Sherry and Maxine Smith, courtesy the Smith family

Don Smith, a resident of the Moss Farm area for some 45 years, misses his wife, Maxine, who he lost to leukemia in 2015, but he is awfully proud of his kid. 

Don and Maxine Smith lived happily in the Moss Farm area of Lake Highlands for more than 45 years. Their daughter Sherry (formerly Smith) Bryant grew up here, attended Forest Meadow and Lake Highlands High School before marrying and moving, not far, to Plano.

But in 2015, tragedy struck. Maxine, an active woman involved in Central Lutheran Church in Old Lake Highlands and various women’s groups in our neighborhood died, just 10 days after doctors diagnosed her with acute myeloid leukemia, AML, not long after celebrating her 51st anniversary with Don.

A few days ago, Sherry joined hundreds of others in The Big D Climb, a race up the 70 floors of the Bank of America Plaza building in downtown Dallas, the tallest/toughest organizers of the annual event could find. The fundraiser benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer — research and saving and improving lives.

Sherry last week told the Plano Star Courier that she was motivated to complete the climb (the paper ran a story that delves a bit deeper into Maxine’s diagnosis, which you can read here.)

“I know I’ll make it whether I’m still walking or crawling. But it’s really to raise money for leukemia and lymphoma research. They need more funding and they need newer treatments,” she told the publication.

Don’s voice still cracks a little when he brings up Maxine, who, like their daughter, was athletic, walked three or four miles four days a week and took jazzercise classes every other day. “That photo of her and Sherry was taken at a party for our 50th anniversary,” he says.

He perks up sharing his daughter’s success. As predicted, Sherry made it up the 70 flights and was snapping pictures at a family event later that evening, he says. Not only that, Sherry was the 2017 event’s top individual fundraiser, bringing in more than $5,000 for the foundation, according to The Big D Climb’s website. The overall goal for 2017 was $350,000.

“I’m pretty proud of her,” her dad says, “in case you can’t tell.”

Find The Big D Climb on Facebook to learn about next year’s event as information becomes available.