We are devastated to announce the death of Sherie Hildreth, Co-founder and President of the SHOC Foundation. She passed away in the late sunny afternoon on Saturday, December 26. She was at home with her family, resting comfortably.
In the spring of 1978, at the young age 22, Sherie graduated from the University of Oregon and the following fall accepted a teaching position with the Gladstone School District. She taught at Kraxberger Middle School for 30 years until her retirement in 2008. As a sixth grade teacher, she was one of the lucky few to take a weeklong trip to Rockaway Beach each year with the sixth grade class for Outdoor School. There, she was known as Cinnamon Teal. In her last ten years of teaching, she took on the challenge of creating and overseeing the Gladstone Community School’s Summer Recreation program. Through all her teaching and mentoring endeavors, it’s estimated that Mrs. Hildreth personally helped to sculpt an astounding 6,000 young and malleable minds.
In early October of 2004, Sherie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Being the productive person she was, she couldn’t sit still and let cancer happen to her. As she would say, “I have cancer, cancer doesn’t have me.” What Sherie did in the next five years of her life would prove her not only to be a catalyst for change in the cancer community but a teacher in life, as well as the classroom. Prompted by the effects of chemotherapy, Sherie partnered with a dear friend to create the hat business, Hats of Empowerment. When hats began selling, the ladies wanted to put the profits to good use. After conducting some research, Sherie found that no organizations existed in the state of Oregon to fund research for ovarian cancer. She also found that Oregon’s nationally renowned Oregon Health & Science University’s (OHSU) Knight Cancer Institute was home to a highly progressive gynecologic cancer laboratory. Bingo!
With the help of friends and family, Sherie started the Sherie Hildreth Ovarian Cancer Foundation (SHOC) in 2005. SHOC has hosted several fundraising events over the past five years; the most prominent and successful being its Empowerment Day Run & Walk. To date, the SHOC Foundation has donated $225,000 to the gynecologic lab at OHSU’s Knight Cancer Institute.
Sherie’s determination and dedication to raise awareness and funds for ovarian cancer research brought a success and fulfillment to her life that most people never get the chance to experience. She brought hope and inspiration to thousands of people who were touched by her positivity and will to make a difference, both in and outside the realm of cancer. The legacy Sherie left behind is remarkable. She will be missed terribly amongst family and friends, but never forgotten. Once a spark of energy, now an eternal beam. A memorial service was held December 29 at Congregation Beth Israel. If you would like to show your support for the family at this difficult time, they ask that you do so by contributing a donation to the SHOC Foundation in Sherie's memory.
For all of her adult life, Sherie has hosted Thanksgiving dinner at her home for all of her family to enjoy. It's never been too much work because she loves it. Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday!
Though her health did not allow her to prepare for the big day this year, having Thanksgiving at her home was still going to happen. Her kids, Rich and Ashley, willingly took the reigns to prepare for a beautiful Thanksgiving holiday. Rich masterfully prepared a superb sage-infused buttered turkey roasted to perfection while Ashley prepared several Mom-approved side dishes and pumpkin pie to add to the scrumptious potluck feast! And though Sherie's appetite is sparse, she promised to try at least one bite of everything. As it turned out, she really enjoyed the stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a small sliver of pumpkin pie!
Her Thanksgiving was very peaceful and relaxing.
In total, 16 family members congregated under one roof to celebrate life and give thanks for all that has been given. Several heartfelt toasts were given and a few tears shed. For such a large party of guests, the evening was rather intimate.
Thanksgiving for the Hildreth's this year was extra special and will never be forgotten.
SHOC just received notification from OHSU that it has been made an associate of the President's Society. Membership into this society recognizes the special partnership between the SHOC Foundation and the university. As a member of this society, SHOC is invited to partake in special OHSU events, receive recognition in published OHSU materials, and have availability to exclusive communication and interaction with OHSU personnel, scholars and other influential leaders.
Associate members are recognized as “donors whose vision and generosity is driving OHSU into the future of limitless possibility…
…President’s Society members are fueling achievement and innovation, advancing the frontiers of health and science, transforming technology, expanding educational opportunities, promoting public service, and fostering investment in the health of the region and all who live there.”
