NEW POINT – The third annual Diner Dash 5K to benefit the Becca Wessel Memorial Scholarship Fund is scheduled for Sept. 14 with registration beginning at 8 a.m. at the Midtown Diner in New Point and the 5K starting there at 9 a.m.
Wessel was a 15-year-old North Decatur High School student when she passed away in November 2010 as the result of an after-school car accident.
The Becca Wessel Memorial Scholarship was created by her mother, Anita Wessel, who told the Daily News, "The 5K just gets better every year."
A lifelong resident of Decatur County, Wessell described what it's like to bury one’s own child.
“It was devastating,” Anita said. “There aren’t the words to describe how a mom feels. I walk on eggshells most of the time because when I wake up I never know if it’s going to be a good day or not. I have compared it to a roller-coaster ride. I can be on a lifetime high, handling it well, but like a roller-coaster goes up, so it comes down, too. Like right now, I’m dealing with the tragedy all over again. I look at some of the students her age that knew her – some are married, some have kids – and I wonder if she’d have had kids by now, and would she have gone to medical school, and what she would be doing now.”
“She would have graduated in 2013, and I wonder about all the things she didn’t get to do," Anita continued. "Would she have made it to college? Would she have met someone? Would she have made me a grandmother yet? Just one little bad judgement of speed. What if? What if? Just one little decision changed my whole life.”
Anita said she stays busy raising funds and awareness in her daughter's memory.
She was recognized in 2016 by the Lions Club with a certificate of appreciation for her leadership in collecting eyeglasses in her daughter’s memory for the Lions Club International Eyeglass Recycling Program.
“Becca was a farm girl true and true,” Wessel said about her daughter. “She participated in 4-H, loved her farm animals and the fair. She showed multiple animals and did projects for in the barns for the fair. She planned on going on to a medical career, and I think she would have been very good at it. And she knew people. She could look into someone’s eyes and tell how they were feeling. She was just a very knowledgeable person, despite her age.”
Anita’s surviving daughter, Rachel, is now 22 years old.
“I think Rachel feels the burden of being overshadowed by her sister, but she keeps it to herself. We have days when we can talk about Becca, and some days we can’t,” Anita said. “And people treat you differently. They don’t want to say the wrong things in fear of upsetting you. But those who know me know they can talk about Becca, and it will be alright. I know by now how I have to deal with it, and nothing anyone can say is going to make me hurt more. But nothing they can say is going to make me hurt less, either. I just have to deal with it in my own way."
The Becca Wessel Memorial Scholarship has helped eight students since its inception.
The year Becca was supposed to have graduated, anyone who applied got something. Each year the amount awarded has increased.
"I don’t want people to be scared by the 5K part if it. You don’t have to run it. Walk it. Bring a stroller. Make it family time, because Becca loved family time," Wessel said.
Each paid entry will receive a T-shirt and a half-order of biscuits and gravy the day of the event. To be guaranteed a T-shirt, applications must be received by Sept. 1.
For more information concerning the Becca Wessel Memorial Fund or the Midtown Diner Dash 5K, contact Grace Fullenkamp at 812-593-3545 or Wessell at 812-593-0458.
Contact Bill Rethlake at 812-663-3111 ext. 7011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.