Local team to walk for MS

A change in perspective has made this year’s MS-Walk in Indianapolis different for Linda Damrow. The Crawfordsville resident was diagnosed with the disease in 2008 , and her team of walkers have participated in the MS Walk  for just a few years. The walk helps raise funds for a cure for the disease. 

Damrow, who is 57 years old, said when she first walked in the MS-Walk, it was because she was hoping to find a cause and a cure for the disease. She had hope that she could be cured. But a scene she saw two years ago at the event changed her perspective.

“I put off for many years participating in the MS Walk because, truthfully, I was scared. I was terrified to actually go there and see just how bad MS can be,” Damrow admitted. 

While trying to find a place to park two years ago, Damrow said she was looking at the passer-byers and kept finding herself trying to pick out the MS patients. 

“One very large team walked past my truck,” Damrow recalled. “The MS’er was easy to spot because she was in a wheelchair. She was also only about 11 or 12 years old. Reality slapped me in the face. I knew that I had nothing to complain about.”

Damrow said she is blessed today since there have been advances in the treatment of MS. However, the image of the little girl has made her re-evaluate where she is in life compared to a young child with a full life ahead.

“I wasn’t caught in the grasp of MS until my late forties, but this young girl already was inflicted,” Damrow said. “She would be missing out on so many important common place life events, like high school proms and eventually having children, because of MS.”

Nine years have passed since Damrow was diagnosed. She remembers at the time her doctor predicted a cure would be found within 10 years. Today, she realizes the probability of being cured of the disease is slipping away. Although, she has seen improvements in the treatment of the disease. She is now on medicines that have slowed the symptoms, but still has painful flair ups. 

Although the National Multiple Sclerosis Society has helped discovering MS treatments and finding the genes related to MS, the cause of MS has yet to be identified.

Damrow’s 15-person team is named Savage Mom after the way she cares for those she loves and is willing to do anything for them. This year’s team is comprised of relatives from Tennessee, Indiana and some co-workers from her place of employment, Cato Fashions.

Damrow and her team will be participating in Saturday’s MS-Walk Indianapolis. The event starts and ends at the White River State Park’s Celebration Plaza. 

The team is raising funds for the National MS Society research. Anyone wanting to make a donation can drop a check off at Cato Fashion. Or contact Damrow by calling 765-376-3163. Checks need to be made payable to the National MS Society.

Clinic to honor dentist, meal volunteers

Dr. Bryan Welch empathizes with the patients who hop into his dental chair at the Montgomery County Free Clinic.

“These people are working hard, and yet they still have a lot of needs,” he said.

Welch and his wife, Kristina, are among clinic volunteers receiving the 2017 Golden Apple award, which recognize volunteers for exceptional dedication.

A dinner and ceremony is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday in Detchon Center at Wabash College.

Awards will also be presented to four Franciscan Health Crawfordsville employees who help with Meals on Wheels, another clinic service.

The Golden Apple carries on the Christian Nursing Service’s tradition of providing medical and dental care for uninsured county residents with household incomes at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.

Kristina Welch began seeing patients at the clinic while working as a dental hygienist for Dr. Janet Rucker. Rucker is the clinic’s dentist.

Bryan Welch, who practices in Attica, soon tagged along.

“I really loved the sound of what the clinic was doing and the population it was serving,” he said.

The Welches drive down a few times a month on days when their Attica office is closed.

“It’s nice to have both of them here at the same time because she can clean teeth and he can check and make sure everything is okay,” said Michele Thompson, the clinic’s nurse manager.

Awards will also be presented to four Franciscan Health Crawfordsville employees who prepare the foods for Meals on Wheels, another clinic service.

Janie Rader, Rita Curry, Toni O’Toole and Beth Simpson all work in the cafeteria, where the prepare and package food for local senior citizens. 

The women often deliver the meals themselves when volunteers aren’t available.

“They consider Meals on Wheels a mission and go over and above to meet the needs of our clients,” coordinator Isobel Arvin said.

Saturday’s event begins with a social hour at 6 p.m., followed by a stir-fry buffet dinner prepared by Bon Appetit.

Judge Harry Siamas, clinic president, is the emcee.

Waynetown man accused of child exploitation

A Waynetown man is accused of child exploitation after confessing to leaving a recording device in a bathroom used by his girlfriend’s daughter, according to police.

Arthur N. Fisher, 33, Waynetown, was booked in to the Montgomery County Jail Thursday evening. He was later released after posting a $10,000 bond.

Earlier Thursday, Fisher’s girlfriend came to Waynetown Town Hall to show a deputy marshal what she’d just discovered on a recording device, town marshal Kyle Proctor said.

The video had “inappropriate materials on it exploiting children,” he said. 

The woman reportedly identified Fisher as the person responsible for the recordings.

Deputy marshal Willie Gleason executed a search warrant on a cell phone and the victim’s residence. Both officers then interviewed Fisher, who allegedly admitted to capturing the video.

The recordings took place over the course of about a month, Proctor said.

Proctor said police have not found any videos of other children.

