Hometown Heroes: Cheryl Mathews

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 10:37 AM | by Carly Stunda

By Lindsay Harrison | Communications & Development Intern

Cheryl grew up as the daughter of a Navy pilot and was always moving around as a child, but likes to consider the tiny town of Canal Point, FL her hometown.

Not only does Cheryl like to give her time to help others at Little Red Door as one of our client navigators, but she also enjoys teaching the children’s class for her local church and loves watching the kids learn and grow. Cheryl also has a passion for traveling, which she’s excited to do more of now that she’s living in retirement!

When I asked Cheryl what her favorite thing about working at Little Red Door was, her answer was pretty simple: her clients. Cheryl loves being able to take time to sit and listen and provide her clients with services to help make their cancer journey a bit easier.

“Helping a client choose a wig seems like a little thing at first glance, but it is gratifying to see her having fun trying them on and then leaving with a smile on her face because she feels a bit more ‘normal’ than when she walked in.”

Over her time at Little Red Door, Cheryl has surely made a lot of memories. One of the most profound for Cheryl was when she wrote her first grant and that feeling of overwhelming elation she felt when Little Red Door actually received it. She recalls stepping far outside of her comfort zone and asking businesses to donate their services to help meet the needs of a young cancer patient and his family. Cheryl even remembers watching her very own Little Red Door staff members face a cancer diagnosis, and how everything became so personal after that.

“It changed my perspective and made me want to work harder to provide services our clients need.”

Although we all know how much Cheryl inspires us with her relentless positivity and altruism, she credits a lot of her own inspiration and daily motivation right back to her clients. Cheryl told me a story about how one of her clients with metastatic breast cancer and how some of her days would be good, and some would be quite despondent. Regardless of her physical or mental state though, this client would never cease to come in and start shooting out ideas about how she could help Little Red Door help more people.

“At times I’m still astounded at the positive attitudes some of our clients have, in spite of what they face on a daily basis. It is inspiration for me and I hope I would have that kind of outlook as well.”

Cheryl has made an irrefutable positive and long-standing impact on the Little Red Door community and beyond. Not a day went by that Cheryl was not making a profound difference in the lives of each of her clients, and she always demonstrated that she would truly do anything for each and every one of them.