Inspiring southern Illinoisans we met in 2017 - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Inspiring southern Illinoisans we met in 2017

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WILLIAMSON CO. -- As the year closes, we're taking a look back at some of the inspiring people we met this year.

That includes Cathy Short, from West Frankfort, who shared her story with us in October. 

"I wanted to survive for my children because I knew I had to be there for them and be strong," Short said.

Her story of overcoming breast cancer was a journey she never imagined she'd go on.

"I said through it all, I think chemotherapy was the hardest part," Short said. "You lose your hair, you feel like you've been hit by a freight train."

But cancer did not stop her, and it's not stopping a Marion man from living his best life. 

"I told him I wanted to take a picture with him, and he scooted over and I said no I'm going to sit on your knee," said Vernon Akin.

Akin is living with Leukemia and started chemotherapy in December. Despite what you're going through, he challenges each of us to have an attitude of joy.

"I do have the attitude of joy and I think Santa Clause had it to because you could see it in that picture," Akin said. 

For southern Illinoisan Darlene Floyd, she found that attitude of joy while keeping a Herrin Thanksgiving tradition alive. This comes after the head organizer and her dear friend, Bart Mann, passed away in August after he was hit while riding his bicycle.

"He cared about the people all the time in his community," Floyd said. 

Despite the tragedy, Floyd said his spirit will carry on.

"I keep thinking that he is with us as I'm going through this process and everything, I can still feel that he is with us," Floyd said.

Regardless of the hardships in life, the Southern Illinoisans all expressed this idea of appreciating life.

"Stay happy, keep a good attitude, attitude of joy," Akin said. "You outta feel it!"

"Don't take life for granted, because it can change in the blink of an eye," Short said. 

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