WEST LAFAYETTE -- It seems miracles run in the family so to speak.
West Lafayette residents Maria Goodwill and Shelly Reigle have been through similar adversities early in their lives and later experienced what could be termed as miracles.
Both women are Steel Magnolia award winners.
Goodwill is this year's winner, and Reigle won the award last year.
Another similarity is that both women are related, Reigle is Goodwill's aunt and both are registered nurses by profession.
Goodwill's story started out with being diagnosed with cancer at the age of eight years old. Her illness resulted in the loss of a kidney, and requirement of intense radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Her parents were informed that since the radiation treatments were administered before the onset of puberty that Goodwill would never be able to conceive children when she became an adult. Following the multiple treatments, Goodwill's cancer later went into remission.
Following graduation from high school Goodwill married. She said the thoughts of raising a family were later discussed, even though Goodwill said she and her husband knew that conceiving would be a medical impossibility. Goodwill who had been working as a nursing assistant at Coshocton County Memorial Hospital later entered nursing school.
Goodwill said in mid-1998, she and her husband received some news they were not prepared for at all, Goodwill was informed she was pregnant, and it was for twins!
Goodwill said during the pregnancy she developed congestive heart failure. Due to the radiation treatments, she had cardiac damage and was already at risk for ongoing cardiac problems. Goodwill ended up being induced and the twins were born six weeks premature. She said with close monitoring, her congestive failure resolved and the twins survived with no problem further problems.
The twins, Kayla and Kaitlyn, are now 12-years old and according to Goodwill, are making plans for college and the future as most young girls do.
As for Goodwill, she later graduated from Central Ohio Technical College (COTC) with an associate degree in nursing. She continued working at Coshocton County Memorial Hospital as a staff nurse. Goodwill is currently working as a nursing instructor for COTC's practical nurse program. She is also attending Muskingum University to obtain her Bachelor's degree in nursing and is scheduled to graduate this summer. She plans to possibly obtain her Master's degree in the near future.
Goodwill said being the Steel Magnolia Award's second winner and her aunt Shelly being the first recipient that it's quite an honor. She said the best part is actually about being able to make a sizable monetary donation to a cause that is very special to her from the $1,000 that is part of the award.
Goodwill said she has been a strong supporter for Relay For Life since it started in Coshocton several years ago. She and her family are such strong supporters that they have their own team, appropriately titled, "Family Matters." The team consists of Goodwill, her daughters, her grandmother, Georgia Summit; her aunt, Shelly Reigle; cousin, Braxton Reigle; her parents, Glen and Lori Stephan; and nephew and niece, Alexia and Bryan Stephan.
According to Goodwill, the Steel Magnolia Award is given each year by AK Steel. The award is designed for individuals that have experienced adversity and trauma in their lives, and later achieved resolution and positivity. The money awarded is designated by the winner to a charity of the winner's choice.
Being a cancer survivor and a professional nurse, Goodwill feels the monetary part of the award is her own personal contribution towards cancer research and the chance to help to save another life.