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Davis County community theater spreads hope to cancer patients, families

Pay it Forward:{ }Davis County community theater spreads hope to cancer patients and their families (Photo: KUTV)
Pay it Forward: Davis County community theater spreads hope to cancer patients and their families (Photo: KUTV)
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A Davis County theater is giving back through the performing arts.

Each show that runs at Hopebox Theatre in Kaysville is dedicated to helping someone who is battling cancer.

"I am a four-time cancer survivor myself," said Jan Williams, the founder of Hopebox Theatre.

Williams was inspired to start the theater during her own cancer journey. During one of her treatments, a group of her theater students visited her and sang some of her favorite songs.

"I felt something that I've never felt before," she said.

She wanted to bring that hope to others; so Hopebox Theatre was born.

Each show gathers donations for a cancer patient and their family.

"To be able to feel alive and to feel something is incredible," Williams said.

Each recipient is remembered throughout the show's run. The cast remembers them at each rehearsal and they are often incorporated into the stage's sets.

And at the theater, the recipient's name is placed on the Wall of Hope.

"When your name gets up on our Wall of Hope, it'll never be forgotten," said Williams.

On closing night, the recipient attends the show as the guest of honor and gets brought up on stage to receive recognition, gifts, and donations.

The show that runs through August 27th is "Footloose." Brian Washburn is the Wall of Hope recipient.

"About 7, 8 weeks ago, I was diagnosed with my 10th tumor," said Washburn.

Seeing the show will be an extra special event for him; two of his children are in the cast. They have sent him videos of the cast doing cheers for him and more.

They have also written words of encouragement on the show's sets.

"I have a theater family that's wrapping their arms around me and cheering for me," Washburn.

In addition to this hope and encouragement from the cast and crew, Washburn says the donations from some ticket sales and collected at the show will help him during his cancer battle.

"Just to have that encouragement is a huge comfort," he said. "So I'm very grateful for that."

Mountain America Credit Union donated $500 to Hopebox Theatre to continue to spread hope to people like Washburn.

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Donations to the Wall of Hope recipients come from a small portion of ticket sales and donations from those who attend the show. People can also donate online at the Hopebox Theatre website.