Thursday, December 3, 2015

Goodbye, Cynthia

My cousin Cynthia Noel Winrow Summers, 61, died October 26, 2015 at a hospital in Oceanside after a long battle with cancer.
Cynthia Noel Winrow Summers, 1954-2015
Born Dec. 20, 1954 to my aunt and uncle Bert and Mary Winrow, Cynthia, a very brave and optimistic soul, survived not only a long struggle with cancer which eventually cost her an arm, but also distinguished herself by becoming an extraordinarily long survivor of two liver transplants. A first liver transplant, caused by a rare disease in the early 1990s failed, and she had to endure a second one. The average life expectancy for liver transplant patients is said to be about five years; Cynthia survived more than 20 years after hers, and right up until the end she kept a smiling face. She was an inspiration to us all.

I knew Cynthia all my life. She was about a year older than me. We didn’t see each other very often, but always had a few laughs when we did.

Cynthia graduated from La Jolla High School in 1973, and was a student at the University of California at San Diego, where she studied Oceanography and Psychology before deciding to leave the university just short of her graduation. An avid surfer, soon after leaving UCSD she relocated to Hawaii, where she spent a number of years living and surfing, and made many new friends.
Noted for her physical resilience, just days after her liver transplant, she was out rollerblading, according to her family. But surfing was her main passion, both in California and in Hawaii. According to her husband, Steve Summers, she continued surfing right up until losing her left arm to cancer.

A devout Christian, she was a member of the Calvary Chapel in Oceanside, where a memorial service was held on Oct. 31st.  Her pastor, Gary Currie, cited Summers’ favorite Bible verse as Proverbs 3, 5:6: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not. In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your path.” 

An avid artist, Cynthia worked in many media, from painting to jewelry-making. She was also a musician, playing both piano and flute.

My cousin is survived by her husband Steven, her mother Mary, her brothers Skip and Steve, her niece Brooke and her nephews Bryce and Cameron. We are planning our annual “cousins reunion” next spring at her brother Skip’s place in Escondido. It will not be the same without Cynthia there.
RIP, my dear cousin.

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