Life beyond a diagnosis: UMHB student in remission of leukemia, adjusts to life after regimen of treatments
Jan24

Life beyond a diagnosis: UMHB student in remission of leukemia, adjusts to life after regimen of treatments

By Rachael Hopson Contributing Writer As a 20-year-old sophomore business management major here at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, my boyfriend Corey Andersen lives a reasonably normal life. Many would never imagine him as a leukemia survivor, but that is a part of his reality. At eighteen years old, he had just graduated from high school and was looking forward to spending the day at Six Flags with our youth group. Unfortunately, his plans were interrupted the night before when an excruciating pain in his hip had been enough to send him to the hospital. He slept in the hospital bed hoping to pass the time before he was released so he could rejoin the group. He awoke from a nap worried only because he was missing out on the roller coasters, but something else was wrong; his parents’ eyes were puffy and bloodshot. The doctor entered the room and Corey soon realized he wouldn’t be riding any roller coasters that day. The doctor had seen a similar case before – a child brought in with excruciating hip pain and some similar blood test results. But, he couldn’t be sure. The doctor recommended taking him to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for an official diagnosis. That wasn’t how Corey, or any of us, had hoped the week would go – who would? Corey and I had spent the week at church camp with our youth group. It was a special trip since our anniversary was that week. Friday, July 24, 2015 was supposed to be our roller coaster day, our anniversary of two years dating. Instead of spending the day riding roller coasters with him, I was left at the park with the rest of the group not knowing what was going on or why he hadn’t been released yet. Our youth pastor, Kirk Godkin, was the one who finally gave me the news. I sat under the shadow of a roller coaster and sobbed. What a terrible way to spend our anniversary. Eventually, Corey’s sister Caitlyn, and I went to the hospital in Longview, Texas – the one that Corey had been taken to from camp the night before. From there, his family and I headed to Houston. Thankfully MD Anderson was only 20 minutes from our hometown of Humble. Going home felt good, but knowing his diagnosis would be made official there made the city seem strange and almost foreign. The next week was lengthy and arduous, but eventually we had an official diagnosis, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Corey’s incredible doctor, Dr. Naveen Pemmaraju, quickly educated us about this type of cancer and how a new treatment,...

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Cheerleaders compete in national contest
Jan24

Cheerleaders compete in national contest

The Crusader cheerleading team has returned from their competition in Orlando, Florida from January 12-18 to support our basketball and sports teams for the rest of this year. The cheer team came away with 8th place, out of fourteen other contestants in their division. While the team has previously gone to the National Cheerleading Association (NCA) competitions, this is the first year the team has gome to the Universal Cheerleaders Association (UCA) Nationals competition in Orlando, Florida. This is also the first year they went to nationals with new head coach Amanda Wrinkler. This will be the fourth year the cheerleading team has gone to nationals since the team ended their fifteen-year hiatus in 2014. The team took a break from competing last year due to a change in coaches. The team is composed of 19 students, all of which competed in Orlando. The routine was choreographed by Wrinkler and a friend from Oklahoma who teaches varsity cheer. First, they made the skeleton of the routine based on the score sheet and then added on from there after watching the girls’ skillsets throughout the year. Prior to heading to Orlando, the Cru cheerleading team held a showcase event at the Mayborn Campus Center on Thursday, January 11, to show students, faculty and family members the routine they would perform in Orlando. Wrinkler said she decided to hold the showcase because she wanted to give them a chance to be in front of their peers and their community before they arrived because they wouldn’t get much support in person while there. Wrinkler said that a few parents would be going to Florida, but not many had the chance to and this event would provide an opportunity for families who can’t go. “It has turned out to be a really cool opportunity for everyone to see the routine before we go,” Wrinkler said on the night of the showcase. Sidney Locke is a freshman vocal performance major who attended the performance. “I thought the routine was great,” Locke said. “You could tell the practice… really paid off because they did a good job.” Another student who attended the showcase was graduate exercise phycology major Justis Kelly. “I thought routine was good and you could tell how hard they worked and how hard they were practicing.” Kelly said. Though they did not win championship, they are champions in the hearts of the UMHB...

