Cancer survivors and those who have lost their fight with the disease will be honored during the June 21-22 Ripley County Relay for Life.
One local individual who will be remembered is Mark Eckstein, Batesville, who worked for the Batesville Water and Gas Utility 26 as a service technician and welder. He died May 13 after nearly a year-long battle.
“Mark was a really likable guy,” says his sister, Joan McKamey, Brookville. “He was one of the good guys. I can’t imagine anyone not liking him. He always wanted to be the funniest person in the room .... He had a quick wit, was easygoing and friendly. He would go out of his way to help other folks .... He didn’t go for flash or attention.”
She recalls taking a trip with a friend of hers, who was battling colorectal cancer, in early June 2013. Her friend and her daughters, along with McKamey and her daughter went to Charleston, South Carolina, and spent some time on the beach. Some of her friend’s family members also had other health issues.
McKamey says, “I was talking with my sister, Gina (who lives in South Carolina). I told her, “Isn’t it amazing to look at our family of eight kids, and we’ve been spared some of the hardship other families have?”
That’s when her sister announced, “‘You better talk to Mom. Something’s going on with Mark.’”
His diagnosis of stage 4 adenocarcinoma of unknown primary cause came later that month. “It was fast growing and fast spreading .... right away, he started treatments.
“There were so many people praying for Mark. It was really great how people rallied around in his support.
“We were praying for a miracle of healing .... (and) there were a lot of small miracles, really great things that happened along the way,” she points out.