With her first grandchild on the way, Gina Hunt was excited, to say the least. Family meant everything to Gina and she couldn’t wait for this new addition. She would soon find out that this sweet girl would also be a great source of hope and motivation for her as she faced a terminal diagnosis.
In 2010, Gina was diagnosed with lung cancer. At that time, the doctors gave her approximately one year to live. Gina’s response was, “I will live as long as God wants me to live.” God must have had big plans for Gina, because she spent the next three years bringing hope, encouragement and inspiration to everyone she met.
When Gina and her husband, Ricky, crossed paths with Sherry’s Run in July of2013, her cancer had already spread into her lymph nodes and then into herbrain. Ricky heard about Sherry’s Run from a co-worker at the Dana Corporation near their hometown of Buffalo Valley. At the time, Gina was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, but she was a fighter. Gina was no longer able to work, so when they learned that Sherry’s Run would be able toassist with necessary expenses like utility bills and provide grocery and gas cards, the Hunts were beyond grateful. Ricky says, even now, that Sherry’s Run gave a gift far greater than financial assistance. When asked how he felt about the assistance from Sherry's Run he said, “we always knew that someone cared about us. There are no words to describe how much that means.”
In September, 2013, Ricky and Gina were able to participate in the 10th annual Sherry’s Run event in Lebanon, Tennessee. This was so important to them because they wanted more than anything to use Gina’s story to inspire othersto keep fighting. “I knew she was tired that day, but I also knew that she wouldfinish the race because she was the type of person that if she said she was going to do something, she did,” said Ricky. She believed that this event could bless others and that is what she was all about. On the way home, Gina even told Ricky that she wanted to come back the following year. Unfortunately, she would never be able to realize that goal.
Gina passed away in December, 2013, surrounded by her loving family. Throughout her battle with cancer, Ricky said that she never complained about pain and even went without pain medicine many days in order to be able to enjoy time with her precious granddaughter. “She always handled her disease with grace and poise,” said Ricky.
When asked what Gina was like, Ricky talks about how full of life she was. He tells of a time when they were driving down the road and her favorite song came on. At the time, she weighed only about 100 lbs. and had lost all of her hair, but that didn’t stop her from pulling the car over so that she could get out and dance on the side of the road. Gina never met a stranger. By the time she left the doctor’s office, she knew everyone in the waiting room. She also told everyone she met about Sherry’s Run and the unexpected blessing that they had been for her family.
God gave Gina more time than she could have imagined and she made the most of it. Sherry’s Run seeks to help families like this one make the most of their time together by helping them meet basic needs and connecting them with resources like counseling, support groups and other community based programs.
“Ricky and Gina were so grateful for the help provided by Sherry’s Run. It is such a blessing to serve families like Gina and Ricky everyday. We pray that we can make their fight a little bit easier,” said Tonyia Watson, Executive Board Member for Sherry’s Run. Find out how you can help Sherry’s Run continue to empower people like Gina and Ricky 52 weeks a year.
The eleventh annual Sherry’s Run is scheduled for Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 8:00 a.m. in Lebanon, on the west lawn of Wilson Bank & Trust, 623 West Main Street. Mark your calendar and make a commitment to join us.
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.