Cancer-free Hamilton woman rekindles candy-making tradition

By Jeff Clark/Monroe Journal

HAMILTON – For Hamilton resident Sherry Butler and her family, every day is a cause for celebration. However, the Christmas holidays have an extra special meaning for the family this year.
“I recently had my yearly checkup and I have now been in remission from breast cancer for five years,” said Butler. “I wish that I could say I’m cancer-free, but I have to be in remission 10 years before I’m totally clean.”
According to Butler, on November 18, 2005, she was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer, a diagnosis that would forever change her life.
“It was hard to hear that, especially so close to the holidays,” she said. “I took chemo for almost 10 months, but it damaged my heart and I had to stop the treatments. They were giving me massive doses of chemo — I was bald for a year.”
Although Butler was facing a challenging time in her life, she said that her attitude remained positive.
“I always told my kids that I wasn’t going to just go laying down — you hear a lot about positive attitudes, but it’s true. It was very hard, but keeping a positive attitude made all of the difference,” said Butler.
Christmas Tradition
Today, Butler spends her time during the holidays with her two daughters and any number of her 10 grandchildren making candy — a holiday tradition in the Butler family.
“I started doing this with my mom,” she said. “And she died of breast cancer in 1999. I found out I have the breast cancer gene, so my daughters have to be vigilant in making sure that they get regular mammographies.”
For daughter Mandy Simmons, the candy-making tradition is something she too looks forward to all year long.
“We have been making candy together as long as I can remember,” said Simmons. “I’m so thankful that Mom is healthy enough to do it.”
And for daughter Angie Hannah, a clean bill of health has been the greatest Christmas present she could receive.
“Knowing that Mom isn’t showing any cancer is the best present ever,” said Hannah. “To us, this is what Christmas is all about.”