On May 23, 1990, our lives changed forever. Colette was given an 80 percent chance of survival, but the odds changed when her cancer metastasized. She lived briefly, only five years. But she lived long enough to experience what she had always felt and believed as a child — something that is intuitive to all children — that animals and humans share a precious habitat, Earth. Nature had gone awry, and we had a mission to protect and defend life against the threat of man-made chemicals, many of which would cause illness and life-threatening disease.
Two weeks before she died in 1991, Colette wrote a short story called, “Inga Binga and Whitepaw on an Easter Day.” We sat on her bed, propped up against her favorite stuffed animals and pillows, and she recited, word for word, her dream for what she described as “the best day ever”: a world in which her loving animals, cats, birds, horses, dogs, chickens, zebras, monkeys all lived in harmony with nature — not against it. At a very early age Colette developed a respect for life and living things, and, as a child stricken with cancer, she sensed her own vulnerability.
Even while undergoing chemo and losing all of her hair, she refused to wear a hat. Instead, she insisted on leading “babe walks” in the park she dearly loved. She wanted to teach other children how to protect the environment. This was her mission.
In our darkest hours, days before she passed, we made a promise that we would keep her memory alive. Like her favorite color, we would make the word “green” and children’s environmental health a global educational platform for all parents worldwide.
On April 21, 1991, on the eve of Earth Day, we held her in our arms for the last time. But when morning came, her spirit took hold.