More on Minnie Pearl (born Sarah Ophelia) from Wikipedia~
After surviving breast cancer through aggressive treatments including a double mastectomy and radiation therapy, she became a spokeswoman for the medical center in Nashville where she had been treated and somewhat for cancer survivors in general. She took on this role as herself, Sarah Ophelia Cannon, not desiring the "Minnie Pearl" character to be associated with such misfortune, although a nonprofit group, the Minnie Pearl Cancer Foundation, has been founded in her memory to help fund cancer research. The center where she was treated was later named the Sarah Cannon Cancer Center, and has been expanded to several other hospitals in the Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky area. Her name has also been lent to the affiliated Sarah Cannon Research Institute.
She lived to be 83.