Lebanon, TN, September 3, 2013 – The 2013 Sherry’s Run is proudly dedicated to the memory of David Ray Hunter - a remarkable man who achieved more in his short life than others can only dream about. His determined spirit and complete selflessness continues to inspire others who knew him or hear his touching story.
“David was a gift from God.” Those were the proud words of a dedicated and loving father. David Hunter was not handed an easy life early on, however, he chose to keep his head up and partake in activities that people his own age were doing. His blindness did not stop him from having a memorable life that made a huge impact on many different people.
David was adopted on October 5th, 1965 when he was just seven months old. He progressed normally as a young boy until he hit the age of four. His father, Raymond, had noticed that David was having some vision trouble. When he took him to Vanderbilt and they ran various tests, it was discovered that David had an optical nerve dying in his left eye. The diagnosis was drusen of the optic disc—one of the rarest optical deficiencies in the world. The doctors said that only one person had reportedly gone completely blind after being diagnosed. Just a short time later at the age of 10, David became the second.
Even with this major handicap, David was determined to have a normal life. David never considered him being visually impaired as a reason not to do something he wanted to. He grew up going to school, getting a job teaching people how to skate at an ice skating rink, going to church and even getting an ID. Raymond even bought him a talking computer that assisted him with his everyday tasks and he was able to keep up with Raymond’s household’s records.
After David’s mother passed away when he was only seventeen, he began learning to do things such as cook and clean the house. “David loved to help me around the house—he could do anything a normal seeing person could do if you just gave him a chance,” said his father. When Raymond had knee surgery and could not walk very well, David was right there to help. Even his aunt, who lived down the road, would call upon David to help her with chores around the house. “David had such a gentle spirit; he just wanted to help people.”
“Early on, I noticed that David had an incredible memory,” recalls Raymond. At a young age, David had memorized several different passages from the Bible. There was even one instance where David reminded his father that he had missed an exit on the interstate. Perhaps most remarkably, when David was older and went off to college, he had his whole classroom route at Carson-Newman memorized after Raymond showed him the first time.
While studying at Christian schools and earning various degrees to prepare him to be a minister, David really wanted to go on a class trip to the Holy Land. Walking where his Savior walked was thrilling for David; he had a tremendous faith and loved preaching God’s Word. “David had a great love for traveling. I even let him go on many trips alone.” He went on mission trips, went snowboarding and repelling, and even explored Europe.
“I never told him he couldn’t,” Raymond said as he reflected about his son. David applied that can do spirit to every aspect of his life - earning two bachelor’s degrees and four master’s degrees, traveling extensively and serving others. Things that seemed out of reach for David, he mastered.
One night, when David returned home from a snowboarding trip, he told Raymond he was going to take a shower. After a few minutes, Raymond heard a noise which seemed to be out of the ordinary. As he knocked on the bathroom door, he gained no response. After opening the door he found David lying on the floor, coughing up blood—later they would find out that a hemorrhage caused him to collapse. Raymond immediately rushed him to the hospital. After being transferred to Vanderbilt and undergoing tests, the doctors delivered their grim diagnosis – stage four pancreatic cancer.
The doctors told David that he may only have a month to live. What was his response? “I think I will live a little bit longer.” That he did. After battling five months and at which point he weighed a mere 135 pounds, David knew it was time to go home. He called in his pastor and made final arrangements with Raymond. At the young age of 45, David Ray Hunter left this world and went on to something much greater. He was now receiving his reward in heaven.
“David was such a blessing to everyone he met—his determination just inspired them. A lot of people with his condition give up. He didn’t.” Just as David blessed others while living, his life continues to have a positive impact today. Never imagining that he would outlive his son, Raymond had been saving money for several years so that David would have all that he needed after Raymond was gone. Raymond decided that he wanted to use those funds to continue David’s work by donating to a number of ministries that assist and encourage others or help spread the gospel. One of the local beneficiaries is Sherry’ Run. “Sherry’s Run is deeply appreciative to Raymond Hunter for the donations that he has made in David’s memory,” says Tiffy Clemons, Sherry’s Run Executive Board Member, “which allows us the opportunity to serve our neighbors who are fighting cancer.”
Sherry’s Run remembers the incredible life of Mr. David Ray Hunter; honoring a remarkable man who continues to inspire us all by his determined spirit, positive attitude and never-ending faith; teaching by example to live and walk by faith, not by sight.
The mission of Sherry’s Run: Through faith and love create an environment for all those affected by cancer, which provides hope, knowledge, assistance, support and compassion. To learn more about Sherry’s Run, please call 615-925-2592. To refer someone who might qualify for assistance, please call 615-925-9932 or visit www.sherrysrun.org
Come join us as we make a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer right here in our community. The tenth annual Sherry’s Run is scheduled for Saturday, September 14, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. in Lebanon, beside the main office of Wilson Bank & Trust, 623 West Main Street. Mark your calendar and make a commitment to join us. REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN! Log on to www.SherrysRun.org to sign up TODAY!
“Serving Cancer Patients 10 Years Running”