As meteorologist at WCPO here in Cincinnati, Sherry Hughes is used to being in the spotlight. Most of you know her as a bit of a local celebrity around town, and for good reason. Sherry is out front, chock full of positive energy and ready to lead. “I’ve always been conscientious from childhood that I am part of a larger community. I love being part of the greater good,” she says. Indeed! She does that wherever she goes.
Sherry initially made the move to Cincinnati for love. In 2011, after a year and a half of commuting from her home in Tampa Bay, she packed her things and moved to the Queen City to be with her beloved husband, Myron – and she’s loved this town ever since.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2019 that she knew just how much it loved her back.
Sherry lost her mom to breast cancer when she was in her early 20’s. “We were devastated. She was our world,” she recalls. Ever since, Sherry had always stayed on top of her health, incredibly proactive with her mammograms and tests. As an avid runner and swimmer, she felt great. She walked the halls at work, to keep in motion and connect with her colleagues. A testament to her vibrant and active lifestyle.
When the opportunity to have a breast MRI came about, she took advantage of it. It was a preventative, purely routine measure. Although after her appointment, something didn’t look right. She shrugged it off thinking it was probably nothing. Two 3-D mammograms and three biopsies later, they found what they were looking for. When she got the call, Sherry was informed that she was LIVING with Stage 2 invasive ductal carcinoma breast cancer.
She was stunned.
“It was a stormy day,” she recalls “so I went to work.” Sherry showed up, made sure viewers had what they needed and then headed home to face her personal storm.
She looked at her strong and steadfast husband of 9 years, weeping, and, “something came over me,” she says.
“It was as if my mother, grandmother, aunts and all my ancestors were there assuring me that it was going to be okay. I could feel their power willing this strength in me saying, ‘Do not be afraid.
You can do it. We are all here with you.’ ”
She tested HR2 positive and her oncologist recommended aggressive chemotherapy. So, she got busy getting healthy.
She remembers vividly the clumps of long hair that her mom lost during her breast cancer battle. Sherry didn’t want the drama of that, so she cropped her hair into a pixie. Her hairdresser made a custom wig for her knowing that it wouldn’t be long before she lost all of her hair. Although viewers and her co-workers knew about cancer, she didn’t skip a beat at work.
“It didn’t bother me to be bald,” she said, but wearing a wig was “hot, uncomfortable and I didn’t like it.” Seeing her aggravation, Myron encouraged her to go without it.
With very little fanfare, Sherry showed up for work, fully made up, looking fine, no wig and no hair! She went on the air and that’s when it happened…
The love she had so freely given to the community that she helped build over the years seemed to come flooding back to her. The switchboards lit up, emails came flooding in, it was overwhelming.
That strength she was searching for early on in her diagnosis suddenly bubbled over when she realized that she was now that glimmer of hope for families experiencing the same thing that she was. Although she had always been a leader within her community, she was now a sounding board for those who needed it most. For those who needed something to hold onto.
That’s just what Sherry Hughes is: the light after the storm. She says, “Television is what I do, but it isn’t all that I am.” It’s her abiding faith that’s kept her strong as she’s journeyed through cancer in the limelight. It’s the thing that draws her friends and community members to her as well.
Her “tv bestie” Krystin Hartman and close girlfriend Gina Goings both nominated her for a vacation through KWF. The day KWF showed up at Channel 9, she was shocked. “I didn’t know what it was all about. Why would someone do this for me and Myron!?”
The plan was for KWF to send them on a trip for their 10th Anniversary in the spring of 2020. Instead, her calendar filled up with more surgeries, treatment and, of course, Covid halted any travel plans.
It took almost two years to get that trip on their calendar. Myron and Sherry finally got off the ground last summer. When the plane took off, “a load just lifted from my shoulders. I didn’t know how much I needed that. All the strength it took to stay positive, battle cancer and be there for so many was lifted. It was freeing and liberating to run down the beach and just shout Hallelujah! God, thank you! Look where I am!” she reflects.
They didn’t talk about cancer on that trip and aside from now being a leader and role model for so many other women, they don’t talk much about it anymore at all. Sherry is glad to be LIVING.
“All that we’ve been through in the last few years is culminating in this huge ball of gratitude and joy...Somebody did that for me and Myron. Somebody else was taking care of us.”
Happy 11th Anniversary, Sherry and Myron. We are glad that like so many of our recipients, you’ve chosen to say YES. YES to Myron, YES to our city...and of course, YES to LIVING ON through KWF. You truly embody the mission of this foundation and we can’t wait to see all those who you continue to inspire along the way.
