Longtime girlfriend of Martin Truex Jr. creates SherryStrong.org
Mooresville, N.C. – Sherry Pollex turns 37 today, an age some doctors warned her she may never see. At 35, the longtime girlfriend of NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Martin Truex Jr. was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer in August of 2014. Pollex found out quickly that the statistics for stage three ovarian cancer were grim.
But as family and friends know, Pollex has a stubborn streak and doesn’t take kindly to being told she can’t do something. With Truex Jr. and family by her side, she fought for her life, and chose a doctor who would fight alongside her. Within days, she underwent a radical hysterectomy and debulking surgery expected to last four hours that instead lasted seven grueling hours as her surgeon painstakingly removed every trace of cancer he could see with the human eye.
During the 17 months of treatment that followed, supporters cheered her on by using #SherryStrong via social media. Each message reminded her to fight and inspired a new reason to live: SherryStrong.org.
“SherryStrong.org is my way of helping other women fight this horrible cancer,” Pollex said. “Even though I’d had many of the symptoms of ovarian cancer for months, I was pin-balled from doctor to doctor before finally being diagnosed by a family friend. Ovarian cancer is known for being very aggressive and moving quickly through the body. What if I had known the symptoms? What if I knew what to ask my doctor? My goal is to make sure every woman understands the symptoms so she feels empowered to get answers and a diagnosis early.”
SherryStrong.org’s mission is to empower women to know their bodies, recognize the symptoms of ovarian cancer and learn how integrative and holistic practices may complement conventional medicine. The site operates within the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation, which recently rebranded to focus on both childhood cancers and ovarian cancer.
Ovarian cancer is a growth of abnormal malignant cells that begins in the ovaries
(women’s reproductive glands that produce ova), according to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance (OCRFA). In 2015, more than 21,000 women were diagnosed with new cases of ovarian cancer; that same year, more than 14,000 women died from ovarian cancer, OCRFA reports.
“The statistics are horrifying and we can do better. No, we will do better,” Pollex said. She recently joined OCRFA in Washington, D.C., to advocate for ovarian cancer research funding and will team up with the organization again this September for its Teal Appeal campaign. She also works with Vermillion as a spokesperson for the OVA1® blood test. OVA1 is an FDA-cleared blood test used to help evaluate the risk of ovarian cancer in patients with an adnexal mass planned for surgery.
“Sherry is the toughest and bravest woman I know. I have no doubt she will change how ovarian cancer is understood and treated,” Truex Jr. said. “Education is the first thing that needs to change. When Sherry was diagnosed, we had never even heard of ovarian cancer. We didn’t even know what it was. Women must understand the symptoms first so they can get an accurate diagnosis and get the right treatment plan in place to give them the best chance of survival.”
In addition to education and awareness of ovarian cancer symptoms, Pollex wants to provide a resource for cancer survivors to learn about what they can truly expect to experience during treatment and beyond.
“I went into surgery and awoke in post-surgical menopause from having a radical hysterectomy,” Pollex said. “My doctors were so focused on saving my life, nobody warned me what life would feel like when I woke up. I had to start researching how to adjust to this new ‘normal.’”
What Pollex learned shocked her. “After I started treatment, my doctors were worried that I’d lost too much weight and told me to go home and eat cheeseburgers to gain weight back, but I knew that didn’t sound right. How could adding more chemicals to my already chemical-riddled body help me? I had to learn how to be my own advocate, what to eat and how to nourish my body to bring it back to a healthy state. I want to empower other women to do the same.”
Pollex has traveled nationwide to meet with integrative health experts to create a plan that has worked for her. SherryStrong.org will share what she has learned while also encouraging women to talk with their doctors about how conventional medicine can help, too.
“There’s no magic cure for cancer because everyone’s body and everyone’s cancer is different,” Pollex said. “Ignoring conventional medicine isn’t the answer. I believe a mindful combination of holistic, integrative medicine with conventional medicine can help every woman with cancer live her healthiest, strongest life.”
About the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation
The Martin Truex Jr. Foundation is a 501(c)3 founded in 2007 by NASCAR Sprint Cup Driver and namesake. Our mission is to raise awareness and funding for childhood and ovarian cancer initiatives, both tragically underfunded.
About Sherry Pollex and SherryStrong.org
Sherry Pollex co-founded the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation in 2007 with longtime boyfriend, Truex Jr. In 2009, she created Catwalk for a Cause, the Foundation’s signature fundraiser for childhood cancer. In 2014, she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer and underwent a radical hysterectomy followed by chemotherapy. In 2016, she launched SherryStrong.org to empower women to know their bodies, recognize the symptoms of ovarian cancer and learn how integrative and holistic practices may complement conventional medicine. She also owns and operates Lavendar Boutique in Mooresville, N.C.