Amris Bedford, Pierce County Bright Spot Award (2019) winner and Midway Elementary School student, returned home Saturday from an extended stay at St. Jude’s Childrens Research Hospital in Memphis where she’s been undergoing cancer treatment for several months.

Bedford’s homecoming was a heartwarming affair as her family’s vehicle was escorted down Main Street and College Avenue by fire and police vehicles. Classmates, friends, teachers and community supporters lined College Ave. holding signs and balloons to welcome Bedford home.

A group of Bedford’s friends, with the help of their parents, organized a lemonade and bake sale stand at the corner of College and Main, in front of the Southeast Georgia Regional Agriculture Center (SEGARAC), Saturday morning and raised $3,550 toward Bedford’s medical expenses in just a few hours.

Nancy Perry hosted a Camp Rocks painting event for kids in conjunction with the sale. Children and teens painted inspiring messages on rocks to be hidden around town for others to find.

Team Amris used the event to help raise awareness of the ongoing need for funding in childhood cancer research.

Less than 4 percent of the federal budget for cancer research is reportedly dedicated to childhood cancer. Each day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer in the United States – 15,590 children each year.