Former public health nurse Terry Foody knows a thing or two about the value of public health.

Not only has she worked in it for years, but she has written about it in her 2014 book, “The Pie Seller, The Drunk and The Lady.”

She will discuss her book in a Sept. 14 Facebook Live event for the Woodford County Public Library.

The creative non-fiction book delves into the heroes of the cholera epidemic in Lexington.

During the nineteenth century, cholera raged through the United States several times, and Kentucky had very high fatality rates.

In 1833, when Lexington was a new city, a cholera epidemic struck which decimated the citizenry by 500 souls. In the midst of this disaster, three unlikely heroes arose – a former slave, a homeless vagrant, and a society matron.

This true fact-based account brings you their stories and takes you through cholera’s grip, as each answers the call for humanity.

Foody examines the devastation in Lexington from many angles: environmental, commercial, social and medical. She discusses early altruistic efforts, the black woman behind the white hero, the plight of orphaned children, and societal trends revealed in laws and practices.

Despite great medical advances, cholera is still a worldwide killer. In her book, Foody explains why and compares it to other threatening global diseases, such as SARS and pandemic flu.

Foody is a graduate of Niagara University and of the University of Kentucky.

According to, Foody’s second book “The Cherokee and the Newsman” was the result of research on Maria Gist Gratz – “The Lady” of the cholera book.

Gratz family collections contain several references/artifacts pertaining to Sequoyah. Apparently, Maria is the half-sister of Sequoyah, as Nathaniel Gist was the father of both.

This non-fiction book parallels Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee writing system with Maria’s son Howard Gratz, editor of The Kentucky Gazette newspaper.