Sherrill Cooke's father battled skin cancer for many years, and this led Sherrill to investigate skin cancer prevention efforts. She was dismayed to learn that although it is the most common form of cancer, affecting one in five Americans and killing one person every thirty-three minutes, it is a poorly funded area of cancer research. In addition, because it is one of the most treatable forms of cancer, people often underestimate its potentially life-threatening consequences. When her father passed away from skin cancer in 2003, Sherrill wanted to educate and help others affected by skin cancer, and also to honor her father's memory and the courageous battle fought by him and so many others against this disease.
With these goals in mind, Sherrill became Founder and Executive Director of the Bob Cooke Memorial Trek Against Skin Cancer. The Trek seeks to raise money for skin cancer research and to educate participants about skin cancer prevention. Sherrill single-handedly started from scratch in this endeavor. She used her marketing skills to attract major sponsors, enabling her to hold a silent auction and raffle at the event for additional fund-raising, offer prizes to the participants who raise the most money, and provide free lunch, beverages, entertainment, and skin care samples to all Trek participants.
Sherrill has generously and tirelessly volunteered her time to this event which raises funds specifically for skin cancer research. For many months of the year, this is a full-time job; yet, in its third year, Sherrill has yet to draw a salary for herself from the funds raised. Instead, all funds have gone directly to skin cancer research and growing the event.
The Skin Cancer Trek is now a Foundation with a Board of Directors, Advisory Council and numerous volunteers. Sherrill's goal of taking this to the National level will be realized on March 31, 2007 with The Bob Cooke Memorial Run/Walk Against Skin Cancer in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition other annual events are planned including a Ski Against Skin Cancer and The Bob Cooke Skin Cancer Foundation Winter Gala on March 1st. Future goals will take this to other cities throughout Florida and eventually across the country.
For the past 3 years, Sherrill has visited numerous schools – Lauralton Hall, Platt Tech and Jacksonville University and organizations throughout Connecticut and Florida speaking about sun safety and the dangers of tanning beds. Most recently, she was invited to speak to the Florida Society of Dermatologic Surgeons.
In addition to her work with the Foundation, Sherrill has also been a volunteer at The Connecticut Humane Society in the Pet Therapy Program. She visits Seacrest Retirement Home with her Basset Hound, Peaches. She also gives of her time with the Connecticut State Animal Response Team.