Church Finds Creative Way to Celebrate Cancer Treatment Milestone
By Kyle Weeks, Office of Communication
Posted on April 09, 2020, April 09, 2020

Monday, Sue Barksdale celebrated the moment she’d been looking forward to for months. She finished her last chemotherapy treatment in her fight against breast cancer. When the journey began in October, she never imagined she wouldn’t be able to celebrate with the people she loves. Fortunately, she didn’t have to.

Barksdale’s husband is the recently-retired pastor at Rush Creek’s Green Oaks campus in South Arlington. When church member Yvette Gomez learned about Sue’s milestone, Gomez knew it was worth a celebration – even if social distancing guidelines meant she had to get creative.

“Sue and Pastor Russ brought joy to everyone for several years,” Gomez said. “It was now our turn to bring joy to them.” That’s when Gomez had the idea to organize a drive-by parade.

After her final treatment, Sue’s husband drove her to the church, where she was surprised to find a crowded parking lot. One by one, families drove by with signs, balloons and words of encouragement.

“I was overwhelmed,” Barksdale said. “I felt so much love and care.”

Because of chemotherapy, Barksdale was social distancing before the world joined in. She says the head start made her realize early on how much we all need connection. And how important her church family is.

“It’s been incredible. An outpouring of love,” Barksdale said.

This Easter was always going to be different. It is the first since Barksdale’s husband retired after 25 years behind the pulpit. Now, it will also be the first Easter Barksdale doesn’t spend in church.

But the sermon will be live streamed Sunday, and she’ll be watching. With a greater appreciation for her faith — and the family it created.

Sue Barksdale watches as church members drive by

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