Thursday, September 25, 2008

Writer bases cancer drama on personal experience

Barbara Welch, a former resident of Racine, has written 11 plays since 1995. None was as difficult as the on she debuts next week.
“Cancer: A Common Bond,” is an inspirational play about two best friends battling cancer based on Welch’s experience.
Now living in Rockford, Ill, the playwright had no family history and no reason to suspect anything when she was she was diagnosed with ovarian caner in June 2005. One moment she was consoling her friend; the next she was the one seeking comfort.
“I was devastated,” said Welch, a native of New Albany, Miss., who lived in Racine, WI for 30 years before moving to Rockford a couple of years ago.
Welch’s friend, the one who was encouraging her and talking her through treatment, died. Welch’s cancer advanced to stage IV, in which the cancer had spread to other parts of the abdomen.
Welch went though chemotherapy, lost her hair and became depressed. She was stuck on “Why me?” until she saw bald-headed children on a commercial for St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.
“After a lot of soul searching and prayer, I thought, ‘Why not me?’” she said.
Welch has recovered. She is healthy, without medication, and she gives credit to God.
“Unfortunately, some of us do not walk by faith and need to see His miracles and blessings,” she said. “I am here to prove that God is alive and still performing miracles today.”
Faith is the underlying theme of her play, but there’s another message. She wants to encourage others to take preventive steps against cancer.
“I’m not trying to lecture people, but we hope people go out and get screened,” she said. “The most important thing is not to give up and go hide in a corner.”
Welch did her homework, researching symptoms and treatments for true-to-life dialogue, and a representative from the American Cancer Society will speak as part of the play.
Despite the seriousness of the topic, Welch wants the audience to be entertained, too. A praise dance troupe from St. Luke Missionary Baptist Church will perform at the intermission. The play includes gospel music, and, as with her plays about other heavy topics such as abuse and family strife, she wants people to laugh, too.
“I always try to throw in some humor,” she said. “You have to learn to laugh, even in bad situations.”
Her play will be Saturday, October 11, 2008, at 6 pm in Racine at St. Paul M. B. Church Miracle Center, located 1100 Grand Ave.

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