Adele's family has decided to honor her memory with the Adele Bayer Scholarship at Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation. In Adele’s memory, Adele’s sister, Dana and her foundation, Miles of Hope, have established The Adele Bayer Scholarship to honor Adele. The Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation was established in 2004 to fund support services for people affected by breast cancer. The Foundation was started by Dana Effron (Adele's sister) and Cathy Varunok, two community activists who saw a need for increased services for people with breast cancer. However, the scholarship in Adele's memory, will, like all scholarships given by Miles of Hope, benefit a child whose life has been affected by breast cancer.
Adele was a true angel, a bright light, and the world is a lesser place without her. Our story is quite unique, but beautiful. In short, we met by chance on a plane. For those who didn’t know this amazing woman’s story, please take the time to read about how I met her, and how she changed my life in one encounter. I wrote the following when I met her on March 27, 2018:
I’m not the type to post something like this, but I feel the need to share this experience. I’m on my way to Miami for a much needed vacation, in a hurry, about to miss my flight. I run onto the plane, eagerly looking for my row. I spot an older lady wearing a bright blue surgical face mask in the seat next to mine. I quickly tuck my bags away and sit beside her.
Now meet Adele. That’s her up there. In her words, “Adele, but NOT the singer.” As soon as I sit down next to her, she starts vigorously wiping down her seat and the tiny airplane television in front of her with disinfecting wipes. She then exclaims that she’s telling the flight attendants the reason she’s wearing a mask is because she’s a famous actress, but that’s not really the case. The reality is: her immune system isn’t strong enough for her to fight your average cold. Adele was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer one year ago - a terminal illness. I have a feeling, but hearing her say it makes my heart drop. I ask her how she’s feeling. She tells me that is her least favorite question. She feels amazing. She feels amazing because she has beaten the life expectancy for the type of cancer she has. She feels even more amazing because she and her husband, to whom she has been married 51 years, are on their way to Miami to catch a cruise to Barcelona. (She also tells me they’ve never once fought, because that requires too much negative energy - this is her key to a successful partnership.)
She goes on and tells me she doesn’t want to know anything about her illness from her doctors. She doesn’t want to read anything, or have any knowlehe. She says this is because at age 42, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She was told she was going to deteriorate and to prepare to abandon all physical activity. But she had a dream to learn how to play golf, and five years later, she had won three championships. She says at age 76, she still doesn’t feel the pain people describe with MS. “So why should cancer be any different?” she asks me rhetorically.
I ask her bluntly how is she not afraid. I’m afraid of so much, I tell her; of getting sick, of my parents getting sick, of losing another person I love. She looks at me and tells me if she’s not afraid, I shouldn’t be either. I put my sunglasses on to hide tears that start to build up in my captivated eyes. She begins to apologize for talking so much, and I just shake my head, because I don’t want her to stop, but I also don’t want her to hear my voice shake. She’s about to return to knitting something, but says she has no idea what to expect as the outcome, analogous to her current situation in life. Before doing so, she rips the mask off of her face. She has on bright, metallic lipstick and an even brighter smile. “Hi, Alexandra,” she says, grinning ear to ear. “I want you to know what I look like, but the mask must go back on!” I smile right back at her and tell her how warming her smile is. “All you really need to worry about is falling in love. Oh, and driving safely,” she says. I end up walking with Adele to baggage claim, as I don’t want to separate just yet. Right after I took this picture of her, we hug. The last thing she says to me is that any time I’m afraid, to remember her, that smile, and this very moment.
Any time you’re feeling afraid or uncertain, remember Adele, too. She has forever changed my outlook on life.
Please help us honor Adele’s memory by donating to The Adele Bayer Scholarship.