Linda Hudson made her way to Cattail Recreation Area for what she thought was a fun brunch in an RV with some friend. When Hudson rounded the RV and saw more than 60 people donning pink, waving and cheering for her, a smile spread across her face as she brought her hands to her heart.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “There were some faces I recognized but there were so many people who were brand new.”
The Oct. 30 surprise event was the idea of Brenda Seals, of the Village of Marsh Bend, as a show of support for Hudson, who is battling stage 4 breast cancer.
Seals herself has been a survivor of metastatic breast cancer since 2004.
When Seals was at her regular checkup, she thought of how fortunate she was to be a survivor, and then she thought of Hudson.
In just two days after deciding to hold the surprise event, Seals rounded up dozens of people to agree to do a breast cancer awareness walk.
“I called a few people, maybe 10, thinking we could have a small walk to show her support,” Seals said. “Within 48 hours, I had about 50 people who were so excited for this walk.”
Seals got in touch with another friend who helped quickly print matching shirts that conveyed the message behind the awareness walk.
“We settled on the name The Sisters of The Villages, because none of us knew each other but were ready to help at a moment’s notice like sisters do,” Seals said.
After the original surprise in the parking lot of Cattail, Hudson and the group set out on a walk, eventually turning into a boisterous group of men and women walking, laughing and making new friends.
Hudson walked as much as she could, and thanked everyone for their tremendous support.
“I feel so touched,” she said. “I never expected this, and I am so grateful.”
The group presented Hudson with a check for more than $1,000 to help in her fight.
Seals said she was so blown away by the quick response, she hopes to do it annually for others who need it.
“I’ve done so many cancer walks, where the donations go to an organization,” she said. “I think from now on, these walks will give the funds directly to a Villager actively fighting their cancer battle.”
Staff writer Maddie Cutler can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5386, or firstname.lastname@example.org.