FULTON — Jackie Cole had brain surgery in December, when the breast cancer she had been diagnosed with in 2002 spread to her brain.
Three weeks after the surgery, she was dancing again.
“It keeps me alive.”
Cole is one of ten members of the Mulekicker Cloggers from Fulton. The group has been practicing routines every Wednesday night since its creation more than 25 years ago.
Cole joined the group in 1994. Back then, she had long hair.
She lost it in 2006 after starting a second round of treatment when her cancer came out of remission. She prefers not to wear a wig because it is hot, it messes up her glasses’ temples and it makes her cap not fit over her head.
"People are more friendly when you don’t have hair," she said. She is more comfortable being bald. “I’m Mrs. Clean!” she said, a reference to the hairless man in the cleaning solution’s logo.
At the Jefferson City Medical Group, the nurses all get a laugh with Cole when she goes in for her chemotherapy every Tuesday.
“She’s my entertainer of the year,” Barb Spencer, registered nurse, said of Cole.
She has been coming in for treatment for four years now. Her sister, Reva Hoover, accompanies her every time.
"You got me through this. You’re my guardian angel," Cole said to her sister.
Cole first joined the group after being introduced to it by her brother, Larry Martin. Martin is the only man in the bunch. Guys have come in and out of the group throughout the years, but Martin has been the only one to stick around.
"He scares them off!" Patricia Hopper, Mulekicker choreographer and member, said.
The other cloggers are Katie Lawrence, Rita Weber, Betty Atterberry, Linda Kronk, Pam Wright, Judy Wilder and Karen Goodenough.
The Mulekicker Cloggers will be performing at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Boone County Fair.
Supervising editor is Ally Appelbaum.