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Kay Neal ‘Teams Up’ For Hope


Each year, more than 100 teams spend weeks recruiting and fundraising for the Sherry’s Run 5K Run/Walk. This year, a very special team will be joining their ranks: Kay’s Kancer Fighters! This team is so special because of the captain who formed it and her passion for giving back.


In June of 2013, Kay Neal of Mount Juliet, Tennessee went for her yearly physical. She was a newlywed with a new job and a lot of hope and excitement for her future. This routine exam changed everything for her when a lump was found on her breast. It was stage 2 breast cancer meaning she would face surgery, as well as chemotherapy and radiation.


“No one close to me had ever had breast cancer,” says Neal. “I was so afraid and had no idea what to expect or who to turn to.” A friend directed her to Sherry’s Run. “When I talked with Tonyia from Sherry’s Run, it was the first time I felt like someone really understood,” says Neal. “Sherry’s Run was my breath of fresh air.”

Throughout Neal’s treatment, Sherry’s Run was able to assist her with gas and grocery cards, as well as paying utility bills. According to Neal, “Sherry’s Run is a place for support financially, but also emotionally and spiritually. They really listen.” As Kay began to lose her hair and suffer the affects of cancer on her body, Tonyia Watson (Director of Patient Assistance for Sherry’s Run) was able to direct her to an organization called “Look Good, Feel Better,” where she found help to feel more like herself again.  

Through everything, Kay’s faith in God was what carried her. As Kay began to recover from her surgeries and treatment, she asked God how she could glorify Him for taking care of her through her illness. Her answer was to give back to Sherry’s Run and that is just what she is doing.
Kay was one of the first captains to form a team for this year’s event and she is excited! “People like Kay are the reason this event is such a huge success each year,” says Watson. “Her passion is what inspires others to get involved.”

Neal went on to express her appreciation for everyone in the community that supports Sherry’s Run. “I’m proud to be a part of this community! The people of Wilson County really care,” says Neal. Kay reminds us that when we give to Sherry’s Run, we are helping our whole community. “These are your family and friends!” she says. “Everyone will be affected by cancer sometime.”

Will you join Kay and thousands more who have a passion for serving their neighbors who are battling cancer? You can form a team, register as an individual or you can even register as a “sleep-in” if you cannot attend.

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.