Keeping the Spirit of Minnie Pearl

5 months 4 weeks ago
Posted under PearlPoint Spotlight

This year PearlPoint Cancer Support is celebrating thirty years of service, as well as Minnie Pearl’s 105th birthday. Are these two related? Well, yes they are. I’m so glad you asked.

Minnie Pearl was the stage name for the famous comedienne that entertained us for decades with her endearing country style.  She performed for over 50 years on the Grand Ole Opry. You probably remember her famous greeting, “Howwwwdeeee.” Often she closed her performance with the phrase, “I love you so much it hurts.” In real life, she was Sarah Ophelia Colley Cannon, born in Centerville, Tennessee, about 50 miles southwest of Nashville. She was the youngest of 5 daughters. She attended Ward-Belmont School, a prestigious school and junior college for women in Nashville that later became Belmont. Her volunteer spirit and communication skills were evident early on her college life. In 1947, she married Henry Cannon and resided in Nashville for many happy years. She died in 1996 at the age of 83, but her spirit lives on in her many community gifts and loving stories.

The Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation, the forerunner of PearlPoint Cancer Support, was formed in 1987. After Sarah Cannon was successfully treated for breast cancer, she became a passionate supporter in the fight against cancer, and in 1992, offered her stage name to the foundation. Her caring spirit and willingness to help others embodies the mission of the PearlPoint—to create a more confident cancer journey for adults anytime, anywhere. In 2012, the foundation changed its name to PearlPoint Cancer Support but continued its mission of helping adults navigate their way through a cancer diagnosis and improve their quality of life.

PearlPoint’s guiding principles honor Cannon’s generosity and caring spirit. PearlPoint services started in Middle Tennessee but have now spanned across the US and 6 foreign countries including Canada, South Africa, and Australia. I think Minnie Pearl, a.k.a Sarah Cannon, would be well pleased that her legacy has progressed through the years to help thousands of patients and their families with a warm welcome and guidance to assist people on their road to recovery.


Margaret Martin, RD, MS, LDN