Source: Sherman Publications

‘I feel like I am going to lick this’

by Susan Bromley

June 08, 2011

Goodrich- Sherry Hempton suffered a mini-stroke last October. Two months later, on Christmas Day, her husband died. In February, she found a swollen lymph node and in April she started chemotherapy for stage IV cancer.

She has health insurance through Genesee County for low-income individuals, but the medical bills are accumulating. Still, she is persevering and she keeps the faith.

“I feel like I am going to lick this, get over it and go on to the next stage of my life,” said Hempton. “Faith and my family and good friends gives me strength that everything is going to be all right.”

In an effort to help Hempton with numerous medical bills, a spaghetti dinner fundraiser is planned for 2-8 p.m., June 18 at the Goodrich Lions Club, 9196 S. State Road. Tickets are $10 adults, $5 kids 12 and under and are available for pre-purchase (which is preferred) at local eateries including Cranberries, John’s Steakhouse, Little G’s Pizzeria, and Moo Cow Ice Cream & Desserts.

Jim Hempton, a former Atlas Township supervisor, had a heart attack Christmas Eve while he was driving, resulting in a car accident. Jim died from cardiac arrest. Sherry sustained some cracked ribs and bruising in the crash. While she was suffering severe emotional trauma from losing her husband of 42 years, scans showed no further physical issues. So it was a shock to learn just a few months later she had stage IV non-hodgkin’s lymphoma.

She noticed in February she had a swollen lymph node behind her left ear. Her doctor thought she had an infection and gave her antibiotics, but after more lymph nodes became inflamed, she saw an ear, nose and throat specialist who did a needle biopsy.

After further testing and scans, she learned she had cancerous lymph nodes not only in her neck, but also in her stomach, lungs, heart, and bone marrow. The aggressive cancer had not been there in December.

On April 4, Hempton began chemotherapy, and she has had four chemotherapy treatments so far. Her most recent session was Monday. On Tuesday, she expected the effects to hit in another day or so. She has nausea, but the biggest side effect is exhaustion.

Hempton hopes to be able to qualify for Medicaid. Two of her chemotherapy medications have been donated because they are not covered by insurance.

“I’m not sure about the other two (chemo drugs), but so far they’ve given me all my treatments,” said Hempton. “I didn’t really have time to get through the loss of my husband and then I was hit with this. I definitely know I’m gonna get through this. My insurance doesn’t cover all the chemo, but if I get Medicaid, that will help. I’m just not going to worry about it. I will just get through this and go on to the next thing.”

Hempton was surprised by the plans to have a fundraiser and is very grateful. She is the mother of Rachel (Christopher) Caverly and Nathan (Helena) Hempton. She has three grandchildren and she has lived in Goodrich for 50 years.

For more information on the spaghetti dinner fundraiser, call Brenda Hawkins at 810-429-0122.