National News

Why is there a pink barge on the Mississippi River?

Posted June 5, 2018 2:07 p.m. EDT

— If you're out by the Mississippi River in the Quad Cities, there's a barge that stands out. That's because it's pink.

It's called the Big Hope I, and it's the only pink barge on any US waterway that does more than just transport goods. A portion of the profits goes towards cancer research. So far the barge has brought in more than $860,000.

It's owned by Ceres Barge Line, and the money goes specifically towards the Mary Crowley Cancer Research fund.

60 truck loads of corn were loaded onto the river standout, all grown within 50 miles of the Quad Cities.

Different farmers unload their crop, and Alex Valant loads the barge.

"I was a little shocked when I climbed up the tower this morning. I knew it was going to be pink, but this is pink!" says Valant.

"The big hope one was launched with the intention to raise awareness for cancer research," says River Gulf Grain Merchandiser Brett Esbum.

The Big Hope I means a lot to these workers.

"I have two aunts, one has stage three Hodgkin Lymphoma. The other one has melanoma, all within a month from each other. It was a hard time there," says Valant.

But you don't have to be a grain expert to feel a connection with this pink beauty. Boat watchers from afar feel it too.

"It's definitely a worthy cause to do that, especially because my mom had breast cancer," says a Moline barge viewer.

"I think it will just give them a moment to look back and take a moment to appreciate people in their lives," says Valant.

The hope is millions will stand and watch Big Hope I as she makes her voyage to the Gulf of Mexico over the next few weeks.