By Lindsay Doty
When Andrea Dougherty belts out a tune for a crowd, she sends a message of hope and faith. The 48-year-old singer from Hendricks County was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer in 2015. Doctors had told her she would have anywhere from six months to three years to live, but five years later, she’s still fighting. Along her journey, she has committed to help others stay strong.
“Well, my message in my heart is moving mountains,” Andrea Dougherty, from Brownsburg, said. “No matter what your mountain is. For me and so many people, it’s cancer, but it’s also anything. Depression, anxiety, divorce, financial. God has a plan for us and together we can move mountains.”
The Avon High School graduate and mother of three girls and two grandchildren has become a motivational speaker and author.
“She is a hero. She has the voice of an angel and sings and speaks wherever they will hear her at cancer events and churches,” Denise Grimes said.
Grimes is a longtime friend who met Dougherty in her teen years while singing at Old Indiana Fun Park. Through the years, the performers remained close and have a tight-knit group of friends. Five years ago, when they found out about Dougherty’s cancer, they held an event to raise money for her treatment.
“She had said, ‘I want to do this every year. I want to do this for others,'” remembers Grimes. Dougherty started Have a Little Faith Foundation to raise money for families dealing with colon cancer.
For the last three years, organizers have selected a different family to benefit from the event.
“We said this is the year we need it to be for you (Dougherty) again and celebrate how God has moved mountains in the last five years and celebrate life,” Grimes said.
The Have a Little Faith fifth annual event will be held Sept. 7 at Avon Middle School South. It includes entertainment, singing, food (donated by Chick-Fil-A ) and a silent auction with donated items, including King’s Island tickets and a $300 photography package. The money raised will go to help Dougherty and her family.
“Her Avon High School alumni from ’88, ’89, ’90 have come together and started a fundraiser for the event. They have raised more than $3,000. We are just completely blown away. There are no words to express how grateful,” Grimes said.
As Dougherty deals with the lows of surgery and chemotherapy, she finds humor along the way and stays true to her faith.
God and her family give her strength.
“My kids keep me going. I’m trying to give them some normalcy through all this,” she said. “The hardest part is having to think about my girls being without me.”
She says having cancer has reminded her what’s truly important.
“I do feel like that God is growing me into the woman I’m meant to be,” Dougherty said. “Everything is for his glory.”
If you go:
Have a Little Faith cancer benefit
Saturday, Sept. 7th
Avon Middle School South
7719 E US Hwy 36 Avon
5:30 – 8 p.m.
Free to public