In 500 words or less, please describe why you feel you nominee deserves to be honored for the Strength in Pink Award. If possible, please provide specific accomplishments:
I nominate my wife, Earline Rice for the Strength in Pink Award. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in August of 1995 just months after our marriage, while the honeymoon birds were still singing. I had just retired and was looking forward to her retirement.
Initially, I was perplexed, stunned and did not know what to do. It did not take long before I observed an astonishing quality in my wife. I could see a sense of cool calm strength emerge. She became the navigator. She was not vocal about her condition. Based on her behavior, the message was clear that she was going to beat this invasion of her body. When she talked about herself, it was in relationship to helping others and not about the breast cancer. Specifically, she talked about helping her students pass the State BSAP Test and they did.
After returning to school, she physically became drained, but the experience with her students seemed to have added to her determination to move ahead. She was teaching a very challenging group, ninth graders. Based on her reports, the students being aware of her condition seemed to have been swept up in the climate of her challenge. The students collectively supported her by being good students and did excellent work superior to the other ninth graders.
For 8 weeks, Earline too radiation treatments, which zapped energy from her already weak body. However, Earline did not alter her responsibilities at school or home. She was Yearbook Advisor and Senior Class Sponsor. These responsibilities were demanding and included overseeing senior class activities, organizing and implementing projects to raise funds to help the Yearbook staff.
Earline was relentless in pursuit of success and did not let breast cancer slow her down. The senior class for the fifteenth consecutive year won the top award for the best homecoming float. Her annual staff, while attending the Yearbook Camp at Southern University in Hattiesburg, for the twelfth year won top award for the best annual in the Southern half of the state.
Serving a source of strength and inspiration for cancer survivors and their families, Earline also participates in cancer community functions. Cancer events and YMCA successful achievements include:
Earline's statement, "I am going to take better care of my body and I am going to help others", depicts exactly her character of strength and courage.
In 100 words or less, please describe an incident involving your nominee in which something the did or said serves as the best illustration of who he/she is:
Earline's cancer experience had a profound effect on her. She went through redefining herself spiritually and became mission driven to survive. Her commitment and I quote, "I am going to take care of my body better and I am going to help others"! This statement has become the cornerstone of Earline's life.
In 1996, the YMCA Physability Program Director relocated and offered Earline the position. Earline believed she couldn't handle the responsibility. I felt this was the perfect opportunity to demonstrate commitment to her physical well being. It was not long before Earline was certified to teach and is now the Director.
What one word best describes your nominee?
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