On Feb. 6, NASCAR’s cancer warrior, Sherry Pollex, shared a quick video on her socials showing her ringing the bell at her doctor’s office, signaling the end of her latest round of chemotherapy treatments.
She looked beautiful, acted ecstatic and seemed as if she had conquered the world.
But when you have ovarian cancer, looks can be deceiving.
“The day I rang that bell was a good day and I loved thinking that I won’t have to do chemo every three weeks anymore. But when you are in there for a reoccurrence, your mindset is a little different from your first time,” Sherry told Rare Country in a new interview. “In the back of your mind, you are wondering when you will be back again. And that’s where I am at. I’m a realist.”
Sherry’s frankness about her own odds to beat this awful cancer might take some people by surprise, but it’s this frankness that has appealed to so many who have found inspiration in Sherry and her journey, as detailed in her SherryStrong.org blog. Originally diagnosed with cancer in 2014, Sherry was forced back into treatment when she experienced a recurrence smack dab in the middle of longtime boyfriend Martin Truex Jr’s championship run.
“I don’t feel so great today,” Sherry told us on Feb. 8, pointing to the fact that it usually takes her a good week and a half to start feeling better after treatments. “As much as I want to resume regular activities, I just don’t want to push my body too much.”
Yet despite this, Sherry will join her love Martin as he travels to Florida on Feb. 9 to prepare to run the Daytona 500 and defend his championship title.
“There is always this battle between keeping myself healthy and supporting him,” Sherry says quietly. “I’m going to try to get to the grid on Sunday because I know people want to see me, but with the flu going around and everyone wanting to hug or touch me, it just can be a little dangerous after chemo. I might be hanging a bit in the bus until the big race.”
Now that chemo is through though, Sherry says that she will continue to be on drug inhibitors, which will start up again in roughly eight weeks. “I will be on those for the rest of my life, or until there is another recurrence, which you pray and hope doesn’t happen,” Sherry says.
We are praying, too.
Yet, chemo did have its bright moments, moments that Sherry says helped her through the rough days.
“I honestly don’t know what I would do without my family, and my friends and NASCAR fans that have all been there for me,” she says. “You literally can’t go through this disease alone.”
And while Martin’s off season wasn’t much of one (“When you win the championship, you don’t get much time off during the off season,” Sherry explains), she does hope that, as a couple, they will have time to relish the present. “Once the season gets going and I start to feel better, maybe we will have some time to really spend some special time together,” she says.
Until then, Sherry perseveres with the help of country music.
“I listen a lot to Eric Church and Florida Georgia Line and Miranda Lambert,” she tells us. “And I heard Carrie Underwood’s new song [‘The Champion,’] and it really reminded me of our season last year.”
Well, you know what it reminded us of Sherry?
It reminded us that the true champion is YOU.
Keep fighting, girlfriend.