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A LABOR OF LOVE

by Lenise Willis

Achild’s perspective adds so much more magic to life. Christmas is more thrilling. Valentine’s Day is filled with innocent dreams of the cute boy or girl in class. And selecting that right cutout Valentine is pivotal. As we grow older, life “” and love “” gets more complicated. Recounting this journey of endearment is Love Letters, which also just so happens to be a local fundraiser “” another notion of love.

The play features a couple whose relationship begins with the passing of a simple note in the third grade and continues through adulthood. Their letters document their blossoming friendship, romantic entanglement and time spent apart. It’s a sweet reminder of the innocence of children and the growth of affection. It’s also a wonderful reminder for organizer Bob McHone of his late wife, Jeannette, who passed away in 2002 from ovarian cancer.

“There are times when Melissa (a character in the play) talks to me and chastises me, and it reminds me of Jeannette,” said McHone, a professional actor who’s assuming the lead role in the play.

That’s one reason why McHone chose Love Letters as the production for his fundraiser for No to O, a local organization of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. He also has always wanted to produce it because “it’s a very entertaining production “¦ and it brings tears to people’s eyes.”

McHone says he wanted to find a way to both honor his wife’s memory and help others in a similar fight. It’s been a decade since his wife’s passing, and yet McHone can still vividly remember the day he sat by his wife’s hospital bed, and she began calling out to him, saying she couldn’t breath.

“That’s the last thing my wife said to me,” McHone said. “I want every dime we make to go to fighting ovarian cancer in memory of my wife.”

He was turned on to No to O thanks to a member of his church who also happened to be on the organization’s board. McHone then rallied a troop of volunteers with the help of Maureen Daly, director of Twin City Stage, and got to work.

“I’m so grateful and it’s so humbling,” McHone said. “These people “” there’s no way I can thank them enough.” !

WANNA go?

Love Letters runs Friday, Feb. 20, through Sunday, Feb. 22, at the Loma Hopkins Theatre at Summit School, 2100 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. Tickets are $12. For tickets go to eventbrite.com and search for Love Letters. To donate to No to O visit notoo.org.

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