Skip to main content

Media/Press Releases


Double Dose Of Hope


For many people facing a cancer diagnosis, the future can seem hopeless. For Joseph Riley, however; there was hope in his family and in the support he received from Sherry’s Run. 


Sherry’s Run is a grassroots, faith-based organization located in Lebanon, Tennessee that assists cancer patients and their families with paying bills and putting food on the table, while they are fighting the greatest battle of their lives. Joseph knew about Sherry’s Run because his girlfriend, Melanie, had walked a similar path with cancer in 2014. 

Melanie didn’t want to ask for help, but Debbie Mason of Macon Bank and Trust, encouraged her to contact Sherry’s Run where she found so much more than financial assistance. “It was so comforting to talk to someone who understood what I was going through,” says Melanie. “Tonyia was always willing to take time to share her own story with me and it gave me the courage to walk through it.” Tonyia Watson, Director of Patient Assistance for Sherry’s Run, has walked through her own cancer diagnosis and treatment and often spends hours just listening to patients and helping them understand what to expect.   

Fast forward a year and Joseph becomes very sick. In September of 2015, he finally gave in to Melanie’s pleading and let her drive him to the ER at St. Thomas where he was diagnosed with stage three Hodgkins Lymphoma. Joseph immediately began taking chemo treatments. This time, the family’s greatest need was for gas cards to get Joseph to and from treatments. “If it hadn’t been for Sherry’s Run, we would have missed many appointments,” says Riley. 

Sherry’s Run was also able to assist the family the cost of prescriptions and rent payments to keep a roof over their heads. Both Joseph and Melanie are in remission now and so thankful. Melanie’s ten year-old son, Jon, is thankful, also. The couple says he has been their best “caretaker” and if it weren’t for him, they would have given up. 


Corrie Cluck

Faith, courage, optimism and a desire to help others were qualities that defined Sharon “Sherry” Patterson Whitaker. Both before and after the energetic wife and mother was diagnosed with colon cancer, the impression she made on her family, friends and community was undeniable. While her battle in the flesh was lost in 2004, the spirit she had shown throughout life continues to touch more lives every day. Because of Sherry’s Run, a 5K run/walk benefit organized in Sherry’s memory, area cancer victims and their families can make strides toward becoming cancer survivors, and researchers are a small step closer to stopping the disease for good.