Sandy Bass is home.
It was an ordeal to get her here by air ambulance Monday night. But her daughter wanted her to be in a warm and nurturing environment, in a room with a view.
Bass is resting at the home of her dear friends, Abe and Charliemae Grant, overlooking the marshes of Hilton Head Island.
Her ordeal started during a mission trip to Tanzania -- her fifth to Africa with the island's St. Luke's Church. While there, the energetic woman who will soon be 62 began to feel poorly. Malaria was suspected, and indeed she had a touch of it. But when she got back to Washington, D.C., on July 21, she was taken to a hospital, where it was discovered she has inoperable, terminal cancer throughout her body.
Bass has been director of the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Achievement School for preschoolers since it opened in 1992. She developed a curriculum that instills study habits, good behavior, good nutrition and a solid religious and moral foundation.
On her business card is Proverbs 22:6: "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it."
Every morning in devotionals, her uniformed scholars recite a list of 25 expectations: "No fighting. No shoving. Feet belong on the floor. ..." They practice public speaking and singing, delivering special joy to nursing homes at Christmas.
Like so many others, Bass fell in love with the island on her first visit. She moved from Philadelphia 22 years ago. She taught special-needs children and remains their strong advocate, especially for children with autism.
Her daughter, Allyson Reaves, is being forced to exercise the poise that helped make her Miss Boston while earning her master's degree at Boston University. She lives in Canada but happened to be in Washington when her mother got sick. So was U.S. Army chaplain Bill Green, a native islander and son of Mt. Calvary pillar Mary Green.
"It's one miracle after another," said the Rev. Greg Kronz of St. Luke's.
The family will need more miracles. Bass has no health insurance. She has some coverage as a member of the mission team, which helped get her home. Allyson is telling her mother's story at CaringBridge.org; friends set up a website, www.SupportSandyBass.com; others are planning a fundraiser at 5 p.m. Aug. 14 at Kelly's Tavern, 11-B Buckingham Plantation Drive in Bluffton.
Allyson said the plane trip home was delayed by a storm in Washington. When they were finally cleared to take off for the Lowcountry, she looked over her shoulder and saw a beautiful rainbow.
Follow columnist David Lauderdale at twitter.com/ThatsLauderdale.