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Cru Love: 1987 waterballoon prank turns life-long romance
Jan24

Cru Love: 1987 waterballoon prank turns life-long romance

“May it be noted: in this exact spot where I am standing, my parents saw each other for the very first time. #MyUMHB” That is what incoming fall 2018 freshman, Payton Mayes, tweeted during Preview Weekend in November of 2017. Standing outside of Getty’s Hall, Payton reminisced on the very place where her parents first saw each other. Michael and Holly Mayes’ story is as unique as their love: playful, filled with joy, and intertwined with the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. While playing basketball and pursuing a degree, Michael Mayes never thought he’d meet someone that would one day be his wife and future mother of his children at UMHB. Sitting in front of Getty’s during the spring semester of 1987 with a friend, he noticed two girls approaching. He didn’t think much of the pair, until suddenly they were drenched by a bucket of water, thrown from the balcony. “All of a sudden this huge amount of water comes pouring off the balcony and totally drenches these two girls. I looked up and there are these two clowns up there laughing, and I just thought it was about the funniest thing I’d ever seen.” Looking back, he remembered the event with a laugh. “I guess she heard me laugh, and boy she turned and looked at me, and I thought ‘Oh that girl’s pretty, and pretty mad too.’” At the time, local Belton High Schooler, Holly, had gone with her friend, Grace, to visit Grace’s boyfriend, now Dr. Steve Theodore, Vice President of the university. As they approached his dorm building, they had been chatting and didn’t notice Steve at the balcony, awaiting the right moment to dunk water on them. Years later, her friend Grace would marry that same boy who dunked water on her, and Holly would marry the boy who laughed at them. In the summer of 1990, the couple finally formally met when they both worked for Summer Fun in Belton. That summer, as Michael attended summer classes and Holly enjoyed being home for the warm months from Baylor University, the pair began dating and unknowingly began their future. Now with their youngest daughter excitedly anticipating her freshman year come fall, the couple looked back fondly at how the university was intertwined with their lives. “We were the third house on 10th, just across the street from the university,” Michael said. “I used to bring Payton and her sister over here all the time and they would skate around the quad. She’s been coming over here for as long as she can remember. It’s always been here, it’s always been what we’ve been about.”...

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Reaching Out helps community, encourages students to serve
Nov16

Reaching Out helps community, encourages students to serve

Reaching Out is an event that allows students to serve alongside one another, and give back to the community around them. While this event has been a tradition for many years, this November 4th marked the first year students have had the chance to be involved in planning the event’s service activities. Sarah Herbsleb, a sophomore who participated in Reaching Out last year, was eager to apply for the newly-formed steering committee. “Reaching Out is one of my favorite events at UMHB. It has impacted my life simply by the people I have been able to serve through it.” When Hersleb heard that Reaching Out would have a steering committee she knew she wanted to be a part of it. “I saw how big this event could get and how much more of an impact we could have on the Belton and Temple community,” she said. As this tradition grows, faculty and students are hoping to not only touch the lives of more people in the community, but encourage more students to give back. “I want to see Reaching Out become an event that the campus and the community gets excited about,” said Reaching Out co-director, Nathan VanDolzer. “One thing that we are excited for is letting people sign up together. and bond through service.” Most student-led activities on campus have their own steering committee to plan out every aspect of the event. Director of student organizations, Tiffany Wurdemann realized that events were more successful when they had a separate committee. So even though Student Government Association (SGA) hosted Reaching Out in previous years, Wurdemann knew a steering committee would provide more opportunities for more student involvement. “We decided to give it a try and take it out of SGA. Since then it has truly flourished,” Wurdemann said. She is hopeful that these changes will impact the campus and community in a positive way. This year, around 250 people gathered together on a Saturday morning to participate in Reaching Out. These volunteers helped out at Feed My Sheep, a soup kitchen for the homeless,helped with demolition at a boy’s shelter, and visited senior homes in the area to play games with the elderly. Leah Smith, sophomore public relations major, and a director for Reaching Out said, raking leaves and picking up trash might seem like a small act of service, but it can mean a clean yard, a new start, and a fresh look at life for the recipient. “My favorite part of Reaching Out is hearing from the sites after everything is done and hearing how much of an impact the students have made,” she...

