Cullman Senior Magazine Summer 2019 - Page 9

“Our entire family has been touched by cancer, and we want to do everything we can together to give back.” Myrna Hermetz of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and leading the church to new levels of growth. Life was challenging enough before a life-threatening cancer diagnosis. In spite of the tempo- rary loss of her health and the trauma of cancer treatment in a strange hospital in the early 1960s, Myrna became a role model of strength and courage for all who knew her. She accepted her diagnosis and courageously fought for her life while undergoing grueling treat- ments – secretly wondering why her body had betrayed her. However, her greatest challenge became her greatest opportunity. She used her cancer battle as an opportunity to share God’s love, mercy and peace to everyone she encountered. Doctors, nurses, church members, family and fellow cancer patients were im- pacted by her positive approach to life and kindness. Myrna retired as a Christian school teacher in 1999, after 32 years as a full-time teacher and principal. After retiring, Myrna was dealt another devastating life-altering diagnosis – breast cancer. She again served as a model of courage and by facing her cancer head on. She believed she could beat cancer a second time with the help of her family and God. She underwent radical surgery, including a mastectomy, breast reconstruction and months of intensive chemotherapy. Her follow-up continues today. Surgeons and oncologists were able to remove and kill the can- cer, but Myrna was left d sabled with a severe case of lymphede- ma, causing her right arm to swell to three times its normal size. As a testament to her strength and dedication, Myrna weath- ered challenges she faced with the peacefulness of her faith and support of family while simul- taneously being active in her profession, church and commu- nity organizations in a variety of roles. Her late son Tim wrote a letter of recognition for his mother when she was a recipient of an award highlighting her years working to make a difference in the lives of others, including those with mental and physi- cal disabilities, cancer patients, local immigrants and victims of domestic violence. Today, Myrna, who lost her husband in 2010, continues to give back at every opportunity, like this year’s Relay for Life. Her life of service is an inspiration to many who have come to know her as a strong woman of faith, community advocate and cancer survivor. CULLMAN COUNTY SENIOR MAGAZINE Myrna and her late son, Tim Hermetz. “Her decades-long sacrifice of time, talent and resources is her gift to God and her community—in thankfulness for her many blessings. It’s her way of saying, ‘Thank you,’ for her second chances at life after having survived multiple cancer battles.” Excerpt from a tribute to Myra written by her late son, Tim. SUMMER 2019 | 9