The SHOC Foundation is currently a Bronze Medallion level donor. Over the past four years, SHOC has donated $223,000 in restricted cash gifts. This means the money SHOC donates goes straight into the gynecologic laboratory of Dr. Tanje Pejovic at the Knight Cancer Institute. Medallion levels are determined by gifts donated over a lifetime. Entering into its fifth fiscal year, SHOC is only $27,000 away from becoming a Silver Medallion level donor. At the rate SHOC is going, the foundation will likely move to the Silver Medallion level by next summer!
Everyone wants to know how Sherie is doing. Please don’t be alarmed if you’ve e-mailed her and received no response. She’s alive and has a sense of humor to prove it. Her health, however, is not in mint condition. She’s fighting very hard, refusing to “throw in the towel” as she says. Right now, though, the cancer is not relenting. Over the past six months, Sherie has been enduring the devastating repercussions of her disease. The past two years have included several different kinds of chemotherapy treatments. None of which have put the disease into remission.
She currently underwent a procedure that may or may not show results. She also just began a new kind of therapy with the pill Tomoxophen. More than anything, we hope that the Tomoxophen will assist in shrinking the tumors which are posing a great deal of pain. In the meantime, Sherie is left with no choice but to take pain meds. So, while her pain is somewhat suppressed, so is her appetite. She is eating. But very little.
Please continue to send her your love. Sending it to her through snail-mail is better than e-mail for right now. Using the computer is a bit frustrating to her. Also, if you’d like to stop by and visit, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays after 11:00am are preferable for the family. Please call Bruce at 503-781-0989 to arrange a visit.
Sherie and the family send their love to all who have been with them over the past five years giving their undying support and care.
Stay tuned to hear the latest from SHOC.
Sherie was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in the fall of 2004. She underwent a full hysterectomy and immediately began chemotherapy. Like most other newly diagnosed ovarian cancer patients, she was treated with Taxol through a port surgically placed in her upper right chest. She lost her hair, eyebrows and eyelashes. Over a year out from her hysterectomy, her lower abdomen continued to go through alternating states of numbness and pain. She experienced full-fledged neuropathy throughout the duration of her chemo treatment.
A cancer patient: yes. But, Sherie was also in her 27th year as a 6th grade school teacher at Kraxberger Middle School in Gladstone, Oregon. She was able to take four months off work (she returned to her classroom in the spring; just in time for Outdoor School). During this time, she researched information about her disease, assessed her life, and realized she could not sit quiet and let this illness have its way with her. In other words, she had cancer, cancer did not have her.
As winter set in, Sherie realized how important hair really was. Not having it posed more problems than mere aesthetics. She was cold. Rather than just sporting any old head garment, she and long time friend Cathy Ekerson decided to craft symbolic fleece hats. Because Sherie knew she was not the only one experiencing this condition, she figured other women might be interested in wearing a hat that represented their own personal fight against cancer. The hats were somewhat of a hit. They quickly established a small product line called Hats of Empowerment under the company name Hilek Designs.
Once orders and money began coming in, Sherie and Cathy wanted it to go toward funding research and awareness for the disease. They came across the gynecologic cancer laboratory at the Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU). At the time, there were no organizations partnered with the lab to deliver continual funding. In their growingly frequent visits with one another, the two ladies wildly brainstormed all the different ways they could raise money for this lab. Then came the bright idea: a foundation. The Sherie Hildreth Ovarian Cancer Foundation was established. Today, the foundation is often referred to as the SHOC Foundation or simply SHOC.
The first foundation event to take place was a run/walk in the summer of 2005. It was called The Mrs. Hildreth Empowerment Walk & Run. From there, the ball was in motion. The following four years have brought numerous fundraisers including auctions, dinners, luncheons, wine tastings, bingo, fishing derbies, and the annual run/walk all in the name of funding research to find a cure. To date, SHOC has donated $223,000 to the Knight Cancer Institute's gynecologic cancer lab headed by the devoted Dr. Tanya Pejovic. That's a big contribution for such a little organization.
The foundation has come a long way over the course of five years. It's continuously growing, taking shape and moving forward.