Kate (kaygigi) wrote in randymac,

Big Dianne is ill! Please help if you can...

Hello everyone,

Please take a moment to read the below message from Theresa Carroll
regarding former RMWC security guard Dianne Branch, who is currently
being treated for non-Hodgkin' s lymphoma at the UVA hospital in
Charlottesville. If anyone is looking for a place to redirect their
usual RMWC donation, this would be a GREAT way to do so! Please
contact me offlist at dr_elb_99 at yahoo dot com for more

Elizabeth-Latta Brother
RMWC '91 

I want to share with the RMWC community the latest fallout from the
KGB legacy at RMWC. Some of you may know that about 2 years ago KGB
fired most of the security staff at RMWC, including Dianne Branch,
affectionately known to many as "Big Dianne." Dianne had worked at
RMWC 20+ years when she was let go. Dianne has since found it
difficult to keep a job. She worked for a while at one of the
manufacturing firms in Amherst County, but it downsized and she was
too new to keep her job. She hasn't had a permanent job in a number
of months. This past December, Dianne's mother died and then in
February, Dianne was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin' s lymphoma. By the
time she was diagnosed, her health insurance with Cobra had run out.
Dianne has been receiving chemotherapy at U.Va. since the spring. She
has finished one round and will begin her second round in mid-August.
Dianne was planning to start as a school bus driver this month, which
would provide her not only a salary to pay off the health care bills
she has accured thus far, but also provide her with continuing health
insurance. However, due to the fact that she will be receiving
chemotherapy treatment until the end of September, she will have to
put off working until then.

Having this loss of health insurance not only impacts Dianne's
expenses, but she mentioned to me during her chemo treatment this
past week that she's been told it may prevent her from getting
coverage in the future if her cancer returns.

I have gone to sit with Dianne for two of her treatments this summer.
She is her usual happy self. She calls everyone there ma'am and sir.
She keeps a smile on her face The treatments don't seem to upset her.
She drives up from Madison Heights and then home again every two
weeks. The only thing that has changed since I first met her twenty
years ago is that she has lost her long, gray pony tail!! She looks
completely different without that hair!

We've enjoyed reminescing about the students and faculty and staff
that we considered family when we worked together. She keeps in touch
with Miss Peggy and Bessie Snead checked in on her when she heard she
was ill. I think Dianne thought she'd be at RMWC until she retired.
She truly loved the place and cared about the people there.

The U.Va. medical center is working with Dianne to find a way to pay
off her medical bills, but as you can imagine, they will be quite
large. I got to thinking that maybe some of you who have decided not
to send your gifts to RMWC may consider helping out Dianne. I'm not
really sure how to go about making that happen, but if enough folks
were interested, I'd be happy to find out how we could go about
helping her. In the meantime, if you'd like to send her a card to
wish her well, her address is: 162 Mountainview Drive, Madison
Heights, VA 24572.

Hope you are all well!

Theresa Carroll
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It feels almost CRIMINAL to me that Dianne was ever fired from R-MWC. My god, the admissions tours that woman would give on weekends when the admissions office was closed! She knew people's boyfriends on sight! She was such a big part of that place. Thanks for the update--I'm glad to know about this and would like to help.
For real! She was so, intimidating. I have a very clear memory of my first year, and there were some drunk boys wandering up the Wright Hall stairs. They would periodically go down one of the halls, then come scooting out laughing and falling over each other, then climb another level. So we on 4th Wright called security, and Big Diane came straight away, and I swear this part is true, picked up all five of them by their collars and threw them out the window! No, ok, but she did scare the shit out of them and held them in the AA office on the first floor until the girl they were staying with came and fetched them, with a big warning not to let them loose on campus ever again. She could scare away the evil people, but with a wink and a small smile, let us get away with campus pranks, so long as we didn't go too wild.

::sigh:: The most I can do is send a card and pass on the info as much as possible.
I dated the same W&L guy for a couple years and he'd come by campus regularly. Dianne knew him well, and knew a lot of the guys my friends dated.

I think she had a good sense of when someone was going to be a troublemaker and had to GO and when someone was just being a bit of an ass but would settle down with a warning.

And I'd totally, totally want Dianne there if something bad went down. She had the gentlest, kindest personality, but I'll bet she could kick some SERIOUS butt when needed.
OH Yes! She was so fierce! At first she actually really intimidated me because she just always had the eye in the back of her head going and one of my first experiences with her was when she was telling some rowdy boys off. It was pretty amazing. When I was an RA she was an invaluable resource and even helped me get a bird out of the 2nd floor Moore's bathroom. I still haven't quite figured out how it got there. ... But anyway, she pretty much rocks and I'm going to have to see if there is anyway I can re-arrange finances to contribute.
I know this was posted a while ago-- any update?