As a young woman, Judy Sanderlin helped her now-deceased husband, Ed, build a thriving nursery business. Through it all, she raised three children. While there were hurdles and bumps along the way, Sanderlin will likely admit that the death of her daughter Alicia was one of the most difficult times in her life.
Diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 38, Alicia Sanderlin Rodgers, succumbed to the disease six years later in 2007 at the age of 44. Her sister, Abby Sanderlin Peoples, would later have a double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene which indicated she had an increased chance of being diagnosed with the breast cancer.
In memory of her late daughter and in honor of Abby, Sanderlin organized “Positively Pink Day.”
It’s a day set aside to raise funds for breast cancer research. This year marks the third anniversary of the event, which was begun in 2012.
“We can’t do much, but in the meantime, we are going to do what we can to help fund a cure,” said Sanderlin, who started her Appling nursery business, Sanderlin Greenhouses, in 1970.
This year’s “Positively Pink Day” will be held on Saturday, April 26 at the Scotts Ferry Road business. Sanderlin Greenhouses is open from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
The Sanderlins have organized a yard sale, with items donated by local residents, as well as items from their onsite shop. Additionally, a gift basket raffle will be held and hamburgers and hotdogs will be sold. Proceeds from the yard sale, raffle and cookout will all go towards breast cancer research.
“Last year, we split the proceeds between the Lydia Project and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation,” said Sanderlin. “We will do that again this year.”
According to their website, The Lydia Project “provides free services to women facing any type of cancer anywhere in the world. This support includes ongoing correspondence and encouragement every month for at least 12 months. Every woman receives a handmade tote made by the loving hands of volunteers and filled with encouraging items.
“Lydia also provides rent, utility, and prescription assistance to women who are unable to afford these basic expenses while undergoing cancer treatment and who reside in Georgia’s Burke, Columbia, McDuffie and Richmond counties; and South Carolina’s Aiken and Edgefield counties.”
“They do a wonderful job and they were very supportive of my daughter when she was going through her fight,” Sanderlin said of The Lydia Project. “And she was supportive of them during her six years as a survivor.”
In addition to donating all of the proceeds from the yard sale, raffle and cookout, Sanderlin also plans to donate a portion of all of the day’s nursery sales to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and The Lydia Project.
“If we all do something and all pull together, sooner or later we will find a cure,” said an optimistic Sanderlin.