They are hidden in windowsills, beside doorsteps and at the base of signs.
They are hidden everywhere in the spaces where most fail to look, but it’s time to bring them out into the light of awareness.
#662 Rocks Corinth — a local rock painting group — chose last Saturday, Sept. 30, as their “Drop a Rock Day” and the theme was “awareness.”
“We decided to create a ‘drop a rock day’ as something for all to drop a like-minded theme on the same day. We allowed members to vote for what they wanted to paint and the awareness theme won by a landslide,” said Whitney Langston, one of the administrators for the rock painting group.
The admin went on to add that she, and the other administrators, did not want the awareness theme to be based only on cancer.
“There are so many personal stories in our small town that we wanted all their voices to be heard. We explained to them that they were allowed to paint any awareness that was near and dear to their hearts and if they had a personal testimony on why they chose that awareness, they were welcome to share,” Langston said.
The group members responded with awareness brought to a variety of things such as autism, cerebral palsy, diabetes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Tracie Ann Morphis, of Corinth, painted a rock to bring awareness to Kidney Cancer in honor of her husband, Bobby Morphis.
She said, in June 2015, her husband discovered a large knot in his right side and went to the ER. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 Renal Cell Carcinoma, kidney cancer.
“Our life was turned upside down in that instant. A week later he had his right kidney removed. The following February, we discovered the cancer had spread to his lungs and had part of his right lung removed. Last September, he was sitting in his recliner and raised his right arm to stretch and broke the bone!
“We found out then that the cancer had also spread to the bones in his right arm and leg. That same week he had four surgeries in three days to implant rods into his leg, his arm and have a port put in to do treatments. In October, he had to have a rod implanted into his left arm. Keep in mind he was confined to a wheelchair since September. November rolled around and during one of the 14 radiation treatments he fractured his right hip trying to get on the table for treatment. On Dec. 5, he underwent another surgery to have his entire right hip and femur replaced. In less than a year, he has went from being confined to a wheelchair, and not being able to care for himself, to walking only with a cane and babysitting our grandbaby. The masses in his lungs had shown a decrease in size of 30 to 40 percent,” said Morphis.
Dana Smith, of Corinth, chose to paint his rock for autism awareness in honor of his grandson, Haydeen. He said his grandson has severe autism. When Haydeen was born, he had to have a feeding tube until he was nearly two years old. Now, at the age of six, he still has to eat pureed food. He cannot hear or speak any words.
“He's now six and is still as hyper and wide-open as in the beginning. He doesn't sleep at night like most kids do, so that makes it extremely challenging for his parents. (God bless them.) It takes a special kind of parent to deal with this dysfunction and chaos. He has the most beautiful heart and kindness about him with hugs and kisses that melt your heart. I'm one proud papaw and honestly don't know if I'd wanna change him with the exception of that wondering ‘what if,’” said Smith.
Iris Bain, of Blue Mountain, painted rocks to bring awareness to Type 1 diabetes, in honor of her daughter, Emily, and Pregnancy and Infant Loss in honor of her infant son, who died unexpectedly at the age of one month and three days.
“I thank God for my baby bear every day. She is my heart. Life with diabetes is far from easy but I am thankful for having her and being chosen to be her mama, said Bain, regarding her daughter Emily.
Regarding her heartbreaking story dealing with loss of her son, Bain said, “My baby boy was one month and three days old. I will never understand, nor do I want to. I miss him every day and I will never stop loving him. A piece of our hearts will always live outside our bodies. Our sweet baby lives with Jesus now and it's hard every day. Anything is a trigger and there are days I can't function. It caused me horrible PTSD. By the grace of God, we have made it every day to this point and by His grace we will keep trying,” said Bain.
Jeri Vanderford, of Corinth, painted five rocks to bring awareness to important issues that touched her life. She painted a rock for Parkinson's Awareness in honor of her father and created a Domestic Violence Awareness rock in honor of her friend Amanda who was murdered at the age of 29 by her estranged husband.
Vanderford rendered a Breast Cancer Awareness rock in honor of her cousin, Michelle Smith Mitchell, and Cancer Awareness for her cousin, Jorja. She painted an Anorexia Awareness rock in honor of her daughter, who has fought anorexia since she was 12.
Linda Rinehart, of Glen, painted six rocks to bring awareness to medical issues affecting people close to her heart.
She painted: Cerebral Palsy Awareness for her younger brother; Colon Cancer Awareness for her aunt; Costocondritis Awareness and Polycystic Kidney Disease both for her son; Stroke Awareness for her mother and Lung Cancer Awareness for a dear friend of hers.
Finally, Langston, shared her painted rocks - one for Type 2 Diabetes Awareness, in honor of her step-father, Rodney.
“He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes at a young age and it's been slowly destroying his body. Since then, he's survived a heart attack, two open heart surgeries, kidney failure and is now on dialysis and, most recently this year, he had his leg amputated right below the knee. If you ask him today about his experience, he'll tell you ‘it's just a leg!’ He still manages to get out of bed every day and get dressed. He doesn't let his disabilities slow him down. He holds his head high and keeps on moving forward and will not miss a day of church,” said Langston.
Her second rock brings awareness to lymphoma. She painted the rock in honor of her cousin, Ginger Jordan Jones, who is a lymphoma survivor.
“She [Jones] was diagnosed in 2009 and was in remission in 2010. She has always been such an inspiration to me with her faith. She never let the cancer bring her down. When her body was down, she would still find ways to spread the word to others and I have always admired that of her. The strongest woman I know,” said Langston.