My dear friend Cindy Oaks received some bad news this week. Her cancer is back and this time it’s incurable.
I met Cindy 25 years ago. As garage sale regulars we had seen each other a few times and occasionally chatted a bit, but on this particular rainy day, she invited me back to her house for coffee. We sat in the warm coziness of her beautiful turn-of-the-century farmhouse kitchen and got acquainted. We were about the same age, we were both new to the area, we were both from California, we had both served in the Army, we both hoped to have antique stores, we each had girls who played softball at Ferndale High - we had so much in common. We immediately became friends, chatting on the phone every day, sharing our stories, observations, ideas and lives. We did our very first (of many) antique show together.
If you know Cindy, you know she is always stylishly put together, impeccably clean, fit (<- she will balk at that comment), hard-working, and has great taste with a gift for photography and interior design. She has twin daughters, Jessica and Nicole, who just turned 30. She told me the other day, that she always thought that one day she’d be a peppy grandma.
On Labor Day 2004, after getting out of the shower, Cindy found a lump on her breast. It was breast cancer. She began chemotherapy and by November had lost her long, beautiful hair. By the Summer of 2005, she was sporting a short, sassy hairstyle.
For her birthday that year, I treated her to a psychic reading. The psychic asked if she was divorced. She said no. The psychic said, “Really?” She went on to say she saw divorce, signing papers to sell the house, Cindy living by the beach and traveling the world. A year later, Cindy came across the notes I had taken at her psychic reading and said, “I can’t believe it. I’m divorced. We sold our house. I’m sitting in my apartment in California two blocks from the beach and working as a flight attendant and traveling the world.” That was a whole new exciting chapter in her life, filled with adventures to faraway places.
But then, a few years later, the cancer came back. This time Cindy lost a breast, which was devastating, but she survived. A third time she also fought the battle once again, and beat it.
And now, the cancer is back again. On November 28, Cindy wrenched her back at work. The terrible pain led to some tests that revealed her cancer was back and had spread. Her doctor told her to imagine her cancer as a bag of bird seed that has just been dropped into her body landing here, there and everywhere. They can’t fight it. The only game plan is to slow it down, but there is no timeline.
The first time, Cindy lost her hair, it grew back. The next time, Cindy lost a breast, it was reconstructed. This time, Cindy will lose her life.
Imagine if you were on your own and could no longer work due to pain and doctor’s orders, and there is no one to help out or pick up the slack. And when Cindy’s job ends, her insurance ends too. The sad reality is that living costs money... a lot of money. Cindy hasn’t had a paycheck since November 30, but that didn’t stop the bills from rolling in. She has applied for medical disability, but it hasn’t been approved yet. IF it is approved, it will only be a fraction of what she was earning.
It seems so inhumane that someone dying, who has worked their whole life, would have to worry about losing their home, or basic survival at a time like this. She needs money to survive. Please help if you can. Every little bit helps.
- Lynn Nocifora
- Michella Flores
- Mark Nocifora
- Marilyn McClain-West
- Gregory Jones
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