Sherry Pollex 1979 – 2023
Sherry Pollex was born on May 10th, 1979, in Marshall, Michigan. Throughout her childhood, Sherry loved boating on Lake Michigan with her family, playing with her dogs, and rooting on her beloved Detroit Red Wings. She frequently visited her home state throughout her life, oftentimes spending the summer in Northern Michigan. As Sherry grew older, it became apparent that she would never be satisfied with the norm. Her tenacity, passion, and zest for life would take her to unimaginable heights.
Sherry attended Florida State University as a chapter member of Kappa Delta. She graduated with a sports marketing degree and lifelong friends. Following her graduation, Sherry moved to North Carolina and began her career in NASCAR Public Relations. Even with her hands full, she maintained an entrepreneurial spirit and opened her own fashion retail store, Lavendar Boutique, in 2008. As her passion for racing grew, she forged close relationships and began her impact on the industry. During this time, Sherry met her longtime partner, NASCAR Champion Martin Truex Jr., with whom she established the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation in 2007. Its mission is to raise awareness, boost advocacy, and generate financial support for underfunded initiatives specific to ovarian and childhood cancers.
In August 2014, at 35, Sherry received the devastating news that she had Stage 3C ovarian cancer. Although the news of her disease was tragic, it wasn’t long before she decided to turn her diagnosis into her new life mission: helping women. She launched SherryStrong to advocate for and empower women, educate them on the symptoms of ovarian cancer, and provide a focus on holistic and integrative approaches to wellness in an effort to help millions of women worldwide. She also generated funding to build the Sherry Strong Integrative Medicine Oncology Clinic at Novant Health’s new Weisinger Cancer Institute in Charlotte. Sherry said of this mission, “My hope is that when other patients come in, there is this healing energy and peacefulness that comes over them. This isn’t a hospital. This is a place to come to get well and feel well. This is a place of hope.”
To date, SherryStrong and the MTJ Foundation have raised over $10 million to support their mission. The most notable event is the annual Catwalk for a Cause, where young children battling cancer have the opportunity to walk down the catwalk in a fashion show to raise money. It was important to Sherry to give the Catwalk Heroes a night to forget about cancer and let them shine. Since the inception of Catwalk for a Cause, Sherry has connected with hundreds of children with cancer and their families. During the 2016 edition of Catwalk, Sherry poignantly strutted hand-in-hand with a child whom she let throw her wig to the ground as an act of defiance. It was her way of showing the world that no matter what, cancer would never dim her light, and it never did.
In 2017, Sherry and Martin Truex Jr. received the National Motorsports Press Association’s Myers Brothers Award for outstanding contributions, and she was a finalist in the Comcast Community Champion of the Year Award in 2022. But the real acknowledgement to Sherry came from the women and children whose lives she touched. She was a natural unifier who transformed her diagnosis into a duty to change countless lives, both present and future.
Sherry never gave up. She lived a life of joy, passion, servitude, and love, and though she no longer walks among us, her fiery spirit will remain ever-present. When her battle against cancer began in 2014, she stared adversity in the eye and wielded strength, endurance, and optimism, achieving a range of victories along the way.
In an April 2019 blog post on SherryStrong.org, Sherry wrote, “We have this one body. This one life to live. And when you get diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and told your chances of making it five years are less than 30 percent, you learn to live each day with purpose, passion and love.” She continued, “I tell people all the time when I leave this earth there are two things I’ll leave behind…my memories I made with my loved ones and my legacy.” Sherry, in her post’s final, encouraging words, wrote, “Protect your energy. Nurture your soul. Love yourself. After all, we only have one shot at this life. And not a damn one of us knows how long we’re going to be here. Cancer or not.” No one could have said it better than Sherry herself. In remembrance of her, cherish each and every breath.
Sherry completed her self-imposed mission by making each day count. Her memory will live on in those who maintain her charity work. She will be seen in present and future patients who benefit from her tireless efforts to shine a light on her illness and help fund potential means of healing. She will live on in the hearts of those who overcome their own obstacles by harnessing the wisdom she shared.
Sherry is survived by her precious furbabies, Charlee and Grayson, parents Greg Pollex and Sharon Pearson, her sister Jill and husband Fuz Burgdoff, brother Jay and wife Holly McCloud, along with their two children Chase and Levi, her sisters Claudia and Angela Pollex, Angela’s husband Scott Huffard, stepmom Julia Pollex, many cousins, and close friends. In lieu of flowers, please make donations in her honor by visiting SherryStrong.org.