A group of friends and relatives gathered in Frederiksted this weekend to pay tribute to businesswoman and spiritual mentor Joann Jones Moorhead, a cancer survivor who ultimately succumbed to the disease on July 7 at the age of 73.
Moorhead lived many years on St. Croix. She owned the One of a Kind Kulcha shop in Frederiksted. She taught yoga and tai chi at her studio and held spiritual gatherings. She gave artists a place to display and sell their creations and was a caring friend available 24/7 according to some of her friends who attended the Saturday event at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts.
Diane Hampton, leader of the Breast Cancer Project and organizer of the two-day events, said Moorhead loved her garden, plants, music and cats.
“She had a very sacred space on this end,” Hampton said.
Cassandra Dunn said Moorhead was the first person she met when she moved to St. Croix in 1974 and described her as one of a kind, a good friend and a good listener.
During the afternoon program Saturday, attendees learned about two well-known cancer victims. They viewed a movie about the tragic story of Henrietta Lacks, whose cancer cells revolutionized medical research on the disease without her knowledge or permission.
Then, Dr. Angelo Galiber and Dr. Dante Galiber paid tribute and spoke about Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall Jr. who devoted his life to the study of cancer and especially how it impacts men and women in African American communities. Both Drs. Galiber studied with and under Leffall at Howard University College of Medicine where Leffall served 25 years as department chairman. He died in May of this year.
After the doctors spoke, the solemn occasion became livelier, with jazz music by Eddie Russell and the Band and refreshments. At sunset, the group marched with a police escort down Strand Street to The Fred Hotel. Hampton and others offered group toasts and a helium dove-shaped balloon was released into the evening sky.
The group reconvened at Moorhead’s studio and garden before having dinner and enjoying a reading of her poetry. An evening prayer was followed by a lantern vigil at the Frederiksted Pier. The evening ended with more jazz by the Eddie Russell Band.
And even on Sunday, Moorhead’s life was celebrated by her friends and family with brunch at her favorite restaurant, Cibone.
Hampton and the V. I. Breast Cancer Project support victims in many ways. In 2007, Hampton and Moorhead met when Moorhead was alone and needed to travel to St. Thomas for surgery. Hampton accompanied her then and the organization supported her thereafter.
Tags: Virgin Islands, USVI, Frederiksted, The Fred, The Breast Cancer Project, Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts, Eddie Russell, Strand Street, Prayer, Henrietta Lacks, Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr., Dr. Angelo Galiber, Dr. Dante Galiber, cancer,