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.