This week has been unofficially dubbed “The Week of Rhayne” by several local residents, in anticipation of a week-long visit from Rhayne Thomas, a published author, motivational speaker, jazz and blues musician, and cancer survivor, who is on a self-described mission of “healing through love and laughter.”
Thomas shared on Thursday morning that she is looking forward to her visit. “I love Mount Airy and the people there. I love small towns in general, but Mount Airy is one of a kind.”
Thomas brings with her a message of love, hope, laughter, and perseverance — a message of “always laughing your way through life and enjoying who you are” despite setbacks and bumps in the road.
Thomas said her laughter and sense of humor began when she was a child in a “crazy and dysfunctional family,” using it originally as a defense mechanism.
Diagnosed with breast cancer on April 29, 2011, Thomas, who is now cancer-free, said she never got down about it, and instead applied her mantra — “where there is faith, there is no fear.” She was in Arizona at the time she was diagnosed and said she decided to go to a party she had previously decided to attend, and ended up spending her weekend enjoying life, instead of letting herself become dragged down by her recent diagnosis.
“I just thought, ‘this is not on my bucket list,’ and cancer didn’t run in my family, I didn’t do drugs, I didn’t drink, I was not a junk food eater, and I had an excellent team of doctors, so I knew I was in great hands, and I just never stopped to give it any energy. I just kept going.”
Thomas said she is holding seminars and workshops with cancer patients, and visiting cancer and medical facilities to share her message: “After you are diagnosed with cancer you are on an emotional roller coaster. It is really hard to handle. I created a laughter workshop called ‘Hello My Name is Dr. Jekyll and this is Mr. Hyde: Being an Emotional Lunatic After Cancer and How to Deal With It’ because it is tough for the individual and tough for their family…I want people to realize they are not alone.”
Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, Thomas is a graduate of the Music and Art High School, class of 1984, and a graduate of Hofstra University in Long Island, class of 1991. She toured as a blues singer for more than 30 years and has lived in many places. She now lives in Las Vegas, Nevada with her husband Brian.
Thomas has written multiple books, including the bestseller “Gracie-isms” which contains her interpretation of her mother’s southern sayings; “Born Again Bag Lady: Garage Sale-ing with a Purpose;” and “I’m 40! I’m Feisty” And there’s a gray hair in my WHAT?!? and other surprises after age 25,” which is a light-hearted book about aging; and more.
Thomas will speak to the Rotary Club on May 12 and May 13, and will also visit the Plaid Cloth Literary Society Book Club at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History, in the meeting space on the second floor, at 12 p.m on May 14.
There will be a book-signing and musical performance with Thomas on May 17 from 12 to 2 p.m. at Pages Books and Coffee in downtown Mount Airy, including 45 minutes of singing and music, starting at 12 p.m. Thomas will also perform at Old North State Winery’s Open Mic Night on May 14.
Thomas shared that she was grateful to Cindy and Wayne Martin for hosting her during her week in Mount Airy, and also thankful to Ann Vaughn for assisting her as well in getting the word out about her visit.
“I just want people to be able to take every day and embrace it through laughter so they can have the best life ever,” Thomas shared.
For anyone who is interested in meeting with Rhyane Thomas for a seminar while she is in town next week, or going to one of her speaking engagements and/or performances, email her at email@example.com or call 702-277-9149.
For more information about Thomas, visit www.RhayneThomas.com and www.PrunesAreSexy.com.
Reach Jessica Johnson at 719-1933 and on Twitter @MountAiryJess.