By Julie Huss
---- — LONDONDERRY — A local church is raising money to “flush” out cancer.
Members of the St. Jude Parish are asking people to “flush a friend” to support the upcoming Greater Derry Londonderry Relay for Life event.
That includes a bright purple toilet strategically placed in yards around town.
St. Jude members Trish Woodward and Bonnie Roberts have supported the Relay for Life for about seven years, part of the eight-member One Body of Hope team, based at the Londonderry parish.
This year, the talk turned to toilets when the women wanted a new, fun way to raise money.
Woodward asked brother-in-law Dave Pellerin of Pellerin Plumbing in Keene if he had a spare toilet he could donate to the cause.
It turns out he had a whole garage full of them.
“He gave me my choice of three, all different,” Woodward said.
She ended up choosing a simple model that was eventually painted bright pink and purple, the colors of the St. Jude Relay team logo.
People could have friends or family “toileted” and the potty would appear on the front lawn.
Woodward said people who want friends or neighbors “toileted” remain anonymous.
Those getting the porcelain throne placed on their yard can either pay $10 to have it removed, or $15 to have it placed on another lawn of their choice.
The church also sells squares of toilet paper for $1 each to support the Relay for Life team.
The toilet project started last month and Woodward said it’s very popular with not only St. Jude parishioners but everyone else.
“Everyone thought it was very cute,” she said.
Royal Lane resident Deb Johnson was the first to receive the toilet. She had already been graced with a flock of fundraising flamingos the week before.
Woodward said Johnson was a good sport. Now, the potty is making its rounds several times a week. It’s not only in Londonderry, but it has also been seen Litchfield and Manchester.
Woodward said St. Jude has always felt strongly about supporting those battling cancer. It’s also good to have some fun, too.
“Most people are in hysterics,” she said. “One person, when she got the toilet, she put it in her garden.”
Woodward said she and Roberts take on toilet transport duty themselves, moving it from place to place.
“We pick it up and drop it off,” she said.
Woodward said the toilet was scheduled to be at the Concerts on the Common this week to help drum up support for the Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society.
The Greater Derry Londonderry Relay for Life is set for June 21 at Pinkerton Academy’s track. The 18-hour relay event begins at 6 p.m.
Anyone interested in “flushing a friend” to support cancer patients and research can call Woodward at 437-7026 or Roberts at 426-5438.