Vandals target Columbia sculpture recognizing cancer survivors

By Taylor Kearns - bio | email

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Police are trying to figure out who vandalized three statues at a Columbia park.

Several were ripped out of the ground. One is still missing. While they might look like just another piece of public art, to the group that put them there, they mean so much more. "If you will walk through them, through that arch, you can see from the diagnoses to the dance of jubilation - when they have had a cure for it," stated art consultant Dot Ryall.

But vandals ripped three figures out of the ground. "It hurts, and not just me, but all the survivors who are recognized there," explained Ryall.

Ryall was one of the champions of this sculpture eight years ago. It's named "Cancer -- There's Hope." It's the centerpiece of a park dedicated to survivors of the disease.

"Because our cancer rate in South Carolina is tremendous, and we have so many people that are such champions for life," expressed Ryall.

The two adult figures have been recovered but the child is still missing. Columbia's Parks and Recreation said the restoration and re-installation won't be easy or cheap. "We still have to go through the process of getting those back to the original condition and then paying to get them installed again," said Ray Borders Gray with Columbia's Parks and Recreation.

Until then, the sculpture and Ryall will be without a resolution. "The piece at the end says you can survive," he continued, "You can have cancer and survive. That's a meaningful part and people need to realize that."

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