On any given Saturday night for the past 10 years, you will find one very special older adult, Lynn V., volunteering in her community in Cleveland, OH. Lynn, 79, is a woman whose optimistic outlook and generous spirit, is only matched by her love of movies, musicals and all things theatrical. Ten years ago, Lynn’s community was remodeled to add a movie theatre. Ever since then, despite facing tremendous physical challenges of her own, Lynn has faithfully volunteered her time as the sole person running this theater, citing the benefit of residents not having to fight the crowds at theaters and saving money by seeing movies right in their own community. Lynn is a devoted, lifelong movie and musical fan, whose passion has led Lynn to showing literally hundreds of movies and nearly every musical one can think of to her fellow residents in that theater over the past decade.
Upon learning of Wish of a Lifetime, Lynn knew immediately what wish would mean the world to her. Family is extremely important to Lynn, with her making intentional effort to stay connected, even to extended family. She has a very special nephew, Steve Cohen, a screenwriter who taught film at NYU and wrote the screenplay, The Bachelor, which was later adapted into a movie. He married a fellow writer, Sabrina, who wrote the screenplay, The Monsoon Wedding. Tragically, Steve passed away very unexpectedly 4 years ago at the age of 46. After Steve’s passing, Lynn has remained very close with his wife, Sabrina and their son. Much to her excitement and pride, Sabrina’s movie, The Monsoon Wedding, is being turned into a musical, which will be premiering in Berkeley, CA in May.
This unique wish embodies a older adult who has made sweet lemonade after being handed pretty sour lemons in life. When Lynn was blindsided by a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis in her early 40’s, she determined to live her life to the fullest and to make the most of every opportunity. Her priorities are reflected in her perspective, sharing that, “My nephew would be so proud that we are continuing to stay close as a family, even through all these obstacles. These last years of my life, I have never been happier, even though I have many medical issues, I am just happy to be alive! I never imagined that I would live to be 79 years old.” Lynn’s positivity, humility and giving spirit are truly inspirational. Lynn is the type of person who makes one want to be a better person, to strive for greater contentment and optimism, just by speaking with her.
Wish of a Lifetime could not be more excited to be granting Lynn’s wish by sending Lynn and her daughter from Cleveland, Ohio to Berkeley, California to attend the opening weekend of this acclaimed musical on May 20th, 2017. Lynn joined many other family members in attendance, most notably the screenwriter, her nephew’s wife, Sabrina. After spending an amazing weekend with Sabrina and her extended family enjoying the much anticipated, Monsoon Wedding Musical, Lynn declared, “Dreams really do come true!!” Special thanks to the Berkeley Repertory Theater and the Shattuck Hotel for their support in helping to make Lynn’s dream a reality.
Photos courtesy of Cynthia Penazola.