Sherri Hastings of Laurel is 52, and though she has never had breast cancer, she believes it is just a matter of time before she will. “The average age in my family to be diagnosed with breast cancer is 55,” explains Sherri. “My mom has had breast cancer twice. My aunts on both sides have had it. I was only 13 years old when my grandmother died of breast cancer. It impacted me greatly. I loved my grandmother to pieces.”
Sherri has been tested to find out whether she carries the breast cancer gene, and she does. However, she does not view it as a death sentence. Instead she views her family’s history as an inspiration to do whatever she can to fight breast cancer and support women who have been diagnosed with it.
One of the ways she does this is by walking and fundraising for the Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer in Ocean City, Md. Her team, nicknamed “Tickle Pink,” is made up of 20 people, including her daughters and her granddaughters. Fighting breast cancer is a family affair:
Sherri’s five-year-old granddaughter likes to say, “I walk for my mom-mom’s boobies, and she walks for mine.”
Another way that Sherri supports breast cancer survivors is through her job in Rehoboth Beach where she’s the assistant manager of the Hanes Brands store. Located near the Tunnell Cancer Center, the store receives many customers who have gone through
breast cancer treatments including mastectomies, lumpectomies and radiation treatment. Sherri not only offers expert bra fitting advice and help with prostheses, but says she provides, “moral support, friendship, and an ear to listen. I try to make them feel comfortable, and if they need to, give them a place to cry. I’ve developed relationships with many people who keep up with me.”
Her store carries double-lined bras for comfort and compression bras for after surgery. “The women feel better about themselves when they have a natural looking figure and can be attractive in clothes,” she says.
Her compassionate work is her way of paying it forward. “I feel that when breast cancer happens to me, I hope there will be someone there supporting me,” says Sherri. “All good deeds are rewarded somehow. You get what you give.”
2012 marks Sherri’s third year of Making Strides, and “our team has big plans this year,” she says. Their fundraising activities include raffling a Horizon of Hope quilt, jewelry sales and a bake sale at the grand opening of a new paint ball company in the area.
“When I walk in Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, I’m thinking about all the people who passed away from breast cancer before me, and I’m looking to the future to provide more women with support and a chance for a cure through the American Cancer Society.”