ARIEL MATTHEWS AND EMMA HARRIS (NYLO INTERNS)
ANN Paula Bibby was on the receiving end of the love and generosity she readily gives. Bibby, the former project manager of the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society, received an outpouring of love from friends, family and well-wishers at Lucy Joyce Blackman International Foundations’ (LBJ Foundation) fund-raising dinner held in her honour on August 5, at Lions’ Civic Centre, Port of Spain. Bibby was first diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer in January of 2015.
The evening, full of food, dancing and fun, saw local stars such as Marcia Miranda and Terry Seales serenading Bibby. The well-supported fund-raiser included cancer survivors and their families, along with a number of sponsors and people whose lives Bibby touched. Seated directly in front of the stage with her family, Bibby encouraged the audience to, “Get up and shake a leg please, for me,” to the musical performances by the family band, Moore’s Music Productions.
The cancer-fighter encouraged, “Many people fear cancer but with a lot of positivity, go out there, be strong... don’t be afraid of it, it’s curable, because there is one big man who knows what and how to cure it, and that’s God... I am here and I am truly alive.” Many were moved as singer Marcia Miranda dedicated her performance of Bette Midler’s Wind Beneath My Wings to Bibby. Miranda, also a cancer survivor, said, “Paula helped me when I was down.”
In the true spirit of celebration, Miranda sang songs such as the Electric Slide, getting the audience on their feet and in front of the stage. Bibby thanked Miranda and described her as a “beautiful spirit,” who is “really my saviour, you are the reason I am alive because I helped you and believe me, you certainly helped me too.”
Ingrid Blackman-Arrastia of the LJB Foundation said, “The Cancer Society and Paula directly have always been a help to us from inception. She was instrumental to our development. She is like our mum and has a heart of gold so it was a natural decision to organise this fund-raiser.” In a few words shared to the audience, Blackman-Arrastia warmed the crowd by saying, “The one thing that unites us all is that little word,
L O V E.”
The Lucy Joyce Blackman Foundation is a global non-profit charity created by the children of Lucy Joyce Blackman to honour her death and her life’s message of love and charity.
Their motto of “charity begins at home” closely aligns with Bibby’s, which states, “If I can help someone as I tarry along, then my living is not in vain.”