Following her cancer treatment, Sherry Pollex, longtime partner of NASCAR champ Martin Truex Jr., received the support she needed at Levine Cancer Institute. Now, they’re both giving back in a big way. See how their $750,000 gift will help heal more patients at LCI.

News | 21 days ago

A Transformational Gift Puts Cancer Patients in the Driver's Seat

Following her cancer treatment, Sherry Pollex, longtime partner of NASCAR champ Martin Truex Jr., received the support she needed at Levine Cancer Institute. Now, they're both giving back in a big way. See how their $750,000 gift will help heal more patients at LCI. 

When Sherry Pollex was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2014, she vowed to never give up. Now, this businesswoman, patient advocate and longtime partner of NASCAR champion Martin Truex Jr. will help countless other cancer patients get the support they need to prevail.

This April, Sherry and Martin made a generous $750,000 gift to Atrium Health to support integrative oncology at Levine Cancer Institute and pediatric cancer programs at Levine Children’s. Since 2011, the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation has committed more than $1.3 million to underfunded cancer initiatives specific to ovarian and childhood cancers at Atrium Health. 

Integrative oncology, also known as supportive oncology, focuses on cancer patients’ emotional, psychological and spiritual needs in addition to the physical.

“Oncologists take care of a patient’s cancer treatment. Integrative oncologists take care of the whole patient – mind, body and spirit,” says Chasse Bailey-Dorton, MD, MSPH, chief of integrative oncology at LCI.

Caring for the whole patient – and their families – includes helping them deal with stress, manage side effects, choose the right foods and sleep better. By offering nutritional counseling, acupuncture, massage and Reiki therapies, and art and music classes, LCI helps improve and speed healing from diagnosis through survivorship. 

Today, hundreds of patients receive integrative oncology services at LCI, with 15 new patients seeking this type of care each week.

The challenge is that most health insurance companies do not reimburse patients or healthcare providers for many of these services. Now, with this gift, LCI will be able to strengthen its existing program by continuing to offer its classes at no charge to patients.

Even more important, LCI can now expand access for patients at its Pineville, University and NorthEast locations. “One of our goals is to provide care where people live. This gift helps us do that,” says Dr. Bailey-Dorton. 

Returning the gift of expert care

Dr. Bailey-Dorton treated Sherry after her cancer diagnosis and is now grateful for the support of her former patient. “Sherry knows the value of integrative medicine. And she’s really given back. We couldn’t offer any of these new services without this donation.” 

Through SherryStrong, her own organization that raises awareness and money for integrative cancer therapies, Sherry has gotten involved firsthand. In just one of many examples, she has donated care kits for LCI patients undergoing chemotherapy. Each kit includes a water bottle, coloring book and ginger tea – all designed to calm anxious nerves and restore energy.

And although Martin wasn’t the one who was treated for cancer, “he went through the same experience and uncertainty that so many of our patients and their families go through,” says Dr. Bailey-Dorton. “He’s found a way to give back, too.” 

Sherry and Martin’s gift will also expand the supportive oncology program for Levine Children’s. Since 2011, when they established the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Pediatric Special Needs Fund, their gifts have grown to include the Seacrest Studios at Levine Children’s Hospital, the Hemby Hematology/Oncology Center and LCI’s supportive oncology program.