The earth was still fresh on Cindy Sills’ grave as her husband Don knelt beside to offer a silent prayer.
It has been just over three months since Don Sills lost his wife to a rare form of cancer.
Cindy Sills, 56, had three children and five grandchildren.
Don Sills has been on a quest to raise awareness of sarcoma, particularly therhabdomyosarcoma, which took his wife of 36 years from him.
It took 2 1/2 months to diagnose Sills’ painful ankle problems as stemming from sarcoma, which causes a disintegration of the soft tissue connecting the bone.
Sills was a popular employee at the Marine Corps Community Services Safety Store and was well known to the military and civilian workers who came by to purchase safety glasses and shoes.
“She loved that job,” Don Sills said. “She hit it off with everyone who came by.”
Cindy’s diagnosis in 2012 meant that she could no longer do the job that she loved.
She was strong through the ordeal.
“She never shed a tear, not for cancer,” Don Sills said. “She smiled all the way through it, all the way to the end. She stayed the beautiful person she always was.”
On the evening of her diagnosis, the Sills came home to a brilliant rainbow in the sky.
“We took that as a sign to us, a sign of hope,” Don Sills said.
Later, when she died on Sept. 6 and her body was removed from the family’s house, another rainbow appeared.
The moments inspired Don Sills to start “Cindy’s Rainbow” as a way to honor his wife, carry on her legacy and bring awareness to sarcoma.
“She deserves it. She fought for us, really,” he said.
He has joined with the Sarcoma Foundation of America to spread the word in part by wearing a “Cindy’s Rainbow” T-shirt every time he runs through the streets of Havelock.
The blue shirt with a brilliant rainbow across the chest encourages drivers who see him running to “Give a Beep about Sarcoma.” He usually runs around 4 p.m. and can be seen just off East Main Street between Bojangles and the Kangaroo store.
Sills is selling the shirts to raise money for a team of sarcoma specialists working on research.
The shirts are $20 locally and $25 if they need to be shipped elsewhere. Havelock-area purchasers can get their shirts delivered by Sills personally.
Sills also wants to promote an April 12 sarcoma awareness event and will be selling tickets for the barbecue dinner that night.
Sills said he was grateful for all the support he has received, as well as support from the Havelock police and fire departments at the time of his wife’s death as well as at her funeral.
To contact Sills about purchasing T-shirts, getting dinner tickets and sarcoma awareness, go to Cindy’s Rainbow on Facebook. Other information is available at www.nccancerhospital.org/news/sills-raises-awareness-about-her-rare-cancer where an article and links are posted about Cindy Sills’ struggle with the rare cancer.