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Terminally ill bride passes away

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Caring for the carers: cancer survivor Juliana Swan made a donation to the O’Connor family to help with medical bills for their mother Malinda who is terminally ill. Pictured from left are Ms Swan, Arlena, Tyneisha and Avita O’Connor (Photograph by Sarah Lagan)

A family have paid tribute to a loving mother who remained positive to the end with the passing of Malinda Binns on Friday afternoon.

Mrs Binns, formerly O’Connor, 51, passed away at Agape House just after 2pm with her daughter, Arlena, by her side following a year-long battle with cancer.

The Royal Gazette has reported on the plight of the O’Connor family who have not only gone through the pain of watching their loved-one deteriorate at such a rapid pace, but are now faced with hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay off in medical fees. In the space of just one year, Ms Binns received diagnoses of melanoma of the sinuses, cancer of the kidney and brain cancer. She underwent skin grafts, multiple surgeries including the removal of her right eye and the removal of a tumour from her brain, as well as debilitating radiation and chemotherapy.

After a story in The Royal Gazette last month appealing for help, the family have been able to raise $10,000 towards the costs but they still have to pay off about $110,000 after help already gained from HIP, charity Pals and financial assistance. Donations are being made to the family through the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association and an additional account is being set up through www.ptix.bm to make it more convenient for those donating from overseas.

Arlena O’Connor said that in her final moments her mother told her how grateful she was for everything that everyone had done for her.

Paying tribute, Arlena said: “She was a loving person, she would give anyone her last. She never complained about anything really, in life she always was positive and happy. Even towards the end she never was sad about her illness — she always said she was good until the end. Even when she came back from Boston the first time and she had the operation with her eye she came back and she was dancing — she even said she would dance herself out of Agape House — now she is dancing home to God. That’s the type of person she was.

“I was talking to her telling her ‘everybody loves you, everyone appreciates the type of person you are, we love you and you have done a lot for us’. She was a strong person and an inspiration to a lot of people. She was willing to get better even if she would be in pain, whatever she had to go through she was willing to do it — whatever changes she had to make she was willing to change no matter what. She always was positive and never was upset — not one day.”

Malinda even fulfilled her dying wish by marrying Jamel Binns just last month during a modest ceremony at Agape House. When a friend of Arlena read about the family’s medical bills, before Malinda had passed last week, she decided she wanted to inspire the community to help. Juliana Swan cancelled a brunch and tea party she had organised to celebrate the eight-year anniversary of her own cancer survival to donate money to their cause. She wrote a cheque to the O’Connor family through the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association for $100 and bought gift vouchers for Malinda and each of her caregivers — her three daughters Arlena, Avita and Tyneisha and mother Betty — to make them feel cared for.

Ms Swan told The Royal Gazette: “When I read the story I just fell apart and broke into tears. My thing is just to show people that I have responsibilities for family members too but I decided to share. I can wait, I can celebrate my little get-together another time and I wanted to remind people it is nice to share and be caring.”

Anyone wishing to donate can do so through the Lady Cubitt Compassionate Association by depositing funds to Malinda Binns [or O’Connor], on Betty O’Connor’s account at LCCA’s account: HSBC #010-287209-002. Include Malinda’s name or the organisation will not know where to allocate the funds. An additional account is due to be set up through www.ptix.bm.

Malinda leaves behind her husband, Jamel Binns, her four children, John, Arlena, Avita, Tyneisha, and her mother, Betty.

Happier times: from left, the late Malinda Binns with her daughters Arlena, Tyneisha and Avita O’Connor
Jamel and Malinda Binns
John O’Connor