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From the Editor of Delaware Today: Paying it Forward

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I’m bored with the standard resolutions. Sure, I’d like to lose the same 20 pounds I keep gaining back. I’d like to win the lottery (although that’s more like a wish than a resolution). I want 2012 to be a fabulous year for my son. I want my family and friends to enjoy good health and much happiness.

But in terms of material possessions, I have everything I need. I’d rather be a better person. Not so easy when you’re overly ambitious, and have goals you’ll probably never accomplish the way you had envisioned. I do my best to avoid sweating the small stuff while keeping the big things in perspective. That’s why Christine Rivera’s letter touched me the way it did.

Christine lives in Wilmington. In October her 30-year-old daughter Selena, a teacher at McVey Elementary in Newark, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Having tested positive for the BRCA2 gene, Selena underwent a double mastectomy and sentinel lymph node dissection within days of her diagnosis. Her ovaries were removed a week later. As Christine wrote, “Selena went from zero to mastectomy so quickly there was not time to process the devastating news.”

At the time, Christine was a new customer at Mark IV Hair Designs in Newark. The day before Selena’s first surgery, Christine went to the salon and noticed a table display dedicated to Breast Cancer Awareness. Her stylist, salon owner Debby Biddle, explained that she and her staff were raising money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Christine told the owner about Selena.

Three weeks later, Christine went back to Mark IV to find that the table display had been transformed and dedicated to Selena. Debby then presented Christine with a check for $300. In addition, the owner offered free deep conditioning treatments to anyone who contributed to Selena’s fund. Three hundred dollars means a lot to a teacher, and Selena is the family breadwinner while her husband attends nursing school.

Debby never met Selena. She barely knew Christine. Yet, as Christine wrote, “This loving and thoughtful owner went out of her way to raise money for my child.”

I would not have seen the letter had it not been for DT staffer Joan Lawler, who works in accounting, not editorial. Normally these types of letters do come to me, but this one got lost in the mix. Thanks to Joan, it landed on the right desk. Call it fate. I think I was meant to read Christine’s letter—and to share it.

I called Christine to thank her for writing and to inquire about Selena. We agreed that acts of kindness like Debby’s should be celebrated. This is not an advertisement for Mark IV Hair Designs—I’ve never been there. But as Christine says, “We don’t hear enough about the unsung heroes in our communities.”

That’s why I’m dedicating the first editor’s column of 2012 to Debby Biddle. She’s a hero. And she’s no longer unsung.

Enjoy the issue.

 

Team Notes

From left: Louise Bolin, Drew Ostroski, Kelly Carter, Jared Castaldi, Katie McCabe and Mark NardoneLouise  I recently took part in my first Cocoa Crawl. No, it’s not what you think. I wasn’t dressed up as a giant marshmallow hopping from bar to bar. I was, however, hopping from store to store with credit card in hand. The Cocoa Crawl is an amazing event (conveniently held just before the holidays) in Rehoboth, where the streets are lined with caramel and cocoa-colored balloons. And within each store is an equally amazing local food vendor, keeping you fueled while you shop. Count me in for next year!

Drew  Thanks to all the folks at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover for their hospitality during my recent visit. I’ll have to admit that I don’t know a lot about art, but that didn’t stop me from enjoying the awesome collection of paintings, sculpture and furniture at the Biggs. It really is a first-class museum.

Kelly  Within the last month I saw the Pixies at The Grand and The English Beat at the World Cafe Live at The Queen. Yes, it was a month of revisiting the music of my past. Kudos to everyone at The Grand for the fantastically grand (ha) show they hosted. The small space was packed with cheering fans and there was fog, floor-shaking beats and an incredible set with gigantic spheres of light. Although not as packed and show-stopping, The English Beat was good, too. The sound was perfect and there was lots of room to dance. Keep it up, Wilmington.

Jared  This month I got to photograph Rick Jensen at the WDEL 1150AM radio studios and afterward, hang out and talk on air about beer during his Thirsty Thursday segment. Had a blast!

Katie  Best wishes to Carol and Tony Boyd-Heron, 15-year owners of the Peninsula Gallery in Lewes, as they start a new chapter in their lives. And all the best also to the gallery’s new owner, B.J. Clark, M.D., to whom they pass the baton.

Mark  Any excuse to sip a beer during the workday is welcome, since one doesn’t come along very often. Thanks to Justin Williams and the Calagiones at Dogfish Head for an invitation to the unveiling of Delaware Native Ale at the brew pub on Halloween. It was fun. And that’s a doggone tasty brew.

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