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June 11, 2014

MOSS: Weimer’s day to shine with Relay for Life

FLOYD COUNTY — Jan Weimer runs, exercises and coaches tennis. She is up and down constantly as an aide in a classroom for special education. At 63, Weimer could pass for 36.

Breast cancer was no match for her. What bad is?

“She just has a positive attitude with everything,” Jan McCauley said of her friend. “She’s a fun person to be around. She loves life.”

Which means Weimer also loves Relay for Life, a big-time American Cancer Society fundraiser being held in Floyd County this Friday and Saturday. The goal is $110,000 and the star is Weimer, who finishes a quarter-century as a cancer survivor. McCauley, the event chairwoman in Floyd, figured it only fitting Weimer be singled out.

“Anything we need, she helps us,” McCauley said.

Weimer lives in Floyds Knobs with her husband, Larry Weimer, whose devoted care-giving to his wife way back when also will be honored on Friday. The couple’s four adult sons are to attend, as well. They will remind their mom why giving in to the disease was not a choice. “We used the word ‘cancer,’ we didn’t sugarcoat anything,” Jan Weimer said.

‘“Yes it’s a problem. But we’re here. We’ll handle it.’”

Her role intense and intimate, Weimer works at Mount Tabor Elementary, in New Albany, her sixth career stop. At every one, she has been in on starting or in keeping going a Relay for Life team. Weimer also has taken on the cause in a cadre of other ways. She feels blessed for her strength but is well aware not everyone confronts cancer like she has. Worry about today, not tomorrow, she first tells those who need to listen. “I certainly hope I’ve helped a lot of people,” Weimer said.

“I’ve made a lot of friends through this disease. It certainly has had its positives, as well.”

Weimer grew up in Indianapolis and moved to Southern Indiana when her husband changed jobs. She enjoys the challenges of special education, savors the gains of the children in her care. “What might work today might not work tomorrow,” Weimer said of the rigors in that classroom.

Teresa Ozdogu, the teacher in that room, seconds the motion that Weimer is one of the most positive people in town. “She’s just got a personality that overflows,” Ozdogu said.

Weimer considered becoming a teacher. She had college interrupted by real life but returned as a mother in her 30s. Like now, Weimer then was active, fit, involved. The diagnosis of cancer floored her, of course, but support from family and friends was swift and omnipresent. Some tape-recorded classes for her at IU Southeast — Weimer went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in general studies — others cooked meals. A surgeon friend recommended a path of mastectomy and reconstruction and Weimer took it.

Weimer cannot forget what happened, of course. She’s surely left cancer in the dust, though. She no longer requires regular visits to an oncologist. “I’ve got the telephone number,” Weimer said. “I’m done — so far, so good.”

Weimer attended support-group meetings, offered her shoulder to other breast-cancer patients. That led to a myriad of Relay for Life duties, the commitment for which she is to be saluted. “It’s our day, our day to shine,” Weimer said of Relay.

Relay for Life in Floyd County is at Highland Hills Middle School and begins Friday at 4 p.m. To donate or for more information, go online to

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