Flash Mob Rallies Behind Terminally Ill Woman
by Celia Shortt
Nearly 100 people in SummerGrove braved the cold and participated in a flash mob last weekend to encourage a friend who was recently diagnosed with a non-curable disease.
Lucille Miller has faced many health challenges over the last 17 years, but none like her recent diagnosis, Scleroderma. Scleroderma is a disease that causes someone to lose the elasticity in his or her cells. Without the elasticity, the heart can’t beat and the lungs can’t function.
“My case is extremely progressed with multiple organ involvements,” Miller said. “My stomach doesn't work anymore, [my] lungs are probably the worst-off organ … functioning at 40 percent capacity, [with] heart and kidney involvement, too.”
“I seem to be getting a lot sicker very, very quickly,” she added. “We've all been just very taken back by it all. It's all happening so quickly.”
Miller is receiving chemo and other treatments to help the side effects of the disease and to help her breathe better, but they are not going to fix the problem.
“Not curable is a term that I never thought I'd say,” she said. “I never thought I’d be facing a terminal disease like this at 32. It's hard to comprehend. But I take each day and try to make the best of it.”
Miller has been married to her husband, Keith, for eight years. He has been by her side through her illness. Neither of them have family in Georgia, which has made the friends and relationships they have here even more important.
“He is amazing,” she said. “He does anything and everything I need.”
In the midst of Miller’s recent diagnosis, friend Lauren Cantos wanted to do something to encourage Miller. Cantos was excited when her friend Tiffany Anderson came up with the idea of putting together a flash mob. “We just want to do something that brightens her spirit,” said Cantos. “She always has a positive outlook. We just want to give her something happy.”
Cantos found a choreographer to help with the project. It included seven different songs, each with a different dance number.
“It’s pretty much all that I’ve lived and breathed for the last two weeks,” she said.
To carry out the surprise, Cantos planned an evening with her family and the Millers. Once she and her husband arrived at the Millers’ home, they gave them a gift that they were to open before they could do anything. Inside were two blindfolds.
Once the Millers put the blindfolds on, Lauren and her husband led them to their car. After the Millers were situated, the dancers jumped into view and the flash mob began. Seven song snippets later, the happy tears were flowing and both Miller and her husband were beyond thrilled.
“I have never been more honored or blown away or shocked by anything,” she said. “I thought we were celebrating Christmas. We both needed a pick-me-up so bad.”
“They’ve had so much bad news lately, it was nice to see some happy tears,” said Cantos.
Miller was amazed at the people who participated. They were from all over, some of whom she hadn’t met before.
“It was so nice to feel supported,” she said. “Saying thank you isn’t enough. Being so far away from family, it was overwhelming to see everyone there. I’m still just without words. I will never have them.”
The Millers will be meeting with specialists soon to get a more detailed prognosis. Whatever the news, she is determined to stay positive.
“I've been through health challenges that some people don't make it through,” she said. “This is by far the hardest thing I've faced. I have things I want to do before it gets worse, and I hope that happens. For now, every day I smile. Every day I laugh. Every day is a gift. This flash mob will be a memory on my heart forever.”