Sherry Whitaker: Running Toward Hope

by | Jun 2024

In September of 2004, many in the Lebanon community gathered together for an event called Sherry’s Run 5K to honor the life of Sherry Whitaker — a 44-year-old wife and mother who passed away from colon cancer. Sherry’s friends and family were so moved by the life she lived that they decided to gather together in her memory close to her birthday in September. What was intended to be a one-time gathering grew into a reoccurring event that blossomed into the nonprofit organization Sherry’s Hope. 

Sherry’s Hope offers financial assistance and emotional support to families in Wilson County and surrounding communities who are actively receiving treatment or are in hospice care for a cancer diagnosis. When local families are facing days that seem to be full of darkness, Sherry’s Hope strives to be a light and share the hope of Christ. Sherry’s Hope assists with utility bills, housing payments, medical expenses/prescription assistance, grocery assistance, and more. In 2023, Sherry’s Hope provided over $300,000 of assistance to 135 local families in need. 

Sherry’s Run 5K is the organization’s largest fundraiser each year. Lime green bows are hung around town and many businesses sport “Proud Sponsor” signs in their yards during the weeks leading up to the event. This year, the 21st annual Sherry’s Run 5K will be on Sept. 14 at 8 a.m. Thousands of friends, families, cancer survivors, caregivers, and more will rally at the event site, 623 W. Main St., in Lebanon. At the sound of the shotgun start, a huge wave of runners and walkers will journey down Main Street. 

For many, the 5K is so much more than just a morning of exercise; it’s a morning of meaning. Some walk as cancer survivors, some walk in honor of a friend who is currently battling cancer, some walk in memory of a loved one who battled cancer… but all walk in hope. Because of God’s abundant blessings and the thousands of supporters through the years, what started as a love for one woman became an explosion of grace for the community. GN 

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