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April 15, 2012

Fashion show raises money for FMH cancer care and Rayl scholarship

JEFFERSONVILLE — For those still unsure what to wear for the 2012 Kentucky Derby, some of those questions may have been answered during the Fillies Networking Luncheon & Fashion Show that was held at Kye’s in Jeffersonville on Friday afternoon.

Several of Southern Indiana’s top fashion destinations were showcased during the event with Petunia’s and Chosen Salon and Boutique of Jeffersonville and Dress and Dwell and Strandz and Threadz of New Albany.  While the clothing and accessories were indeed eye-popping, the goal of the Fillies Networking Luncheon was to support one of the cancer charities in the community. This year the proceeds from the ticket sales, silent auction and raffle supported the Floyd Memorial Cancer Care & Education Center and the Anita Rayl  Scholarship Foundation. 

Rayl’s daughter, Jenny Hupp, attended the event and spoke about her mother who passed away from breast cancer on Nov. 22, 2003, just three days before her 50th birthday.

“She knew she could conquer the world with that disease. She appreciated the  little things like flowers and walks in the park,” Hupp said. “She held her head high when she wore hats instead of wigs. She was beautiful inside and out. She made you feel special when she met you, and she was special.” 

Many people in the community remember Rayl for her work with the youth as a cheerleading coach for 14 years at New Albany High School.

However, Rayl taught more than cheerleading.

“I was very fortunate to cheer for my mom,” Hupp said. “She taught us how to cheer and about life lessons, and about giving back to the community. She taught us manners and in general how to act like ladies. I learned a lot from my mom, who taught me how to be a great mom myself, and to love kids, and spend time with them. I learned to say I love you every day and cherish what I learned and carry on with my daughter.”

What people may not know, due to Rayl’s home life with 10 brothers and sisters, was that she was unable to attend college, but she always wanted others to have the opportunity, and with that the Anita Rayl  Scholarship Foundation was started, which is open to students with at least a 2.5 grade-point average, who are active in community service and sports. 

After explaining the scholarship fund, Hupp joined the 2012 survivors in the fashion show, as she too is a 10-month survivor of breast cancer.

As Hupp completed her walk on the catwalk, Julie Young, master of ceremonies, took a moment to thank Tammy Sharp, who organized the event.

“Thank you Tammy for allowing her to be in this wonderful event, as it’s a reminder for all women to go to their yearly mammogram that could one day save their life,” Young said.

This year, the Fillies Networking Luncheon had a special guest, Stephanie Decker, who is known for her heroic act of saving her children during the tornadoes that recently went through Henryville. Both of her legs had to be partially amputated due to her injuries.

“There are two things I keep hearing, and they are hero and inspiration. Everyone who comes up to her, I continue to hear that. There are a ton of heroes out there today. For me, this one is my hero and my inspiration,” said her husband, Joe Decker.

When Decker took the stage, which was her first public speaking event, she told her story of quick thinking and survival. 

“I want to say a few things about breast cancer. Just like how this illness grabs so many moms and sisters, I had a moment to think about what to do in a terrible situation,” said Decker who shielded her two children with her body, and a comforter as their home was demolished above them. “That’s the meaning of today. All of you have been touched by someone who survived. Mine was a split-second situation, and I had to think quickly. We all share similar things with our kids. I’m called a hero, but any other parent would have reacted the same in a similar situation.”

She recalled thinking as she fought to stay awake: “I don’t want to go. I’m a fighter, and I didn’t want my kids to grow up without a mom. Let me live. I feel like I have a message, and l want to see my kids get married and play baseball.”

“All that mattered to me was being alive and seeing my friends and family,” she said. “Thank God I am still here and able to make this battle. I think I have a message, and I like to spread that message of surviving. As a mom, we survive, and all of us in that situation would have done the same thing.” s

Decker added that she looks forward to helping other mothers remain positive through any situation.



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