"The Rainbow Connection"
By Gayela Bynum
I have always been a dreamer. When I was young, my dreams centered around ‘when I grow up, I will be Super Star singing and acting in shows on Broadway like “My Fair Lady,” “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific,” “Cats” and other to-be-written musicals. I would live in a luxurious penthouse overlooking Central Park and my world would be wonderful and complete. However, my path took a turn in college and I met the man of my dreams (or so I thought) and was married following my sophomore year in college. There went my dream career, but what the heck I was married to a gorgeous man at the ripe old age of 19. I would turn my dreams to being the star wife and mother of two adorable sons. What I didn’t know then is that “Rainbow Connections,” are sometimes fleeting and float away. We hung in there but either he got bored with me or I got bored with him and probably we both were bored with each other – so poof, bye, bye and, Adios!
Suddenly I found myself in Washington DC which many years before became my dream city to live. I didn’t make it to the big stage on Broadway, but I suddenly found myself in the thick of an exciting city with more energy than I had yet experienced – and, it matched mine. To make it here, I learned you could not be an average “JOE” so I had to up my game and intellect. The second man of my dreams (I thought), became my mentor and taught me how to live in Washington. Again, I forgot that dreams are sometimes fleeting. I thought this man was everything I could possibly imagine – he was older, he was intelligent, he was connected, debonair, played at the top of the game on Capitol Hill. He taught me how to live in Washington. The “Rainbow Connection” exploded in the last year of his life.
Moving on, my sons grew up, finished college and were successfully making their own way in the world. My younger son married Michelle, they had a son and MY dreams turned to being the best mother-in-law and GiGi to Reid. Damn if dreams aren’t fleeting, Michelle, the mother of a 13 month old son was diagnosed with advanced Stage III Breast Cancer, 20 months too late.
Michelle should have been diagnosed when she was pregnant, however, her doctor told her she was too young and her body was going through major changes and she should not be alarmed. In the 5 ½ years she lived following diagnosis, she educated me about cancer; how some husbands leave their wives because she’s lost her hair, her breasts, finger and toenails, eyebrows and eyelashes and “that is not what he signed up for!” I was dumbfounded learning this news. Michelle had solid support from my son, her parents and sister and friends. In the early days of Michelle’s treatment, she was driving young women sometimes 35 miles home because they had no money for transportation; they could no longer work and had no insurance.
My dreams and my “Rainbow Connectio” became altered. I no longer needed to be known as a Super Star on Broadway or anywhere, my dreams turned to helping patients and families deal with their everyday lives. I, along with a true collection of Super Stars, founded We Will Survive Cancer (WWSC). It became important to all to address the needs of patients and their families affected by cancer.
WWSC’s major project at Christmas provides gifts, gas and food cards. In 2016, WWSC assisted 55 families equaling 176 persons. In a future text, more will be addressed about WWSC’s Christmas effort, Mother’s Day and other events. WWSCs goal for 2017 is to at least double the number of patients and their families we gift at Christmas. You can participate in our effort to help families by donating through our website www.wewillsurvivecancer.org