Cheryl Blackman: The power of love

December 8, 2016

Truth, it's said, is stranger than fiction; but it can also be more wonderful.

No character in any book or movie is any more energetic, heroic, indomitable, inspiring or wonderful than Cheryl Blackman.

Quirky in her own way, Cheryl used the special needs she was born with to become truly special. Despite a long battle with breast cancer, she refused to allow her maladies to cast any shadow over the enthusiasm and selflessness that glowed within her.

Cheryl's humanly existence ended this week, in the early and quiet hours of Wednesday morning. The image of her blue eyes and ear-to-ear grin, however, will be a hallmark of Rehoboth Beach lore for decades to come.

They connected directly with her soul and are reminiscent of poet Maya Angelou's remark to a complacently smiling newborn: "Quick, tell me where you came from, before you forget." Cheryl's special qualities gave her a glimpse into the mysteries of the infinite universe. It should comfort all that what she saw inspired her perpetual smile.

At a time when civility has slipped into the shadows, Cheryl's bright love and example are more important than ever. This past July, just after the Fourth of July celebration in Rehoboth Beach that she loved so dearly, Cheryl's friends organized an impromptu parade circling Rehoboth Avenue. Her prognosis had dimmed.

They wanted to give the community a chance to show its love for someone who for decades brightened the Boardwalk with raffle sales to benefit those less blessed, and for her flat-out joy for living.

Once again the community fed off her contagious smile. All ages lined the resort's main drag, pouring out love and encouragement as Cheryl waved from her perch in the back of a convertible Jeep.

That love kept Cheryl going for several more months. All she wanted was to get back to the Boardwalk to share her spirit with friends and strangers, and sell more tickets. Love is powerful stuff, and Cheryl Blackman had a powerful lot of it.

We could do a lot worse than emulating Cheryl's simple beauty.


  • Editorials are considered and written by Cape Gazette Editorial Board members, including Publisher Chris Rausch, Editor Jen Ellingsworth, News Editor Nick Roth and reporters Ron MacArthur and Chris Flood. 

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