Introducing Our Cardinal

Carol's Cardinal

The new logo chosen to represent The Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of CNY (The Baldwin Fund) has personal meaning to the family. It was selected after a cardinal continued to visit Carol’s daughter Beth for months after her mother’s passing. (And still to this day visits daily.) 

The cardinal has multiple colors speckled throughout its body - not the typical red often seen in paintings of the bird. Still Beth was drawn to the multi-colored bird and knew this was the new logo.

The artwork was chosen as the fund’s logo before the Baldwin Fund committed to raising $50 million to create a designated National Cancer Institute FOR ALL CANCERS at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, New York. 

This new endeavor only reinforced the significance of the logo - and specifically the bird whose body’s feathers are painted in shades that represent a spectrum of colors associated with all cancers.

Carol left a legacy we can all be a part of; we can be Carol’s Cardinals together and support the mission she began. “Together We Will Find A Cure.” We will help others and share love and compassion with those in need.

The Story

On May 26, 2022, my mother, Carol Baldwin, passed into eternity at the age of 92 years old. It still does not feel real to say.

Two days after my mother’s passing, we were preparing to pick up a new puppy that she and my brother Stephen had picked out for me as a surprise. As we were building the crate, a Red Cardinal appeared head first into the window over and over. I was surprised at the number of times this cardinal slammed into the window, clearly wanting to communicate something.

For six months, the cardinal had done this at the same window, sunrise and sunset each day. Finding this a little odd, I headed to a bird store and began researching why this bird was doing this. They said it might be that it sees its reflection, but I was feeling this was something more.

These visits continued consistently from May 2022, after my mother’s passing, until November 2022.

Whether I was inside my house or even sitting on the front porch working to carry on my mother’s legacy, the cardinal was banging on the window, jumping from tree to tree, gathering berries from one of my trees to bring to Its nest and mate. It did not matter if I was on the phone talking away; the singing, chirping, and jumping from tree to tree all around me continued. This cardinal would be seen and heard!

While researching birds, they say some birds may know who their human friends are, as they are able to recognize people’s faces and differentiate between human voices.

I began to take photos each day and videos documenting this cardinal, whose presence quickly became a treat each day. I would send these to my six children, 16 grandchildren, and my brothers Alec and Stephen. They were all fascinated that this bird visited each day.

I was also told by my brother Alec that I was taping it wrong. He’d say you need to film it from different angles; otherwise, it looks like you’re not catching the bird daily. I am not a director, so I chuckled at his coaching, but he is the expert, so I tried different camera angles and locations each visit. I'm not sure Hollywood will be calling any time soon 😉 but it is fun learning new things!

Early mornings, between 3:30 and 4:00 a.m., I always get up with my mom to take care of any needs she might have. This habit has not left me, and with a puppy, I used this time to make sure there were no accidents in the crate. As soon as I would get the puppy all settled again, I would hear the banging on the window. So I continued filming because it was all so surreal to me. There was a purpose for this!

One of the last times I saw the bird was in the late Fall of 2022. I was on the porch working, and it was breezy and hard to keep all the papers in place. As you can imagine, I began to talk out loud to myself in frustration. I watched the cardinal from the corner of my eye go very quickly and enter the Beech tree; then I heard the banging at the upstairs window, then back down and landing on the railing of the porch at the opposite end of where I was sitting. I was very still and quiet at this point, so I could watch what this bird was going to do next. Then it flew to the top of the first chair, the second chair, and the third and was coming closer to me! As it was coming closer, I said “Good morning” and repeated that twice very softly because I began to think this bird knew me or my voice. It then began flying around the glass light fixture like a hummingbird and started to turn back toward the tree. I said a soft goodbye, and the bird hopped from chair to chair, back to the tree.

Winter came, and I didn’t see the cardinal again. I began to think that might be the last time; maybe it was just a time to help me mourn and say goodbye.

Then May returned, and so did “my” bird. I was unable to sleep, so I sat on the porch from 2:00 a.m. until about 3:30 a.m. after finally deciding to go back to bed at about 4 a.m. I was lying in my bed with the window open and the fresh air coming in. All of a sudden, I heard, once again, there she was, my cardinal. She sang loudly, letting me know she was back.

It’s said that cardinals appear when angels are near, and that the cardinal represents loved ones who have passed away. They are seen as messengers from Heaven who deliver words of love and comfort during difficult times.

Carol the Cardinal, is singing to me and letting me know she is back and with me.

My mother has left a legacy we can all be a part of; we can be Carol’s Cardinals here and support the mission she began. “Together We Will Find A Cure.” We will help others and share love and compassion with those in need.