Unshakeable faith. The courage to smile in the face of an uncertain future. An ongoing desire to serve,comfort and help. These are some of the qualities that caused a 44-year-old wife and mother of two to touch the lives of people in her community, and they continue to motivate others to finish a race that she began.
In February 2003, Sharon “Sherry” Patterson Whitaker began to experience discomfort in her side. With no real sense of urgency, she visited a nurse practitioner several weeks later, at the encouragement of a friend. She was hospitalized immediately. A few days later, on a Friday, the diagnosis was made. Sherry had a deadly form of colon cancer known as adenocarcenoma.
Sherry and her husband, Gary, discussed their options with physicians, and she began an aggressive treatment plan that included surgery and three rounds of chemotherapy. She would not listen to the discouraging reports and trusted her husband to make the decisions surrounding her treatment. In spite of valiant efforts and a positive outlook, Sherry Whitaker lost her battle on May 12, 2004.
There was an outpouring of love and appreciation by those who knew Sherry. A few weeks after her death a close friend, Tamara Lampsa, approached Gary with an idea about honoring her friend that could also help fight the deadly disease that took her life. He talked the idea over with the Whitakers’ two sons, Tyler and Matthew, and Sherry’s parents, Carney & Faye Patterson. That evening he ran into another friend, Tonyia Stockton, who immediately asked to help. The group’s desire to take action led to a 5K run/walk to benefit the research and treatment of colon cancer, and Sherry’s Run was born.
In Memory of Sharon “Sherry” Patterson Whitaker
Husband – Gary Whitaker & 2 sons Matthew & Tyler Whitaker
Born: September 12 1959
Died: May 12, 2004
Her battle lasted 12 months & 12 days.
While Sherry's Run's assistance is not exclusive to families who are fighting colon cancer, colon health and education is important to our team because of Sherry's battle. Colon cancer affects women and men equally as well as people of all ethnic backgrounds. The most common symptom of colon cancer is no symptom at all. Please talk to your doctor about getting a colonoscopy at age 50 or earlier if you have a family history. The earlier the cancer is caught, the more curable it is.
Tell your family and friends about getting screened for colon cancer. Sherry Whitaker did not have a history of colon cancer in her family. Those who have a family history of colon cancer are at higher risk and should get a colonoscopy as early as ten years before the family member developed cancer. Please consult your doctor. This one can be cured!
Your support is making difference and giving HOPE to your neighbors. Join us as and help us serve families who are fighting cancer.
Sherrys Story (PDF)