Oi Yin’s Story

As we “say a little prayer” for Aretha Franklin, I ask that the family of Oi Yin Gonzalez and the countless families affected by cancer be lifted as well. As I viewed the marvelous orange display of last night’s rare and powerful lunar eclipse/winter solstice combo, I thought of them and the possibility of the miraculous as well as the gift of acceptance.

Please view the video below from the Cancer Respite organization, For Pete’s Sake:

I met Oi Yin and her family years ago when she and I were in the bridal party of our dear friend, artist Fran Mack.  She and her husband, Rafael, both engineers, were about as lovely a couple as I’d ever come across. Deeply in love, devoted parents to two small children, their’s was a life that was golden.  In 2006, Rafael visited the doctor with the complaint of back pain (that he’d attributed to strain from having moved heavy furniture.) The non-smoker was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer and given the prognosis of six months to live.  Widowed at 36, Oi Yin, in characteristic positivity forged the best possible life for her babies, a life that honored their father’s memory, embraced his family and yet allowed them to move forward.  When new love Jeff proposed marriage in January, she accepted.  They were stunned by fit,former distance runner Oi Yin’s diagnosis in March of pancreatic cancer.  It seems unfathomable that so much should be heaped on this family and yet Oi Yin with her beautiful, open, indomitable spirit once again forges ahead, preparing her children for the possibility of life without her whilst fighting the good fight with aggresive treatment and holistic therapies.  She was given seven months in March, and now as the year draws to a close, she is still vital through wearying treatment and creating a special holiday for Sienna and Derek.

I saw her last summer at the annual memorial softball game held  in honor of Rafael.  She, a bit frail after treatment, resolved nonetheless to play.  And she did for a bit before assuming the mantle of pep squad, gratefully cheering on all who came out in Raf’s memory.  She is truly a remarkable woman.  She shares her ethical will to her children on Jeff’s Psychology Today blog.

In this season of copious spending I hope that everyone who reads this will feel compelled to give the extent of their ability.  Donate to For Pete’s Sake at  TakeABreakFromCancer.org  by 12/31/2010 to help reach the $8,000 matching funds challenge; and/or if you’d like to donate directly to Oi Yin’s medical costs and the trust for the children, visit Gonzalez Family Trust.

Thank you for reading.  Wishing all a happy, love-filled holiday season!

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15 Responses

  1. Thanks for sharing this bracing and inspirational post. Though the subject matter is grim, its presentation abounds with grace and style.

    • Thank you for reading and responding.

  2. Thank you Sharon. I just made a contribution to the TakeABreakFromCancer effort. I am sure that with your help Oi Yin will reach her goal. Her courage is inspiring.

    • Thank you, thank you Fanon. Wonderful of you.

  3. Oi Yin is a soldier. Thanks for sharing her heartwarming story.
    Doctors have a job to do, but they don’t have the final say.
    Blessings to Oi Yin and her children.

    • Indeed. Thank you Jelani.

  4. I am very moved by this piece. I am consistently reminded of how precarious life is. We should pray hard every moment we can for the Oi Yin’s of the world. In the words of my sweet friend Valerie Vaz who lost her battle with brain cancer in September…’sometimes it is just the luck of the draw…’
    Let us live in grace and light and humility and spread all the love we can stand and some…Blessings to Oi Yin and her children and to us all.
    Thank you Sharon,
    Sandye

    • Yes, thank you Sandye. I didn’t know about Valerie, I worked with her years ago at Essence. She was lovely. My condolences.

  5. As a staff member at For Pete’s Sake, I am honored to read this piece on Oi Yin. She truly is an inspirational woman. Thank you for sharing and much happiness to you in 2011.

    • Thank you Amber best wishes to you as well. Thank you also for the wonderful gift you provide to families affected by cancer.

  6. Thanks Sharon for sharing and putting this on our minds.

    I believe there is something that we need to be doing for ourselves as far as our health care research, developement and lifestyle changes, that the medical & health care industry should be doing.

    This is so very unfortunate, but sad to say not uncommon.

    I will try to give to the family what I can. Thanks

    • Thanks Xenobia.

  7. powerful- sharon. love, strength, and good wishes to this beautiful warrior family.

    • Thanks Toshi.

  8. […] alotting your precious time to seeing which way the pendulum will swing, from my story in 2008 to Oi Yin Gonzalez’ at the end of 2010. I hope you’ll follow as the well-received feature, The Trove, becomes […]

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