On Dec. 3, 2008, Jefferson County felt the loss of a community activist and supporter when Cessarina "Mary" Wysong, of Charles Town, passed away after just a seven week diagnosis from Multiple Myeloma, a cancer of the blood plasma cells in the bone marrow.
Multiple myeloma is a blood disorder related to lymphoma and leukemia, because it usually arises in the bone marrow. There is no cure for multiple myeloma, but treatments are available that slow its progression. It is often not detected early enough to offer significant treatment as symptoms may be confused with other ailments.
To honor Mary, her family and friends formed "Mary's Mob" at the one-year mark of her passing to help raise funds to battle the disease that took her life. On Nov. 16 of this year, the group celebrates the five year mark of honoring Mary.
Each year, the group, led by Mary's children Locke Wysong, Jr. and Cessarina Wysong, work to reach their annual goal of $5,000. All except last year, they were able to do it. Locke says this year they want to reach the $25,000 mark over the course of the five years, which means making up some lost ground and maintaining their annual goal as well.
The group will participate in the MMRF (Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation) Race for Research once again this year in Washington, D.C.
Locke explained that their group is relatively small compared with some who come out yearly to participate in the walk.
"But, we are happy with giving our little piece to help fight against this," he said. He explained that some groups have corporate donors and often work all year to raise funds. 'Mary's Mob' focuses on the month or so leading up to the walk and is often touched by the generosity of those in the community who remember Mary and give in her honor.
"Mother did a lot for the community," Locke shared. "There were so many people that she helped and no one even knew about it." He went on to say that she would be the first person to step up to work for a cause or to donate to it.
"People knew her for that and they help in return in her honor," Locke said.
For more information on the disease, visit www.themmrf.org.. For those who may have a desire to contribute to 'Mary's Mob' via a monetary donation, checks may be made out to MMRF and sent c/o Locke Wysong, P.O. Box 745, Charles Town, WV 25414. To give online, interested individuals my log onto Facebook on Locke Wysong's page and follow the link to Mary's Mob.