Meet Ms. November 2018: Mary Jo Keithley

Ms. November 2018: Mary Jo Keithley“Do not give up – hold on.”

Mary Jo Keithley and her husband John live in a beautiful farmhouse in Lowell, Indiana. She has one daughter, Cheryl and two grandchildren, Lauren and Amanda.

During her working years, Mary Jo was a bookkeeper for Huntington Labs.

Mary Jo is a member of First Methodist Church, and a 70 year member of Eastern Star, having also been a past Worthy Matron.

Described as a real “go-getter”, she still drives and although we won’t divulge her actual age, she continues to care for her 98 year old husband and is going strong! She considers “being able to go on with and enjoy my life” as her greatest accomplishment since her diagnosis.

Her advice to others is to “Hold on – Life gets better!”

Mary Jo Keithley is a 24 year breast cancer survivor proudly nominated by her friend Lisa Manes.

Meet Ms. October 2018: Freda Riddle

Ms. October 2018: Freda Riddle“The compassion, concern and interest shown by family and friends should be paid forward.”

Freda Riddle resides in Hobart, Indiana where she was born and raised. She attended Taylor University and earned a degree in education. After teaching locally for several years, Freda joined a mission organization and decided to teach in Africa. With the exception of an occasional home visit, she spent the next 20 years in Africa, being both a teacher and dorm mother in Ethiopia and an upper grade teacher in Nigeria.

Several years after returning home, Freda received her diagnosis and then plotted the course she would undertake. She was determined to keep her eyes on God and maintain a positive mental attitude. Her confidence in God and her surgeon carried through her cancer journey.

Freda is an active member of Liberty Bible Church in Chesterton, Indiana and is involved with the Hobart Community Foundation and the Maria Reiner Center.

In the words of her friends, “She is a person who is compassionate and always ready to help others. She has a terrific sense of humor and is a person of deep faith.” In her own words, she advises people to “have a good attitude, laugh and let God make the decisions.”

Freda Riddle is an 18 year breast cancer survivor proudly co-nominated by her friends Mary Jo Hopkins and Marjorie Gresser.

Meet Ms. September 2018: Janet Petrites

Ms. September 2018: Janet Petrites“Be aware of the little things that touch you throughout the day and thank God for them.”

Janet Petrites is the sixth of eleven children and lives in Merrillville, Indiana. She has fourteen nieces and nephews and nine great nieces and nephews – all of whom have been a special part of her life.

Janet spent over twenty years working as a pediatric nurse at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago and feels that the children there “showed (me) how to accept suffering and still have a smile for others.”

Caring for others comes naturally to Janet. Upon her retirement, she returned home to care for her mother and then her ailing uncle. She is always ready to care for anyone in need and is currently helping her brother and sister-in-law. Even while undergoing her own treatment, she devoted more time to her siblings and provided support and attention to friends in need.

Janet is active in numerous charitable organizations including St. Matthias Church, SS. Peter and Paul Church and Our Lady of Czestochowa Shrine. Her advice to others is to “Trust in God totally and ask …Him to guide you in choosing the best treatment plan… and to help you live one day at a time.”

Janet Petrites is a 17 year breast cancer survivor proudly nominated by her friend Marjorie Simunic.

Meet Ms. August 2018: Robbin Lomas

Ms. August 2018: Robbin Lomas“Without the storms there would be no rainbows. Never give up!”

Robbin Lomas lives in Portage, Indiana and is very proud of her step-daughter Angie and grandchildren, Deanna, Riley and twins Clyde and Camden.

All throughout her cancer journey, Robbin continued to run her own Accounting firm, Robbin Lomas, CPA, P.C. with perseverance and strength. According to her friend, she “never wavered in her determination and she remained hopeful and positive, even through the dark times.” Robbin believes that “your mind is very powerful – you have to believe it to achieve it.”

Robbin is a member of the Board of Directors of Real Life Community Church in Portage, Indiana and is active in Relationships Matter of Northwest Indiana, Inc., a sub-group of her church.

Her greatest accomplishment since her diagnosis has been her spiritual growth, “surviving two types of cancer” and “knowing how blessed I am for every day that I am given.” The prayers she received from everyone strengthened her for her cancer battle.

Robbin continues to enjoy life to the fullest and tries to be an inspiration to others, as well as to live her “best self.”

Robbin Lomas is a 9 year breast cancer survivor proudly co-nominated by Jennifer Johnson and Denise Roll.

Meet Ms. July 2018: Betty Clayton

Ms. July 2018: Betty Clayton“Take on each day with joy and be resolute…be kind to yourself and look forward, not back.”

Betty Clayton lives in Merrillville, Indiana and is described by many as a “hard working, dedicated and caring person in her cause and mission.” Two of her greatest passions are music and animal welfare.

After graduating from DePaul University with degrees in Music and Education, Betty applied her talents as a music teacher, choir director and studio musician. She also developed an interest in electronic music and synthesizers and has been in a variety of rock bands!

Betty has always had a love for animals. Several years ago, she took over the Humane Society in Miller Beach, Indiana and restored it to a viable, well-run and humane organization that helped hundreds of animals. She retired from being their Executive Director but still serves on the Board of Directors.

As a former Lake County Deputy Sheriff, Betty headed up the Animal Protective Services Unit which focused on abused animals.

In her own words, Betty has “come to realize…that there is so much to live for – it’s all in your attitude.” Her advice to other regarding breast cancer is to “Laugh…a lot, and to fight, fight, fight!”

Betty Clayton is a 6 year breast cancer survivor proudly nominated by her friend Rosemary Shanda.