“At this point, we don’t believe he sold or showed it to anyone else,” he said.

The case has been forwarded to the Montgomery County Prosecutor’s Office.

Survivors, caregivers to lace up for Relay

As she makes last minute preparations for this weekend’s Relay for Life of Montgomery County, Hannah Cook thinks of all her family and friends who have gone through the battle.

Her father battled melanoma about six years ago. She’s also lost her grandfather, an aunt and an uncle to cancer and has close friends fighting the disease.

“So it’s very near and dear to my heart, and...you don’t realize what people go through until it hits close to home to you,” said Cook, community manager for Relay for Life.

Survivors, caregivers and supporters will gather on the Lane Place grounds Saturday to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Eleven teams are participating this year.

After two years at the Boys and Girls Club of Montgomery County, participants wanted more visibility and move the event closer to downtown.

This year’s theme is “TV shows.” Teams will decorate their campsites with a nod to “Gilligan’s Island” and other favorites from the tube.

Opening ceremonies kick off at 4 p.m. with Girl Scouts Troop #425 leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

That’s followed by the survivors lap with current and former cancer patients and their caregivers. Survivors will also gather for a dinner.

In the “Miss Relay” contest, men will model women’s clothing and collect money from the audience – with whoever raising the most receiving the crown. 

The activity promotes the society’s “Look Good Feel Better” campaign, where licensed cosmetologists give cancer patients a makeover, allowing them to spend time with others who are in treatment.

Other entertainment includes Zumba and performances from Dance By Deborah, Northridge Middle School choir and Joe Sanford.

The evening wraps up with the 9 p.m. luminiaria ceremony, remembering those who have died and honoring survivors.

Closing ceremonies are at 10 p.m.

Cook said organizers are on track to surpass last year’s fundraising total of $72,000. The money supports research, patient care services and education and prevention care initiatives.

A Good Laugh

Chaos will fill the stage Friday when Unnecessary Farce, a comedy that will make you laugh until you hurt, opens at the Vanity Theater.

Written by Paul Slade Smith, this is more than the usual farce. Beyond the expected physical comedy, innuendos, reversal of expectations and people behaving in ways you never expected, there is a real story line.

As the lights come up we find two cops in a motel room, setting up a sting operation on the room next door. Money has gone missing from the city coffers. A lot of money — $16 million to be exact. Using the new CPA as bait the police seek to catch the mayor admitting he has embezzled the funds.

Then the chaos begins. The young male cop has a thing for the accountant. The rookie female cop is beyond inept and yet, oh, so eager. The sting is interrupted by the arrival of the head of city hall security, then the mayor, a Scottish hit man, and finally, the mayor’s wife.

The action does not move as much as run, from one room to the other, in and out of the bathrooms, closets and hallway. Confusion as to who is who, chaos about which room is which, and the general falling of humans in crisis leads to pandemonium.

Still the story goes deeper than just this normal comedy formula as we discover that there is another, deeper side to each of these characters which makes them human, without distracting from the comedy.

A delightful cast brings these unique characters to life. Brayden Meyer plays the young cop who lacks the ability to even finish sentences. Kara Edie makes the role of Billie, the rookie cop, move from one of total ineptitude to that of a person struggling to become someone of value. Robert Tower walks on stage like a Secret Service agent out to establish both his importance and his authority, right before we find him cowering by the bed, crying out to heaven.

Two “retired” Vanity Players animate the roles of Mayor Meekly and his wife, Mary. Steven Hester’s mayor seems not only meek but in his dotage, while Bonnie Yund’s wife of the mayor seems nothing but Miss Sunshine.

Two new comers to the Vanity are the CPA, Karen Brown, played by Lesley Spencer and Marc Robinson as Todd, the Highland Hitman. The CPA seems quietly competent as an accountant, but totally frustrated as a female. Todd’s Scotsman is all bluster and indistinguishable Scottish brogue that vents his murderous anger.

This is a farce, a theatrical term describing a play that is an exaggerated comedy based on humorous situations and ridiculous actions. This play is all of that and more.

Keith Strain, the producer, shared that he is drawn to farces, convinced that what we all need is a good, hard laugh.

One difficulty the director, Michael Patton, encountered was how to have two rooms side by side, each with four doors, on a stage that is just under 21 feet wide. Then insert two full size beds and up to seven people and it is crowded. The result, however, only aids to the comedic chaos.

The show is rated PG because of brief crude language and suggestive scenes.

Your opportunity to “laugh until you hurt” comes Friday when the show opens for a two-weekend run. Friday and Saturday performances on April 21-22 and 28-29 will be at 7:30 p.m. Sunday matinées on April 23 and April 30 will be at 2 p.m.

Tickets may be reserved by calling 765-362-7077. They may be purchased by going to www.sugarcreekplayers.org. The box office will be open starting 3-5:30 p.m. today so you can pick up tickets. Tickets are $12 for adults; $10 for students; and $8 for children.

Production of this play in made possible by the sponsorship of Service Master and Nucor Steel.