Updated: Rehoboth Beach Icon Cheryl Blackman Passes Away - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Updated: Rehoboth Beach Icon Cheryl Blackman Passes Away

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Cheryl Blackman was 53-years-old (Source: Blackman's family) Cheryl Blackman was 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.- Rehoboth Beach area is mourning the loss of Cheryl Blackman, a well-known member of the community who died early Wednesday morning after a battle with stage 4 breast cancer. She was 53. 

Blackman drew acclaim for her philanthropic efforts, as well as her tendency to give hugs on the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk. She became a local icon of sorts, and would walk around the downtown area in costumes, varying from Elves to Leprechauns, asking for donations for charities. Blackman's family has estimated that she raised more than $210,000 for charities, including approximately $180,000 for KINfolk. She also helped raise money for various organizations including the Rehoboth-Dewey Chamber of Commerce and the Rehoboth Beach Fire Department. Blackman even spent some time in the movies, when she played Miss Piggy's stunt double in "The Muppets Take Manhattan."  

Blackman's contributions to the community did not go unnoticed. In 2011 she won the Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award, and in 2012, she was selected for a local Jefferson Award. To see WBOC's profile on Blackman from 2012, you can click here.

Late last month, WBOC reported how Mali Belcamino and some of her co-workers at Grotto Pizza on Rehoboth Avenue, decided to sponsor a tree for Blackman in the company's annual Parade of Trees, where companies decorate Christmas trees for local charities, that are on display in the restaurant. Customers can "vote" on the trees with monetary donations to the tree's charity of choice. The Parade of Trees runs until Jan. 1, and the tree that collects the most donations wins an extra $250 for their charity from Grotto themselves.

Blackman used to work at Grotto as well. Her tree's donations are going to Delaware Hospice, the organization that took care of her during her cancer fight. The funds will benefit everyone that receives services from this organization.

Blackman's tree is decorated with photos from her life, including one with Vice President Biden and some in her festive costumes. 

In July, when Blackman was moved to hospice, people in Rehoboth Beach sent her hundreds of cards and even held a parade for her. On Tuesday night she was slated to be the honorary grand marshal in the City of Rehoboth Beach's Christmas parade. Unfortunately, the parade was canceled due to the weather. 

A celebration of life for Blackman will be held 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 21 at Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach, DE 19971. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Tunnell Cancer Center and Delaware Hospice. Emails may be sent to misspiggycheryl@gmail.com

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