*Sherry Hughes is one of our Honorary Chairs for the 15th Annual Karen’s Gift Event on April 2, 2022. She’s one of the many deserving woman who represent our mission.*
By: Alexia Zigoris
I have many memories of my mom, far too many to count. Everything from cozy Christmas mornings and pizza-mom lunches to Ohio State Football games and countless car rides belting Sheryl Crow. While all those are seared into my memory the ones that stick with me the most always seem to be those that took place on vacations. That moment in time where my family got to step away from all the stresses of day-to-day life...no schedules, no chemo, no doctor’s appointments and most importantly, no cancer. The little moments in between. That’s where LIFE happens. And those moments are how I remember her.
Although I have no shortage of memories with my mom, one in particular always seems to follow me. Karen with a fishing rod in hand walking into the sunset while on one of our last vacations together. Some may look at this and think the scenery is what makes it beautiful, but to me, it is something far more significant. What this photo represents is my mom’s legacy. Although she may be moving forward as the sun sets on her life, what she left behind was beautiful. A legacy that brought beauty and a bit of life back into the lives of thousands of women and families just like hers.
Not too long after this photo was taken we decided to start a fund in honor of my mom. That little “FUNd” (as we now call it) is now known as The Karen Wellington Foundation for LIVING with Breast Cancer. As KWF grew, we quickly realized how many women, like Karen deserved a chance to share their legacy as well. We found that there were countless families who wanted to create their own ‘KWF’ but didn’t have the time, energy or resources to pour into starting and sustaining a foundation of their own. So that is where the idea of creating the FUNds began. KWF now has over 30 FUNds that celebrate the lives of those who believe in our mission.
Some FUNds are started after a recipient passes away as a way to celebrate their life and legacy. A FUNd that has really taken off this year has been the Becky Pellegrini FUNd. Becky and her husband, Joe took a KWF vacation to Maui back in 2018. After Becky’s passing last year her family knew that her vibrant legacy needed to be shared with those far beyond their small community in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Joe and his kids, Mia, Anna and Nick wasted no time starting The Becky Pellegrini FUNd in her honor. In fact this summer they hosted their first-ever “Beckypalooza” event raising thousands of dollars for our mission. The Becky Pellegrini FUNd allows for women like Becky to experience some of that magic she felt on her trip to Hawaii. Those little moments where time slowed down just enough for Becky to take it all in while watching the sea turtles from her beachside balcony. The moments in between.
Just as the Pellegrini kids started a FUNd in honor of their mom, Paaras Parker started a FUNd for herself! Although Paaras does not have cancer, years ago she found that our mission resonated with her. She wanted to do more to create FUN for women and families LIVING with cancer. This past weekend Paaras held her 9th annual KWF Birthday Give Back. Each year Paaras gathers friends and family together on her lawn for a yoga class where she discusses the impact of KWF and takes donations to fuel our mission. This year The Paaras Parker FUNd raised enough money to send a deserving woman and family LIVING with cancer on vacation! A testament to the power in taking a leap to “Give First.”
Although we have a variety of incredible KWF FUNds spanning from coast to coast, there has been one that’s resonated with me recently, The Jenn Anderson FUNd. And who is the one leading the charge through Jenn’s legacy FUNd? That would be none other than Jenn’s 11-year-old daughter, Greta. One bake sale at a time, Greta is changing the lives of countless ladies LIVING with cancer, just like her mom. My story is a lot like Greta’s. I was only 10 years old when my mom passed away, leaving millions of unanswered questions, ‘what-ifs’ and wide-open spaces to figure things out on my own. Although there are countless unknowns, there’s one thing I know for sure. My mom would’ve wanted this. Not only for her own legacy but for the thousands of women to come after her. I have no doubt in my mind that Greta’s mom would’ve too.
And it all started with a FUNd.
MORE ABOUT KWF FUNds
What is a KWF FUNd?
At KWF we give people the opportunity to start both LIVING and memorial FUNds in honor of those who would like to continue the KWF mission. All donations made in the name of each specific FUNd helps us send more women and families LIVING with cancer on special vacations, relaxing spa days and other FUN-only activities!
KWF FUNds are a great way to honor and celebrate the life and legacy of those who are still with us, as well as those who are LIVING ON through our mission.
Are there FUNd requirements?
Nope! There are no FUNd requirements. All we ask is that you are passionate about the mission and bringing more FUN to our recipients! You do not have to have cancer to create a LIVING FUNd. Additionally, the person you are honoring through a memorial FUNd does not have to have cancer as well.
If you would like to give more FUN through our mission, think about creating a LIVING FUNd.
Sign me up! Where do I start?
To learn more about starting a KWF FUNd, reach out to Susie Osha at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!