August 9, 2022 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Plotner to be honored with scholarship

Mary Derenne decided to start the new year right.


Even though she had been thinking about it for a few weeks, Derenne announced on Jan. 1 that she will be bringing back her Halloween benefit — this time for a very special reason.


To honor Murelle Plotner.


“Starting the year without her, it is so hard to imagine that yet,” she said.


Plotner, a 2017 St. Joseph-Ogden graduate, died in December after spending many years battling myelodysplastic syndrome, a rare blood cancer and complications caused by the disease.


For many years, Derenne and her family transformed their yard in St. Joseph into a haunted trail and asked visitors to donate to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.


In 2014, that all changed when Derenne collected money to benefit the Plotner family. The next year, Plotner asked Derenne to collect money for the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where she was a patient while battling myelodysplastic syndrome.


“After we did it for them, we said we would do it for the hospital they went to,” Derenne said. “People were very receptive to that. I did not realize how many families have (gone) to the children’s hospital in St. Louis.”


Every year after the benefit, Derenne would ask Plotner to deliver the check to the hospital.


“She said ‘Me? You want me to?’” Derenne said. “I said, ‘We sure do Murelle, we sure do.’”


Year after year, Plotner would take the check to the hospital.


“She would thank us every single time,” Derenne said.


Derenne said her motivation to bring the benefit back was purely her memories of Plotner.


“Her courage and strength makes me a strong person,” Derenne said. “What better way to remember her.”


The proceeds from the event will go to the Murelle Plotner Scholarship fund, which will be given to a college-bound St. Joseph-Ogden student who plans on pursuing a career in medicine. The scholarship winner will be determined by a committee.


The event will take place on Oct. 26 in downtown St. Joseph and will include a morning run and walk, silent auction, dunk tank, jail and bail, inflatables, food trucks and music performers.

For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/2936090281770

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