|Two reindeer received a lot of attention Saturday after the Batesville holiday parade. The reindeer were eating and taking a break, resting up for next month’s big journey. MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO|
|The Quilter’s Nook , a new business in Versailles, held their grand opening and ribbon cutting Tuesday. The new quilt store offers creative quilting supplies and materials, as well as several different classes.. LINDA CHANDLER PHOTO|
|Milan kindergarten teacher Tara Obermeyer adjusts the pilgrim hat on Chloe Andrew while her classmates Jacob Sterwerf, Noah Ellison, Brycin Osborne and Naomi Holt wait. MARY MATTINGLY PHOTO|
Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two part series of local people who have had recent hardship in their lives, yet still find blessings in between. The first part of this series is published in the Osgood Journal, November 25.
Kasey McAdams is just four years old and has already gone through two 15 hour brain surgeries. The daughter of Ann Marie and Roger McAdams of Versailles, Kasey was diagnosed when she was just 2 with Ependymoma, a cancer that one in 11 people with a brain tumor develops. Doctors did not give the couple much hope at the time. But 98 percent of the softball sized tumor was removed in 2013, and Kasey woke up talking, much to the joy of her parents.
Kasey McAdams playing in her front yard during the summer 2013.
These brain tumors though won’t go away. Kasey’s latest surgery this past April has left more permanent side effects. The little girl has lost some hearing and feeling on the right side of her face. She can’t see in sunlight nor can she play in the heat due to her illness; however, her spirits are good, her parents report. “We go day by day, and take each day as a gift from God,” Roger McAdams said.
More than anything, the couple basks in their daughter’s smiles. “I’m thankful for her health as of now,” Ann Marie said, and added it’s the little things. “It’s overwhelming to hear her little giggle and watch her run.” Kasey had to learn to walk all over again after each surgery. She was deathly afraid of water (because of her PICC line) but now has a bathing buddy which makes the ordeal much better.
In between chemotherapy, which is scheduled for the next 18 months, Kasey tries to be a normal 4 year old and attends preschool. She makes it most days, her mom said. More than anything they are overwhelmed with family and community support. It’s been a great help, financially and emotionally. There have been benefits to help the family cope with medical costs. (McAdams is on disability and Ann Marie is having trouble finding a job with flexible hours to accommodate her daughter’s care.) A softball benefit was held several months ago that not only helped with finances, but lifted their spirits, plus there has been a motorcycle ride, a spaghetti supper by Tyson United Methodist Church and another benefit in Holton. Others who have known them have done many acts of kindness. Make A Wish Foundation provided Kasey and her family with a trip to Disney to meet her favorite princesses. “It was amazing. She absolutely loved it!” Ann Marie said.
On Dec. 2, she goes for a MRI. The family is praying for it to be clear. — Mary Mattingly
In September, we told you about Stephanie Copeland of Versailles, who was to donate one of her kidneys to her aunt Marie Hager of Cincinnati. Marie was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and had been on dialysis for several years while continuing to maintain a full time job. As her condition digressed, Marie was put on a transplant list and waited for a match. Her kidneys were non-functional and dialysis was keeping her alive. “She couldn’t live without a new kidney,” her sister Claudette Day explained. “She was dying.”
After much testing, it was determined that Stephanie was a perfect match! On September 16, as Marie’s failing kidneys were disconnected in one operating room at Christ Hospital, Stephanie lay on a table in another operating room where one of her two healthy kidneys was removed from her body and rushed into surgery to be transplanted to her aunt. Family members maintained a prayerful vigil throughout the 8 hour operation until they finally learned that the procedure was complete and the two were in recovery. Stephanie’s left kidney was now functioning in Marie’s body. Now they both need to heal. Doctors told Marie that the first six months were crucial. Stephanie’s mom, husband Keith, and two sons have helped care for her the past two months as her body adjusts to functioning with only one kidney. Christ Hospital surgeons say it may take Stephanie a year to fully recover. She has returned to work part-time.
The recovery hasn’t been without setbacks and a couple of real scares, according to Claudette. “But for now,” she says, “They’re both just doing excellent! We’re just so excited! And I’m so very proud of my daughter.”
There is always a chance that Marie’s body could reject her new life giving organ. For now, though, doctors feel positive about the prognosis as her new kidney is operating as a healthy filter for her body. Marie is subjected to a grueling six hour testing process every other day as doctors must be sure the new kidney continues to adapt. She must wear gloves and a surgical mask to and from her hospital visits to protect against germs.
Unable to care for herself, Marie depends on Christ’s in-home nursing staff and family members. She has a small insurance policy that helps pay for her household needs and is expected to be able to return to her job in three to six months. Marie will take anti-rejection medication for the rest of her life.
Throughout her painstaking journey, Marie has given credit for her good fortune to God. Now that the holidays are approaching, Marie is feeling a bit blue that she can’t be a part of even a small gathering. Doctors have warned her that any infection she could encounter has the potential to be lethal.
“She’s disappointed, but she knows she’s already gotten the best Christmas present she could ask for. Stephanie gave her what no one else could. She gave her her life back!” Claudette exclaimed. An account has been set up at Main Source bank for anyone wishing to make a donation to the family.
— Sandy Day Howard
Despite having a teenage son suffering from kidney failure, Rhonda VanSickle feels blessed this Thanksgiving.
She is blessed for a number of reasons, not just for her three children, but for being a good match for her 15 year old son who is in dire need of a kidney. A transplant operation is in the works for January, another blessing. It could save his life, and take him off the three day a week dialysis he started recently.
