Seventh Annual Cattle Barons’ Ball brings a mission of hope

Thu, 11/05/2009 - 3:41pm
By: The Citizen

Why in this time of economic woes would the American Cancer Society ask their Southern Crescent Chapter to put on another Cattle Barons’ Ball? The answer is simple; cancer does not take time off. We all have a story of how cancer has affected our lives, because cancer is a part of our society. The American Cancer Society spends it days educating, preventing, and funding research for a cure. These programs are supported by events like the Cattle Barons’ Ball. This is the seventh year of the ball; therefore, we are focusing on seven faces of hope in the fight against cancer. These people from Fayette County, tell the story of why over 60 volunteers devote their time putting on the ball as well as golf and tennis tournaments each year. As a community, we can have a positive effect.

Jacob Murphy

Jacob Murphy is the epitome of hope. Following the diagnosis of Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of two and a half, he began three years and three months of treatment at Eggleston/Scottish Rite. Now 8 years old, Jacob, along with his parents, deal with his learning to ride a bike and eating vegetables- not constantly seeing doctors and hospital rooms. He is able to enjoy things a child his age should: like pizza and country music. Just 50 years ago childhood leukemia was 90 percent fatal; now it has a 90 percent cure rate. But that is not good enough. While Jacob’s story is becoming more common, our goal must be a 100 percent cure rate. Because his parents are so thankful for ongoing research that saved Jacob’s life, they have been an integral part of the Cattle Barons’ Ball. Owners of Entertainment Productions, they have furnished the casino for the event for all seven years. They know supporting the American Cancer Society helps fund new drug research and therapies which battle cancer. We hope for more success stories like Jacob’s.

Nikki Sroka

Fayette County hit the jack pot when Piedmont/Fayette Hospital hired Dr. Nikki Sroka in 2008. A graduate of The University of Wisconsin, she did her residency at Atlanta Medical Center specializing in Breast Surgical Oncology. A fellowship at Sloan Kettering Memorial in New York gave her the unique training with doctors developing ground breaking techniques in breast cancer patients. Her return to the South has made a huge impact in the way breast cancer is treated locally. Now we have another excellent physician specializing in breast cancer care in our own back yard.

Her patients love and appreciate her kindness and competency during such a stressful time. She also knows partnering with the American Cancer Society, which has so many patient support programs, helps in the successful treatment of breast cancer. Programs like “Look good…Feel better” help women adjust to their new reality and deal with the appearance related side effects of their cancer treatments. Also she gives her patients resources to arm themselves with information and support help which aids them in their treatment. With partners like Dr. Sroka and the American Cancer Society, there is hope we can defeat this disease.

Cathy Bexley

Nearly four years ago, Cathy Bexley was diagnosed with breast cancer. After trying two unsuccessful medicines, she was given Gemzar. It enabled her to get off oxygen and breathe on her own. By her own estimation, it gave her six more months to enjoy life more fully. Research for this medicine was funded by the American Cancer Society. Because of Gemzar, Cathy found new hope. During her battle she had endless support from her extended family and friends who encouraged her daily. The American Cancer Society provides that all important support for many cancer patients through their patient support programs, as well as their 24 hour hotline where patients and their families can speak with medical professionals such as Oncology nurses and registered Dietitians. A month before the Cattle Baron’s Ball, Cathy unfortunately lost her battle with cancer. She lived with such hope and appreciation for life. Continued prevention, education, and research will beat stories like this bringing hope for a cure for future generations.

Morgan Wilber

Imagine being 13 and diagnosed with Pheochromocytoma. Morgan Wilber is such a person. Because she had a family history of this cancer, her mom, Sharon, helped the doctor recognize her symptoms. Morgan had already lost her grandmother and cousin to Pheochromocytoma. After her extended stay in Scottish Rite/Eggleston, the tumor was successfully removed. Cancer free, she now attends college using an American Cancer Society scholarship. Children who have battled childhood cancer are eligible for scholarship money to attend college. Events like the Cattle Barons’ Ball help fund such programs. It gives immense hope for us to see this beautiful young woman and know she has been given another chance to achieve her dream of one day becoming a biomedical technician.

Robert Mucklow

For seven years since the Cattle Barons’ Ball began in Fayette County, Robert Mucklow has given a beautiful jewel for the Champagne and Diamonds game. He has given so generously each year because he has great hopes for advances against cancer through the American Cancer Society. His 88 year-old mother is a breast cancer survivor, having had a double mastectomy at the age of 63, which was 25 years ago. This traumatic event within their family changed Bob Mucklow forever. He is now committed to do what he can do to change the face of hope for other cancer patients. As an artisan, Bob Mucklow knows he can contribute to finding a cure by doing what he does best. By working together as a community, we can have success!

Vicki Dejoy

Although Vicki DeJoy co-chaired the Cattle Barons’ Ball its third year, she had never had a personal experience with cancer. Two years after leading the successful event, she found out she had skin cancer. Melanoma was discovered by her doctor at a routine physical exam. She responded quickly by having it removed and arming herself with information from the American Cancer Society’s website: Ironically the money she helped raise helped her in battling against cancer. Continuing to have yearly body scans, she now has been cancer free for three years. Volunteering her time for a cure had never meant so much. She knows that money raised at the ball and other events help fund programs like The Hope Lodge at Emory Medical Center which provides patients and their families lodging close to their medical team.

George Myers

Prostate cancer is a reality for one out of six men. George Myers became a statistic in 2001. Diagnosed in with a high PSA level during a routine doctor visit, he found out he did indeed have cancer. He gathered as much information as he could to make an informed decision about what treatment he would choose. An American Cancer Society program Man to Man was an integral part of this informed decision making process. This is a forum in which men and their families can learn about prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment options - as well as coping and everyday living. It is a confidential meeting environment which encourages men and their families to discuss their concerns and presents solution to common problems. George and his doctor choose two of the four traditional therapies which have now lowered his PSA to less than zero. Now he and his wife can enjoy retirement by travelling and reading. This we what we all hope for.

As a community with stories affecting our every day lives, giving to The American Cancer Society is a tangible way to fight this disease. It may be easy to feel overwhelmed by the statistics, but we can join together and improve the cure rate. This year the Dolce Atlanta- Peachtree in Peachtree City will host the 7th Annual Cattle Barons’ Ball onNov. 7. The ball is a western style event featuring Crystal and The Cruizers with special guest The Down South Band, dinner, a casino, silent auction and other games. The night’s MCs will be Scott and Charlie of Fun 101 and we will have Miss Georgia, Emily Cook, enjoying the nights events. Tickets and sponsorship information for the ball, tennis tournament, and golf tournament are available at or by calling 770-631-0625.

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