Jerry Thompson award celebrates survivorship

Friday, March 23, 2001 at 12:00am

This week as the lakes glittered in the sun, and trees turned from gray to

green, somewhere in the universe Jerry Thompson got out his fishing pole.

If you were one of the tens of thousands of readers who loved Jerry via his

writing in the Tennessean, you know about his fishing - and his

spirit. The long-time columnist died in January 2000 after 12 years of

living with cancer. It was the inexhaustible spirit with which he had faced

disease (and the spirit with which he caught fish and picked poke sallet and

drank beer) that was, and is, his legacy.

To honor that legacy, the Jerry Thompson Spirit of Survivorship

Award was established by the Middle Tennessee Cancer Survivors day

committee, with Tennessean sponsorship.

It's time now to nominate individuals for this year's award to

recognize those who carry on Jerry's example of using a life-changing

experience with cancer for the good of cancer survivors and

their families.

Jerry did this through his newspaper column - a column that transcended

boundaries of media, political and social rivalries - where

he shared the intimate, painful, funny and undignified moments that the

disease brought to him and his family.

He also spoke out in other ways, when he was able, to groups who gathered

because they were dealing with cancer. Some had been diagnosed

with cancer; some had a family member or friend with a diagnosis; some had

lost someone close to them; some had fears that a family history would bring

the disease to them. Jerry talked to them all, made them laugh, made them

cry, he made them hopeful and made them determined.

There are many others in our community who were beside him then, or who have since taken on that cause. They are working to provide public awareness of cancer and related issues: early detection and screening; survivor and family support; and advocacy.

We commend them, and, in Jerry's memory, we urge you to honor their spirit of survivorship.

Jerry is gone, despite the fact that a decade ago he wrote in the

Tennessean "Now that I'm convinced I've been able to whip my cancer, I can afford the luxury of enjoying some other ailments I've been

neglecting." That other ailment, Jerry explained to his readers, was

"fishing fever," and he never got over it.

So, to Jerry, we say, "Good fishing!," and to you, we say, "Remember his

spirit."

They

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