Supporters of “Sherry’s Run” have an incredible giving spirit, one that this area prides itself on.
In this spirit, Wilson County’s largest grassroots cancer fundraising organization is truly making a difference in the lives of those who are battling cancer. The funds raised go to help cancer patients who are hurting right here in Wilson County.
“If we can help one person in the whole world it will be worth it; because, one person is the whole world to somebody,” said Gary Whitaker, “Sherry’s Run” board member. He continued, “When someone is sick there are many worries – with cancer the list seems never ending. Put on top of that financial troubles and it is much more than anyone should have to bear; but, this is a burden that hits some of our neighbors really hard and when they least expect it.”
When faced with cancer – the worry of how I can afford the needed test, or procedure, or surgery or prescription; or how can I pay for my house, or groceries or utilities, when I cannot work any longer due to my illness, are questions that a local woman recently asked, over and over. Her name is Regina Hoyt – she is only one of the many who are being helped through funds raised by “Sherry’s Run.”
Whitaker said, “There are hundreds of individuals who are being helped by ‘Sherry’s Run.’ The funds raised stay here – they are used to help cancer patients that live, work, got to church or seek treatment here in Wilson County. The stories are all unique -- each of their stories is significant and worthy. Ms. Hoyt’s story describes how help from ‘Sherry’s Run’ provided rays of hope that continue to light the way for a cancer patient who has had many struggles.”
The following is her story: A dark cloud has followed Regina Hoyt lately. The past year has been an eventful one, in too many of the wrong ways. Because of colon cancer, an overwhelming majority of her experiences in recent months have been filled with sadness, pain and anguish. In spite of all the darkness, though, a few bright spots in her life have grown brighter, and she’s used them to keep finding her way forward.
It was last September when Hoyt, in her 50s, visited the doctor about some difficulties and intestinal pain she’d been experiencing for a while. A mere doctor’s referral and a colonoscopy later, she received life-changing news: stage four colorectal cancer was doing its work inside her body.
She didn’t know where to start – she didn’t have the needed funds for what lay ahead of her. She turned to everyone she knew for help. Her sister, Jimmie, who lives in Oklahoma, became part of that help from afar. Although Jimmie could not help with the financial component she began passionately searching for a way to help her sister. It came to her across the Internet when she found an organization named “Sherry’s Run.”
Tonyia Watson, board member and co-founder of “Sherry’s Run,” received the phone call regarding Regina; and, as in countless other calls, looked for ways in which she could help this lady. Watson said, “When I first visited Regina she was out of groceries. On another visit she was out of toilet paper and had on her last Depends -- and didn’t know what she was going to do at the end of the day. Her story is similar to a lot of the patients that we help – they have no where else to turn and have exhausted all other help and options.” To Regina, “Sherry’s Run” was an answer to her prayers. Watson said, “Through ‘Sherry’s Run’ funds, we were able to get her groceries, get her utilities paid, her prescriptions and co-pays met and got her the everyday essentials she was doing without like soap, shampoo and tissue paper – things that you don’t think about not having.” She added, “We also connected her with resources that could help her in other ways and continually provided calls and visits to let Regina know she has friends who care.”
Regina said, “‘Sherry’s Run’ has been like an angel sent to me. I don’t know what I would have done without their assistance.”
She has had treatments, and with them came a horrific cycle that continues today: chemotherapy, radiation, surgery, countless doctor visits, more surgery to reverse a previous procedure, numerous hospital stays, chemotherapy again. Struggle after struggle, she seemed to take a step backward for each step in the right direction. Through the relentless stream of adversity, she has found compassion and needed inspiration from “Sherry’s Run.”
The rays of hope in her life are proof that a great light shines just behind the dark cloud, waiting to break through. Regina’s found several beams of inspiration, in people who care about her – some of them strangers that she has never met who support the efforts of “Sherry’s Run.” She credits her husband, Jerry, and her two young grandchildren for keeping her going. Throughout her treatments and suffering, Regina has been able to see them each weekend. Besides good company, they give Regina a regular reminder of what living is really all about and the strength to keep fighting cancer.
Within our community there are a lot of big hearts that want to do something to help someone else – “Sherry's Run,” helps put those connections together to make a significant difference in the lives of those who are hurting. Whitaker noted, “Our mission is: ‘Through faith and love create an environment for all those affected by cancer which provides hope, knowledge, assistance, support and compassion’ – this sums up what we are all about.”
“Sherry’s Run” has formed strong partnerships with the medical community in Wilson County. They serve as the referral service for those who are in need and also work closely with the organization to provide needed treatments at negotiated discounted prices.
To help make a difference, please join everyone for the sixth annual “Sherry’s Run” scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 12, at 8 a.m. in Lebanon, beside the main office of Wilson Bank & Trust, 623 West Main Street. Make a commitment to become involved this year.
The mission of “Sherry’s Run” is to benefit those affected by cancer, with an emphasis on colon cancer. “Sherry’s Run” (www.sherrysrun.org) is a 501 (c) (3) organization. It was started in memory of Sharon “Sherry” Patterson Whitaker who died at the age of 44 from colon cancer. Donations are tax deductible and can be made online. Funds received serve also to help those locally who suffer with cancer. For more information on “Sherry’s Run,” call (615) 975-1081 or (615) 218-8810 or visit online.