For Kelly Hale, cancer was the last diagnosis she thought she would get.
In February 2012, she was diagnosed with advanced stage-three breast cancer. With no family history or even knowing anyone with the disease, this came as a shock to the then 48 year old.
"Everything happened so fast," Hale said as she remembered her first run-in with cancer.
When someone receives devastating news that has cost so many others their lives, of course they would wonder if they could be next.
"At first I wondered if I was going to die but I knew I couldn’t focus on that,” Hale said.
Instead, Kelly chose to live each day positively. She knew keeping her head up would make her struggle less difficult.
"I've always been pretty tough," said Hale.
While going through chemotherapy, as well as radiation, almost all of her energy was gone making it a struggle to complete her usual day-to-day tasks. Despite this, Hale pushed on and accomplished much.
"It might have taken me all day to do laundry, but I did it," she said.
Determination to keep a normal life and to make herself feel as though she could do anything she set her mind to is what kept her getting up every day.
Losing her hair was another monumental mental challenge because she had no control over what was happening.
"When you are going through cancer, you don't have much control over anything," Hale said.
So, she took matters into her own hands and let her hair dresser cut all of her hair off during her first few weeks of chemotherapy.
"This way, it felt like it was my choice – not the disease's," Hale said.
It takes quite a lot to make your mind up that something is not going to dictate your life, but Hale did it.
With no living extended family except a son, daughter and granddaughter, Tommy, her boyfriend of five years, never left her side. She calls him her biggest supporter and main caretaker on those especially tough days.
"He makes me laugh every day; even when I was so sick,” Hale said. “That's what the world is about, compassion."
Their relationship has given her an entirely new perspective on life and how to value others. What she and Tommy have is something that only happens once in a lifetime.
Keeping the faith is something that can be difficult sometimes when people go through such a terrible struggle. Hale, on the other hand, kept praying and trusting in God. She ultimately knew that God had a plan for her and that she was going through this hardship for a reason.
Hale is extremely appreciative for Sherry's Run, calling it "a blessing for anyone who needs them."
When Hale had nowhere to turn to make ends meet, this made her life even more stressful. She first heard of Sherry's Run through one of her best friends. When Hale expressed her needs to the organization, they were met with the most generosity.
To Hale, Sherry's Run means so much. She loves the idea of a local nonprofit like Sherry’s Run, and she is appreciative of the assistance that they give to people in need.
“Sherry’s Run ultimately helped me survive and I’m forever grateful,” Hale said.
For Hale, she has learned through her unique journey that every day is a blessing. She hopes that by sharing her story, people who are also battling cancer can feel a little better knowing that there is help nearby.
"I think you become a different person, going through something like this," she said.
Trying to stay positive and healthy may seem impossible at times, but she believes it is essential to battling this disease. What are her final thoughts on her story? "God ain't ready for me yet."
The 10th annual Sherry’s Run is scheduled for Sept. 14 at 8 a.m. in Lebanon, beside the main office of Wilson Bank & Trust at 623 W. Main St. Registration is open.
To learn more about Sherry’s Run, call 615-925-2592. To refer someone who might qualify for assistance, call 615-925-9932 or visit sherrysrun.org.