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Nursing students present at Houston conference
Nov16

Nursing students present at Houston conference

Five nursing students from UMHB are headed to Houston to present at a health care conference that draws hundreds of health care professionals from around the country. Nicole Ikefuna, Daniella Llanas, Laryssa Wills, Alaijah Taylor, and Deanna Hopkinson were chosen out of the entire Novice 1 nursing cohort throughout the university to participate in this honor, and have been working hard recently to prepare for their presentation. “We will be speaking at the TAHCH conference, which is a conference for the Texas Association for Home Care and Hospice,” Nicole Ikefuna said. The convention takes place at the Westin Hotel in the Houston Galleria. Our presentation will take place on Wednesday, the 15. Students from UMHB will be presenting at the conference, along with their teacher, Dr. Emerson and her husband, who will present additional information as well. Although the conference will cover a wide range of topics, the UMHB group will be presenting specifically on religion and how it impacts health care. Each member has done extensive research on a religion of their choosing and will present that information individually. “We will be presenting on religious diversity in relation to end-of-life care practices for hospice care,” Ikefuna said. “Health care professionals will be attending this conference, including hospice care providers and home health nurses. We’ve prepared for this project by doing research and making sure that all of our information was accurate. We have also spent a lot of time as a group, as well as individually practicing to make sure we can get our point across in the best way possible,” Ikafuna said. It was a lengthy process in getting chosen to present at such a large and notable conference and these young women know that it is an experience of a lifetime. “The process for being chosen to present at this conference began with our whole nursing cohort being divided up into groups of five people of creating and submmitind a presentation for our teacher. “Our teacher then chose the top two presentations out of each class and we had to present in front of a panel, where they then chose the winning group.” For Ikefuna, this experience is one that she hopes will further her evolution into a professional nurse, but she also wants to gain a clearer picture regarding the field of nursing she plans to pursue in the future. “I think that this experience will give me an opportunity to explore a side of nursing that I have always wanted to do, which is public health nursing,” she said. “I am very interested in that field of nursing. I think it will also help...

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Methodist church hosts lunch for college students
Nov16

Methodist church hosts lunch for college students

Students can enjoy homemade meals at College Lunch every Wednesday at First United Methodist Church here in Belton. College Lunch is a ministry that 20 volunteers from the church put on for UMHB students from 11-1 p.m. on Wednesdays. For a donation, students can select from multiple entrees, sides, a salad bar, homemade desserts, and a drink. At last week’s meal, College Lunch offered breaded ranch chicken, oregano chicken, pulled-pork sandwiches and baked potatoes. For sides, there was corn, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, a salad bar, soup and hot biscuits. To wash down the meal, there was pink lemonade, water and sweet tea. Senior Education major Elleny Ohendalaski has been attending College Lunch since she was a freshman. “The people that work at this church or attend this church care enough for the college students in this area to make lunch for us,” she said. “It’s nice to have a home cooked meal during the week, and there’s so many different options.” First Methodist began College Lunch in 2005. Chairman of the college ministry team, John Sykes, said that before the lunch, they tried Bible studies and discussion groups, but they weren’t working. “We had been trying at the church for a number of years to come up with some kind of outreach to college students, specifically at Mary Hardin-Baylor,” Sykes said. “Our new pastor at the time, Darren Walker, recounted what he did when he was a Wesley Foundation minister at Tarleton [State University]: they served a free lunch for the kids. That sounded like an interesting idea.” The lunch, which runs strictly on donations from the students and members of the congregation, started out with 20 to 30 students. Now, over 200 students attend the lunch. The volunteers make enough for 350 lunches because many people come back for seconds. “The purpose of the lunch is to feed students; we’re not trying to get them to come to our services. The purpose is to feed,” Sykes said. “We’ve never refused seconds unless we just don’t have anything.” College Lunch has been lovingly nicknamed ‘Meth House’ by the students, and Sykes says that the volunteers have embraced the name, after alerting the police. “As soon as the chaplain for the police department, Reverand Darren Walker, heard we were being called ‘Meth House,’ he sat down with the [Belton] police chief, and he explained the meaning behind the name,” Sykes said. Set-up usually begins for the lunch on Tuesdays, when volunteers begin cooking and setting up tables. Sykes said that he chooses the menu based on prices, what the students seem to like, and the feasibility of cooking for...

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