With her first grandchild on the way, Gina Hunt was excited, to say the least.
Family meant everything to Hunt, and she couldn’t wait for the new addition. She would soon find out the sweet girl would also be a great source of hope and motivation for her as she faced a terminal diagnosis.
In 2010, Hunt was diagnosed with lung cancer. At that time, the doctors gave her about one year to live. Her response was, “I will live as long as God wants me to live.”
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 2013, her cancer had already spread into her lymph nodes and then into her brain. Ricky Hunt heard about Sherry’s Run from a co-worker at the Dana Corp. 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 Sherry’s Run would be able to assist with necessary expenses like utility bills and provide grocery and gas cards, the Hunts were beyond grateful.
Ricky said even now Sherry’s Run gave a gift far greater than financial assistance.
“We always knew that someone cared about us,” he said. “There are no words to describe how much that means.”
In September, Ricky and Gina were able to participate in the 10th annual Sherry’s Run event in Lebanon. This was so important to them because they wanted more than anything to use Gina’s story to inspire others to keep fighting.
“I knew she was tired that day, but I also knew that she would finish 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 the event could bless others and that is what she was all about. On the way home, Gina even told Ricky she wanted to come back the following year. Unfortunately, she would never be able to realize that goal.
Gina Hunt died in December surrounded by her loving family.
Throughout her battle with cancer, Ricky said 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 talked about how full of life she was. He told of a time when they were driving down the road and her favorite song came on. At the time, she weighed only about 100 pounds 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 it 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. The 11th annual Sherry’s Run is scheduled for Sept. 13 at 8 a.m. in Lebanon on the west lawn of Wilson Bank & Trust at 623 W. Main St.
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.