honored at Relay for Life event
Wanda English Burnett, Editor
Those participating in the 12th Annual American Cancer Societys
Relay for Life of Ripley County were blessed with perfect weather,
a good crowd and enough enthusiasm to truly wipe cancer from the
face of the earth.
The 24-hour relay took place Saturday, June 16 and Sunday June
17 at the Batesville High School track.
Just before the impressive kickoff that highlights cancer survivors,
the crowd was welcomed and Mary Margaret Moorhead of Versailles,
received an award named in her honor, the first of its kind. Each
year the award will be given to an outstanding volunteer. Moorhead
has been a volunteer for the American Cancer Society (ACS) for
over 40 years and says that is her greatest accomplishment.
Area 12 Director of ACS, Amy Eden, took the podium and began,
The woman I am going to talk about is known by many of you.
And...to each of you she means something different. Words
used to describe the first recipient were: beautiful, charming,
intelligent, loving, devoted, generous, and more. That set the
stage for Moorhead to be the person to receive this award. I
am shocked! Moorhead exclaimed, as she graciously accepted.
Moorhead has and is an avid supporter of the ACS and has served
in numerous positions over the years. She was a member of the
Great Lakes Division Board of Directors from 1997-2005; National
Assembly Lay Division Delegate (1997-2005); member of the National
Health Promotions Advisory Group (2003-2006); in 2002 and 2006
was an ambassador to the Celebration on the Hill in Washington
DC; member of the Nominating & Recruiting Task (2003-2005);
recipient of St. George National award in 1992; charter member
of the Indianapolis Hope Lodge Board of Governors; past chair
of the former Indiana Division Board, and member of the Division
That impressive list is only a fraction of Moorheads lifetime
accomplishments. She was named Ripley County Citizen of the Year
in 2002, was an educator, along with her husband William (Gus),
for many years in the South Ripley school district and has held
many positions at her church, Versailles First Baptist.
A true community leader, Moorhead and husband Gus, have established
a scholarship fund through the Ripley County Community Foundation
to promote their love of education.
Saying the highlight of her tenure as a board member for the ACS
was when Relay for Life was born in Ripley County. This signature
event was formed and has since brought several hundred thousand
dollars to cancer research.
Moorhead was reluctant to accept the accolades that accompanied
the award and in her gracious style, she turned the tide and began
praising others who work so hard to promote the eradication of
a disease that has affected thousands.
Excitement mounted in the crowd as she told how Jac-Cen-Del, South
Ripley and Milan schools alone raised almost $30,000 for this
years relay. The total on bank night last week was well
over $100,000. The total reported on Tuesday of this week by Carla
Stenger was $131,800. This is the most Ripley County has ever
raised and the amount will go even higher as donations continue
to come in.
We are making a difference... relay is working... this county
is working, Moorhead encouraged the group with her final
chant, Go, Fight, Win!
Colors were presented by the Color Guard from the Military Department
of Indiana Ceremonial Unit, who led the victory/survivors lap
around the track. Some were in wheelchairs or riding on golf carts,
but all were walking proud, as they made a statement, I
am a survivor. The National Anthem played by the Eureka
Band, completed the first part of the 24-hour event as balloons
were released into the clear blue summer sky.
For the next 24 hours a variety of walkers and runners from area
teams took their positions on the track, stamping out cancer with
each step on the pavement.
Survivors were treated to breakfast provided by the Sherman House
of Batesville. There they heard from Shawna Farina, a young lady
who is a second generation cancer survivor. She told how her mother
was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was in the first grade.
Then history repeated itself and when her own daughter was in
the first grade, she received the same bad news.
Twelve mammograms, numerous ultra sounds and consultations with
doctors would bring the final results for Farina - she had cancer.
She had multiple surgeries and began radical treatments of chemotherapy
that made her deathly ill. Mom, are you gonna die?
is a question she knew she had to fight. Whenever I would
think of giving up, I thought of my three children and husband,
she noted. That made her fight all the harder.
Today Farina is an advocate of Relay for Life. She admits she
got hooked on the event and has had lots of fun at
the family oriented event that promotes life. Relays are
my life, she told the packed crowd. She said relays are
instant family, encouraging everyone to keep up the hard
Last October Farina was to get the surprise of her life when Ty
Pennington of Extreme Makeover Home Edition arrived on her doorstep.
Not only did her family get a home makeover and a fabulous vacation
to Orlando, FL, the famous TV show held a five day Relay for Life
that benefited the ACS $36,000. I was so mad because they
were doing a relay without me, she laughed, saying she was
able to get in on the event at the end when she and her family
returned from vacation.
Farina says shes not sure of the exact date of the rerun
of her family on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, but thought it
could air again on Sunday, June 24.
Ending her speech on a positive note, she said, Its
not if but when we find a cure for cancer,
encouraging those participating in the relay to keep on fighting.
From a variety of musical presentations, silent auction, cornhole
tournament, luminary service, fashion show, to the final lap and
closing ceremony, a group of people in Ripley County have changed
the course of those who will or have been diagnosed with cancer.
This years relay was chaired by Karen Wallpe with Melissa
Lecher as co-chairperson. A committee of 36 worked tirelessly
to bring the event to life this year.
Relay for Life is the ACS signature event to raise awareness and
funding to fight cancer. For more information call 1-800-ACS-2345
or go online at www.cancer.org.
WANDA ENGLISH BURNETT PHOTO
Pictured from left are members of Mary Margaret Moorheads
family who were in attendance as she received the first
award named in her honor for all her work with the American
Cancer Society at the 12th Annual Relay for Life held June
16 & 17 at Batesville: grandson, Bradley Moorhead, daughter
Molly Moorhead of Loveland, OH, son Rob Moorhead of Aurora;
and daughter Jane Rogers of Versailles, along with Moorhead,
holding her award and flowers. Husband William (Gus) and
daughter Jody Jordan of Naples, FL, were not able to attend