Aaron & Sally Wilson, Shirley & Harold Pippin, Barbara & Don Blanton on a wonderful adventure

Harold, Shirley, Barbara, Don, Sally, & Aaron traveling together

Saturday, July 29, walking day 16 was a beautiful mixture of blue skies, clouds, thunder, and rainstorms. What a wonderful day for reflective walks thinking about all of those who have influence on us throughout our lives, whether we know it at the time or not.  I’m thankful for my parents and for their friends and for all of life’s lessons.  I walked 13.2 miles in memory of Don Blanton and his family and all of the work they do on behalf of those impacted by cancer.  Thanks to the Blanton family for carrying on Don’s legacy and caring so deeply for those walking a cancer journey.


Sunday, July 30 I am walking for my sister-in-law Cheryl Payne Moreno, a native of Dallas, Texas where my husband Rich was raised.  Cheryl’s cancer diagnosis was made late in the cancer journey as can often be the case with ovarian cancer.  She had been traveling internationally and felt weak during the trip so she returned early.  Her abdomen was distended and in the ER she was quickly diagnosed with stage three or stage four ovarian cancer.  She started treatment at the Texas Cancer Treatment Centers and she did not respond well to chemo and moved to Cancer Treatment Centers of America.  Her cancer still did not respond well to the chemotherapy treatments.  Cheryl tried and tried in her spirit of trying anything.  She carried forward a great attitude.  She and her daughter-in-law Heather flew into Chicago and drove to Wisconsin to a specialized ovarian treatment center multiple times.  The center in Wisconsin was impressive because all tests, blood draws, and treatments took place in this specialized center for ovarian cancer.  She found out that her ovarian cancer was not genetic from this specialized center.

Cheryl was deeply involved in mission work in Nicaragua, where she served as a missionary for three years.  She loved to read, play scrabble, and enjoyed spending time with her family which included five children, their spouses and children and her brothers.  She carried an amazing positive attitude and was up for trying anything.  Her faith sustained her through the treatments, the travel, and the two-year cancer journey.  Her friends and family surrounded her with love and support.  She was diagnosed in late spring 2009 and passed away from ovarian cancer on December 14, 2011.

Thanks to Rich Payne and Heather Moreno for sharing Cheryl’s story.  I am honored to walk for the Payne/Moreno family in Cheryl’s memory.