When Lisa Sherrill learned she had triple-negative breast cancer and was in for the literal fight of her life, she did what many people do in times of crisis: she turned to family.

Lisa’s family, however, is a little different from most.

In addition to her traditional family – children, parents, cousins and grandparents – she also learned to rely on her new family: nurses, doctors, leaders and mid-wives.

They’re part of the “Lisa Strong” care team, made up of three different units at Health First, where Lisa has worked since 2003.

“Lisa Strong” sprang to action on Valentine’s Day of 2019, when Lisa went to her annual breast examination.

Earlier that day, she had thought about canceling her mammography appointment, but now says she’s glad she didn’t.

“I knew it was going to happen to me, but I just didn’t know when,” said Lisa, recalling her own mother’s battle with breast cancer.

In early April, Lisa had a double mastectomy. In May, she started chemotherapy.

Banding together at work, her new family did not allow her diagnosis to take her to a dark place.

They made pink T-shirts emblazoned with “Lisa Strong” on the front and “You GOAT this” on the back, a reference to the small menagerie of animals on the farm Lisa owns.

“It made my day,” Lisa said, struggling to hold back tears.

They also sent supportive text messages, started a fundraiser and made bracelets.

The support was felt at home, too. Lisa describes how colleagues and friends came by every night without fail for six weeks with homemade, freshly cooked meals and chipped in to help care for her animals and do chores in the barn, as well.

She credits her family with helping her wipe out the cancer and has turned her focus forward to checking off items on her bucket list.

“The support system that I have is a blessing, and I’m lucky,” she said.

Health First

Founded in 1995, Health First is Brevard County's not-for-profit, community healthcare system. The fully Integrated Delivery Network (IDN) includes health insurance plans, hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group, and outpatient and wellness services.