Community Honors Rehoboth Beach Icon Cheryl Blackman - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Community Honors Rehoboth Beach Icon Cheryl Blackman

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Cheryl Blackman is 53-years-old (Source: Blackman's family) Cheryl Blackman is 53-years-old (Source: Blackman's family)
Cheryl at the 2010 Celtic Festival (Source: Blackman's family) Cheryl at the 2010 Celtic Festival (Source: Blackman's family)

REHOBOTH BEACH, Del. - The first thing you'll notice about Cheryl Blackman is her gigantic smile. The 53-year-old, who has lived in Rehoboth Beach for most of her life, is now battling breast cancer. But as the Rehoboth icon looks back at her life, she said she wouldn't change a thing. She said her biggest joy has been meeting the kind people of Rehoboth Beach. 

"I love them all," she said. "And they all love me. "And I can't wait to get back downtown to see all of them." 

Blackman, who is well known for her philanthropic efforts, as well as her tendency to give hugs on the boardwalk, is now facing a worsening prognosis. The cancer has metastasized, and so she is now being moved into hospice care, surrounded by family. But as her condition has worsened, her support has only grown. Blackman has been sent hundreds of cards, and on Wednesday, dozens in the community gathered for a parade for Blackman. 

"You should see all my cards," she said with a big smile on her face. "I've got them all over the place. Boxes and boxes of cards." 

Blackman is well-known for walking around the downtown area in costumes, varying from Elves to Leprechauns, asking for donations for charities. Blackman's family has estimated that she has raised more than $210,000 for charities, including approximately $180,000 for KINfolk. She has also helped raise money for various organizations including the Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce and the Rehoboth Beach Fire Department. 

Blackman is also pretty savvy. Although she doesn't drink, she would often stay out late outside of bars because she knew that those who were drinking "were more likely to donate." 

"I like being with all my bar people," she said. "I love them all. And they all buy from me." 

Blackman spent some time on the big screen as well. In 1984, Blackman was in "The Muppets Take Manhattan," as Miss Piggy's stunt double. She also had a role in the 1988 movie, "Her Alibi."

In Rehoboth Beach, Blackman worked for 16 years at the Beach Luncheonette, which is now shut down, as a waitress on roller skates. She also worked for approximately eight years at Grotto Pizza in downtown Rehoboth Beach.  

Blackman's sister Sharon Sherwood said that Cheryl has the unique ability to connect with anyone. She reminisced over one time that Cheryl had an unusual interaction with the Hells Angels

"The Hells Angels came in to town," she said. "And one of the lead guys was a very large man with a very large belly. And Cheryl walks right up to him, and grabs a hold of him, and starts rubbing his belly. And she just said, 'Welcome to Rehoboth.' And he laughed, thankfully. He laughed."

Sherwood said that this story epitomized her sister's desire to love everyone. 

"She just can make anyone smile," she said. "And that's the charm. There's true genuine warmth and love in the heart."

As for Blackman, she had a message for all her friends and supporters. 

"Thank you for doing everything you're doing," she said. "Love you all."

In 2011 Blackman won the Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award, and in 2012, she was selected for the Local Jefferson Award. To see WBOC's profile on Blackman from 2012, you can click here.

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