By Allysia Fine
This Valentine’s Day, it will have been two years since Linda Hendrick underwent surgery for cancer. Doctors told Hendrick that in less than two years, the cancer would be back unless she had chemotherapy.
Hendrick describes life since she was diagnosed as being “more intense.”
She takes every day as an opportunity to be joyful and jokes about living life with “the most amount of fun.”
Hendrick, STEM grant project coordinator, is a part of the Amarillo College community and assists students in financial management, support services and encouragement. The STEM grant program helps support students pursuing science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Hendrick mentors, tutors and advises students and trains, supervises and implements faculty development activities.
Her husband, Charles Hendrick, also works for the college as a tech support specialist and has been a vital element in her life.
“She travels to Lubbock and helps students find affordable housing and gets them ready for a successful transition.” said Dr. Claudie Biggers, an associate professor of biological sciences.
Biggers captures Hendrick’s positive personality: “She kind of giggles and says she would rather choke on chocolate or something fun like that than die of cancer. Together we eat a lot of chocolate.”
Hendrick embraces life with a fiery passion and a love for learning. When she is not working with students in the STEM program, Hendrick spends her time teaching Sunday school, “coming up with participatory lessons every week,” Biggers said.
“Since Linda’s diagnosis, we have been hiking in the woods together. When she outpaces me and is on top of the hill looking down on me, I have to remind her that she is the one with cancer.”
Two years ago Hendrick declined chemotherapy, taking only pain medication for the condition. Although the prognosis is unclear, she already has exceeded her doctor’s expectations.
Hendrick describes a passage in the Bible where the king offers armor to the small warrior, David, to defeat the giant, Goliath, and David refuses it.
She compares her faith in God and refusing chemotherapy to David refusing the armor of the king but defeating Goliath with his slingshot.
About a year ago, Biggers and Hendrick participated in a knitting group on campus with English Professor Dr. Mike Bellah, who described Hendrick as “an inspiration to the faculty.”
Hendrick focuses on positivity.
“My goal every day is to get up and thank God for another day and to be joyful and try to help someone else every day,” she said.
She insists that if she can help someone else daily, then whatever else happens, she is very blessed.