participants will set their line in motion as they dance along behind Monteleone’s decorated truck.
The parade route will begin at Monteleone’s shop, The Corner, in Eldred, proceed to the Highland Senior Center along Route 55, then return to its originating point for continuing festivities. That’s classic Monteleone, who also plays Santa Claus as he leads a parade through local towns during the holiday season.
Now in its fourth year, the event has grown to include participants in 10 other states, including Hawaii. Monteleone hopes to expand his conga line across America using social media (see www.facebook.com/HumanLineOfHope  and http://youtu.be/NcrGwirIq9U ) to encourage “pockets of people” in all 50 states to organize similar events.
“We want to remember and support all those kids who are suffering and fighting for their lives,” said Monteleone. “I asked myself what I could do to make a difference, and this is it. I love seeing people together and happy. And it’s really inspiring to watch people having their heads shaved and others forming this human line of hope. It changes your life.”
The fundraiser will take place at The Corner in Eldred, 577 Route 55. To purchase a letter or word or to shave your head, call 845/557-3321. Learn more or donate at www.StBaldricks.org/events/conga . To organize an event in another state, contact Monteleone at email@example.com  or 845/701-2428.