Cullman Senior Magazine Summer 2019 - Page 8

Myrna Hermetz A Life of Faith and Service By Kelly Wheeler Myrna Hermetz, a two-time cancer survivor, will volunteer again at this year’s Cullman County’s Relay for Life, and similar to years past, it will be a family effort. Hermetz, who has battled can- cer for more than half a century, is excited to participate in the annual fundraiser. “To me, the American Cancer Society (ACS) has done so much to help others in our community and in our country, and that is why I feel it is necessary to give back to an organization that has helped so many people touched by cancer,” Hermetz said. Each May, the Myrna Hermetz Family Team members have joined her in devoting time to help with Relay for Life. The Hermetz family was previously recipients of a Silver Award from the Cullman County ACS chap- ter in recognition of its fundrais- ing efforts. “We are a family, and we are a team,” Hermetz said. “Our entire family has been touched by cancer, and we want to do everything we can together to give back.” In addition to her efforts for Relay, Hermetz has been serving Cullman County as an inspiring survivor, cancer prevention ad- vocate and a tireless church and community service leader and volunteer. Myrna’s battle with cancer be- gan in 1963 at age 25 when she was diagnosed with cervical can- cer less than a year after having her fourth child. Her family has faced many obstacles, including her son Tim’s Stage IV, incurable cancer diagnosis in 2009. Myrna and her late husband, Harold, had four children, including twins Toni and Tina. After the birth of their fourth child, Todd, they discovered that Tina had suffered permanent brain damage at birth three years earlier. Complicating matters, Myrna and Harold had recently moved to Mississippi where he was named the new pastor of a growing church. She dealt with the shock and trauma of her cancer diagnosis while juggling her responsibilities as a mother and and adjusting to the family’s new location. During this time, the Rev. Her- metz worked long hours partici- pating in local civic organizations, including Kiwanis and Toastmas- ters, while also planting two new churches in neighboring cities. Five years before her fi st cancer diagnosis, Myrna began her teach- ing career in St. Louis, Missouri. The Hermetz family transitioned from life in suburban New Orle- ans to life in rural Mississippi. In 1965, her family settled in Cullman when her husband became pastor Myrna and late husband Harold 8 | SUMMER 2019 CULLMAN COUNTY SENIOR MAGAZINE