The VanSickles have been through a transplant before for Cameron, some 10 years ago. But that time it was with husband Kevin’s kidney, another half-match for Cameron. Since then, the kidney has developed cysts and is failing.
Nonetheless, Rhonda says, “We are so blessed. I don’t know any parent who would not do what we are doing. We really see it as a blessing. “
Rhonda, a 1993 Jac-Cen-Del graduate, however, is glad this time she is on the patient side and not the waiting room. “To have two on the operating table at the same time, it was the darkest time of my life,” she says. “I have been in his (her husband’s) shoes so now I worry about my husband and how he will feel as he waits.” She admits the mother in her is scared of just not being there for her son when he comes out of surgery. But she’ll take her cue from her wise son, who she calls “phenomenal” and “my hero.” “You don’t hear him complain. Ever. He has the strongest faith in God. He reminds me to pray and that worry is a waste of emotion.” Recovery for a transplant donor is often worse on the donor. It took her husband six weeks. She is scheduled to take off work from her job in Versailles at Family Connections for three months, just in case.
A sophomore at South Decatur High School, Cameron has missed a lot of school in the past couple of months. Dialysis makes him very tired. The kidney problem was caused by something he was born with called congenital nephrotic syndrome. It’s a rare disease,and he also has a heart defect. But his mother says, if you looked at the six-foot tall, blonde teenager, you’d never know he was not healthy. The syndrome has also caused lung problems for Cameron. She recalls when he was born, the doctors said he wouldn’t live through the year. “I never accepted it,”Rhonda said. “I took him home and loved him and he thrived. No it wasn’t easy, but he is here and it paid off!” “The goal this time is for the kidney to last a lifetime! “And it could,” she said optimistically. There have been a few complications which set the transplant date to January, but if his mother’s kidney isn’t accepted, he does have an uncle who is also a good match or he would be put on the donor’s list.
The couple, who live in Decatur County, have an 18-year-old daughter who is anxious for her mother’s and brother’s surgery, and 10-year-old son, who doesn’t understand the whole thing, which is good, Rhonda says. The VanSickles are not bitter or resentful to go through this hardship, just glad they can help. — Mary Mattingly
Board names South Ripley Elementary principal
South Ripley Elementary School will have a new principal next year, and it’s a familiar face to the SR school community.
The board announced at the regular board meeting on Nov. 17 that Amy Linkel will fill the vacancy when long-time school principal Mark Collier leaves at the end of the school year. Linkel, the current vice-principal at South Ripley Elementary, will assume the role, effective July 1, 2015. “With her leadership South Ripley will continue to grow,” said Collier.
Left, SR board president Tim Taylor with Amy and Scott Linkel, and their two children, Brady and Brionna.
The board approved a two year contract. “I am very honored to accept the position. And I am very honored to follow the great man, Mark Collier. He has taught me so many things and has always treated me as an equal,” she told the board. She has been the vice principal for over eight years and was a teacher at South Ripley for five years.
New transportation, buildings supt.
Bill Bruns resigned as Transportation and Buildings and Grounds Supt. for the school corporation and his last day was November 5. Bruns had been the superintendent for three years. Gil Landwehr was unanimously accepted by the board to fill the position.
The board approved wages for several positions. As of January 1, 2015 the extracurricular bus driver will be paid $11.50 per hour starting from the time they get the bus to the time the bus is returned to its original spot. This revenue will come from the transportation fund. There has been an increase in the substitute pay. No matter if you are a high school graduate or a certified teacher, each pay increment increased $5. The pay for sub aides was raised to $60 and for substitute teachers, ranging from $65 to $75. The board approved a $1,500 pay increase for the elementary principal making the yearly salary $84,500, and for the elementary vice principal, $69,500 for the 2015-2016 school year. The athletic director position will also receive a pay increase to make the position’s salary $74,000.
At the meeting high school principal, Dr. David Wintin, was proud to announce Isabella Gramaglia as the DAR Good Citizen for the school year. There were 27 nominees from the South Ripley senior class. Gramaglia is active with extra curricular activities and academics such as running for the cross country team, first chair in her section in band and being head majorette, to just name a few. She is the daughter of Vince and Lori Gramaglia and plans to attend a four-year college and major in journalism.
The band will be traveling to Ohio to compete in a band competition. The high school moderate class will travel to West Harrison, Ind. for an overnight stay at Camp Higher Ground January 11th-13th for the Special Olympics.
A transfer of $120,000 will be taken out of the transportation operating fund into the Rainy Day Fund.
South Ripley School Corporation, as a whole, has been named an “A” school by the state’s accountability grade system. Elementary and junior high schools both received “A” grades, and the the high school, a “C.”
Health insurance, benefits
There has been a cost increase of 8.5 percent in health insurance. Five percent came as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Open enrollment is offered during November for employees. Randy McIntosh spoke on behalf of the Non-certified and Administration Salary and Benefits Committee and recommended the following: Non-Certified Employees: 1.5% hourly increase retroactive to July 1, 2014. Increase monthly board contributions for health insurance in Plans E and F.
Alumni basketball game
South Ripley Alumni Basketball Game will be November 29 , with about 50 alumni planning to participate.
Those attending were: Lana Miller, Steve Patrick, Becky Turner, Carol Holzer, Tim Taylor, Gil Landwehr, Merrit Alcorn, Jeff Cornett, Isabella Gramaglia and family, Rob Moorhead, Randy McIntosh, Amy Linkel and family, Mark Collier and Dr. David Wintin.