Central Indiana woman enters baked goods at Indiana State Fair for 58th year despite health challenges

Photo shows a pie crust. (WISH photo)

HANCOCK COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — There are certain ingredients that are required to make an award-winning pie.

But it’s the ingredients that you don’t see that keeps Mary Alice and Darl Collins’ baking operation going, when it could very easily fall apart.

“The biggest thing and I’m still learning is called patience,” Darl Collins said.

“I’m using no fingers and I’m rolling it the best I can everything slips on me a little bit,” said Mary Alice.

She lost her fingers the same time she lost her legs. The result of septic shock. Then last year, one month before the Indiana State Fair, another diagnosis.

“I was getting along really great, I was beginning to walk just with the gate belt by myself and then I was struck with ovarian cancer,” she said.

Married to the state fair baking competition as long as she has been to Darl, Mary Alice was determined to enter her baked goods. She made it along with 24 pies.

“The ladies that help down there even came out to my car and said ‘How do you do this?'”

She placed in a number of categories. No surprise to anyone, least of all, Darl.

“I want to see her succeed, and she can only do so much in the condition that she’s in and in order to succeed, I gotta take it the next step higher,” said Darl.

He is always right beside Mary Alice as they prepare to show pies at their 58th state fair together this year.

With a key ingredient and a secret one, too.

“You just have to have that positive attitude,” said Mary Alice.

“You want me to share the longevity to marriage? ‘Yes ma’am.'” said Darl.

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