Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS & ED­U­CA­TION - Amitabh.sharma@hot­

“Why? And why her?” and sud­denly, the warmth of the Sun­shine State be­gan to look like the frosty win­ters of the Poles, plung­ing the happy-golucky friends into re­morse and sor­row.

“We were just cel­e­brat­ing hap­pi­ness and then the shock­ing news ... ,” Mitchell said, her voice trail­ing, still com­ing to terms with this third let­ter of the English alphabet which has gained much no­to­ri­ety.

It was an up­hill task phys­i­cally, emo­tion­ally, and fi­nan­cially.

“I re­mem­bered my strug­gles with my health – sick and hos­pi­talised 18 times with my first­born,” Mitchell said. “I did win the bat­tle and shared words of en­cour­age­ment.

“I know that our God that we serve will never leave us nor for­sake us.”

The first step was to come to terms and deal with the cir­cum­stance head on. Here di­vin­ity and pos­i­tiv­ity played key roles.

Dur­ing one of her vis­its to Man­dev­ille, Ja­maica – her birth­place – Mitchell had Prim, mak­ing bold state­ments in a photo shoot. “I sug­gested bold pink lips and a beau­ti­ful long dress. I went across the street from my home in Jam­ica and got all her ‘money shots’,” Mitchell said.

But, deal­ing with any form of can­cer is noth­ing less than climb­ing a cliff with bare knuck­les. One has to tread with ease, latch on to the tini­est bit of the rock jut­ting out to get a foothold, and crit­i­cally, have the en­durance and stamina to CLIMB to the sum­mit.

The price to pay is high, which Godfrey and Mitchell, had come to terms with early on.

“How she will fi­nance the surgery was my great­est con­cern,” said Mitchell. “My heart started to ache.”

Mitchell, who is a teacher, and a mother of two, and who finds sewing ther­a­peu­tic, got the idea to raise funds for Prim’s surgery, which is go­ing to cost US$500,000.

“I, too, could only af­ford a small do­na­tion, but prayed and kept ask­ing my­self what else I can do,” Mitchell said. “I took a nap and woke up with a grand idea of us­ing my gift of sewing to fundraise.”


Mitchell, who along with fel­low Man­dev­ille artist, Christal-Ann Thomp­son Richards, de­cided to pool their re­sources and tal­ents to sell their cre­ations to raise funds.

The cost of the surgery, a walk on thin ice, may sound as­tro­nom­i­cal, mind-bog­gling and make many lose hope and em­brace de­spair, but the key is to run, walk, crawl ... but keep mov­ing.

“Ev­ery mo­ment of life is pre­cious, and when we have to strug­gle through it, it’s good to have hands of love reach­ing out to sup­port you,” said Thomp­son Richards, who has had to over­come her fair share of per­sonal strug­gles.

When she heard about Prim­rose bat­tling can­cer and need­ing US$500,000 for surgery, Thomp­son Richards de­cided to help.

“I could be the one in that sit­u­a­tion, but I was not,” Thomp­son Richards said. “I was the one with the tal­ent who could help her. So with my brush in hand, I will paint un­til she has had enough money to cover her surgery.”

Armed with con­vic­tion, hope and prayers on their lips, the two ladies are on a mis­sion to look be­yond their strug­gles, to help some­one they love.

Mitchell, who started mak­ing clutches three years ago, said she plans to sew clutches and do­nate 100 per cent of the profit made in Oc­to­ber, which is ob­served as Breast Can­cer Aware­ness Month, to­wards Prim’s treat­ment.

It is es­ti­mated that 1 in 8 women in the United States de­velop breast can­cer, but there are also more than 2.8 mil­lion breast can­cer sur­vivors there.

Rais­ing funds for Prim­rose’s treat­ment might seem a task, but the sup­port of her friends goes to speak vol­umes.

“I have truly learnt so much about my­self through my strug­gles and al­ways tried to find the pos­i­tive in light of a tough pe­riod in my life,” said Mitchell. “And I know that Prim will win this bat­tle for her life.”

There are mil­lions of Prim­roses across the world, who need sup­port – a hug, words of en­cour­age­ment, a rea­son to live, and a rea­son to love life. As the adage goes, lit­tle drops fill the ocean, or in Ja­maican par­lance – ev­ery mikkle mek a mukkle – small steps be­come gi­ant leaps ... and for all the Prims in the world – rock on!

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