by ANDY SEVILLA
After a three-year break, the Cattle Baron’s Ball is back with an energized committee and high hopes of becoming a permanent part of the community’s social and charity scene.
This year’s Ball chair, Tammy Walden, said she and a committee of about 30 people have been organizing what promises to be a “fabulous” event with a big band, good food, and an auction that includes art and out-of-state getaways.
The Cattle Baron’s Ball is a fundraiser put on in various cities across America benefiting the American Cancer Society. Walden said the goal of the Ball is to raise money for research and practical programs such as transportation and wigs. The ball also is used to educate the public and raise awareness.
“My personal goal was to bring the Ball back to San Marcos,” Walden said. “The Cattle Baron’s Ball is the biggest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society throughout the United States. It’s a ball that can be held in huge communities like Dallas and Houston, where they regularly raise millions of dollars, to small communities like New Braunfels and San Marcos. But the dollar amount, right now, is not my primary goal. Don’t get me wrong. I would love it if we made beaucoups of money, but my goal is to say, ‘Okay, we’re back and we need to keep this going.’”
The Cattle Baron’s Ball for San Marcos was last held in 2009, Walden said.
“We cannot be complacent,” Walden said. “It’s hard, but it can be done.”
Kay Stroman, who was diagnosed with colon cancer last year, will be this year’s gala honoree.
Walden said the decision to elect Stroman as the honoree was easy because Stroman is “nice, an active member in San Marcos,” is a good public speaker, and “she has a story to tell that is unique.”
Stroman said she was diagnosed with colon cancer on August 11, and had surgery shortly after. She said she had the cancerous portion of her colon removed a couple of weeks after the diagnosis.
Thankfully, Stroman said, she didn’t have to undergo chemotherapy, because her cancer was only Stage 1 when it was detected early on.
Stroman was 45 years old when she was diagnosed with cancer. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, 90 percent of people diagnosed with colon cancer are older than 50 but it can occur in younger people, just less frequently. The website also says that individuals with average risk of colon cancer can consider screening at age 50, unless you have a family history of colorectal cancer, then earlier and more frequent screenings are advised.
It also says that African Americans and American Indians may begin colon cancer screening at age 45 as they are at higher risk of contracting the disease.
Stroman said she’s not a hypochondriac, but when she notices abnormalities, she addresses them. And that’s exactly what happened with her early detection of colon cancer. Stroman said she knew something was wrong, and one day noticed blood in her stool. She said she continued monitoring it and the blood remained, so she called her doctor and was immediately scheduled for a colonoscopy. To her surprise, Stroman said, she had a large polyp that was harboring a cancerous tumor.
“I acted immediately and had surgery,” Stroman said. “It’s a life changing experience to have someone tell you that you have cancer.”
Stroman said after her diagnosis, she first cried for about two hours and then she dried her tears, notified friends and family of her disease, and began her plan to fight back. She said she was determined to beat cancer through humor, prayer, and education.
“It was a real test of my faith,” Stroman said. “I’m pleased to say that I passed that test. I have a very strong faith, and I never once thought that (cancer) was going to take me, or that I wasn’t going to overcome it… I’m a survivor, and I am cancer free right now.”
Stroman said she is now taking better care of herself by eating better and being more cognizant of her health.
Stroman said that, for her, it was important to stay positive and utilize her network of family and friends. She said a lot of people try to keep cancer private, especially colon cancer, but Stroman advices against dealing with cancer alone.
Stroman said she’s excited and honored to be this year’s Cattle Baron’s Ball honoree although she said she’s a little timid because she feels she had it easier than a lot of people due to her early detection.
“I caught (my cancer) early,” Stroman said. “But at the end of the day, I still had cancer. And colon cancer is one of the deadliest cancers because it goes undetected for so long because a lot of people don’t pay attention. You really have to pay attention with what’s going on with your body, and take your health into your own hands.”
Stroman will be speaking at the Ball and Walden encourages individuals who want to attend, “to get your tickets now.”
Tickets and more information is available at the San Marcos Cattle Baron’s Ball website here. The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. May 19 at the Wild Onion Ranch.
Charter buses are available and will pickup guests at the old Hays County Justice center located on MLK Drive beginning at 6:30 p.m. Buses will run to and from San Marcos and The Wild Onion Ranch from 6:30 p.m. to 11:45 p.m.Email | Print