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June Cancer Survivor Month: Cindy Osborne

In 2006, 40-year-old teacher and single mother, Cindy Osborne of Mt. Juliet, TN went to the doctor for routine bloodwork, never expecting the news she would receive. Cindy’s bloodwork would reveal that she had polycythemia vera. This big word meant Cindy produced too much blood. Shocked by the diagnosis that typically only affects men and people over 60, Cindy was in disbelief. After being referred to an oncologist, Cindy’s diagnosis was initially treated by regularly donating blood. However, in 2007, Cindy’s original diagnosis progressed into myelofibrosis- or cancer of the bone marrow.

            Unlike many cancers graded in stages, myelofibrosis is graded on a scale from 1-4. Cindy’s cancer was graded at a 1 in the beginning. As a single mother raising two young girls who were just six and ten at the time, Cindy knew she would have to keep pushing forward. Cindy explained, “I became a student of my disease. I had a binder with everything in it and took it everywhere with me.” As her cancer progressed to grade 2, Cindy’s doctor told her that a stem cell transplant was the only cure. Being able to manage her diagnosis for many years with medications, Cindy continued to pray and ask God to allow her to raise her girls before needing a stem cell transplant.

            In 2021, Cindy was informed that her myelofibrosis had progressed to grade 3. She knew it was time. Her girls were grown and she needed to begin the steps of pursuing a stem cell transplant. With a leap of faith and her doctor’s blessing, Cindy reached out to MD Anderson in Houston, Texas, and made an appointment with a doctor who was notable for treating myelofibrosis. Cindy had no idea how the trip would be paid for, but trusted that it was the right step. Cindy reflected, “Our flights were paid for by a friend’s airline points. Another friend covered the rental car. My sister and brother-in-law took care of the hotel. The money came from everywhere to cover food and other travel expenses. The trip costs were completely covered, God had seen the need and provided.” This was only the beginning of God’s provision for Cindy.

            After having confirmation from the doctor in Houston that it was, in fact, time for the transplant, Cindy soon found that one of her sisters would be her best match as a donor. Before undergoing the transplant, Cindy returned home to finish out the school year. In May of 2022, one of her coworkers gave her a brochure about Sherry’s Hope. Cindy stated, “I had participated in Sherry’s Run before and had seen the green ribbons around town, but I didn’t know what Sherry’s Hope did.” After completing the Sherry’s Hope paperwork, Cindy was approved for assistance. Cindy expressed, “I cannot say enough times what a relief it was to receive assistance with my utilities during the time of my transplant. Sherry’s Hope was a huge blessing to me, and took a weight from me.”

            Cindy went through with the stem cell transplant, and although the process was complicated and hard, she is doing well today. Cindy spoke at the 2023 Sherry’s Hope Gala, sharing her story just 227 days after her transplant. She was also able to participate in Sherry’s Run in 2023 with a team of her own. She says, “I was and still am covered with prayers. Truly, if I didn’t have my faith, I don’t know how I would’ve gotten through this.” Cindy’s story continues to inspire so many. Cindy explains, “I hope that people see not only my faith through this, but that they would also keep going. I learned that you cannot just sit and wallow in your circumstances, you have to keep going and just do what is next.”

            Sherry’s Hope is honored to be a part of Cindy’s story. June is cancer survivor month; Cindy would like to encourage others who are going through their cancer journeys with these words, “Be knowledgeable, talk to your doctor. Don’t think that any question you have is ridiculous, it’s not. Be an informed patient. Have an advocate- don’t do it alone.”

            Sherry’s Hope is here so you do not have to do it alone. Sherry’s Hope is a Christian, non-profit organization that works throughout the year to provide hope to families battling cancer in Wilson County and surrounding communities by offering emotional encouragement and financial assistance. To learn more about Sherry’s Hope, please call 615-925-2592. To refer someone for assistance, please call 615-925-9932 or email help@sherryshope.org. To make a donation to Sherry’s Hope, visit www.sherryshope.org or mail donations to Sherry’s Hope, P.O. Box 8, Lebanon, TN 37088-0008.