And What Followed...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Midnight of Hope - City of Hope

I've had quite a few requests to repost the poem I read last month at the City of Hope BMT Celebration of Life Event. Even with the 6000+ people in attendance, it was like a sharing in a wonderful family reunion. Thank you everyone again for making it such an unforgettable day.

This photo is just a small fraction of all the survivors who attended!

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The Midnight of Hope

Spent last New Year’s Eve at City of Hope
Alone in my room, didn’t know how I’d cope
Thinking of the all the champagne, the confetti, the cheers
Of others feasting and singing to welcome New Year’s

Friends came to visit but left before ten
I didn’t want friends to miss the parties and joy offered to them
Around the world people danced in the streets to celebrate the night
And here I was tethered, alone, fighting for my life

Broken and sobbing in my bed
Uncertainty and fear swirling in my head
Brooding about the fun at midnight I’d miss
Realizing… I had no one to kiss

Hearing the medical clicks from my IV pole
I remember….. I began to cry into my pillow
Holding on to Hope and not wanting to believe
That I probably wouldn’t see next New Year’s Eve

But now it’s a year later and I’m cancer-free
This year Times Square is waiting for me
I have City of Hope doctors and nurses to thank for this
And this year, I look forward to that sweet kiss

With my family and friends, we shall dance to celebrate this life
A second chance to live and laugh after so much strife
My dearest one who ever stood by my side
We’ll raise our glasses and sing to auld lang syne


But thinking again, I realize I am wrong
"January 1st" only sings a small part of the song
For if Midnight can bring Hope, about Life Anew,
Of Joy, of Freedom and of Gratitude

If in the coldest of winter, at the darkest of night
We can still find in ourselves, our own Ball of Light
Then I don’t need Dick Clark or a Fireworks display
For the anniversary of my marrow transplant is my New Year’s Day


Saturday, May 17, 2008

BrittiCares (In Honor of Francis Rex)

Today would have been my brother, Francis Rex's 34th Birthday. In his memory I participated in the annual BrittiCares "Smile for Life" 5K in Pacific Palisades.

BrittiCares was founded by Britti Henderson, a beautiful and bright and talented girl who enjoyed life to the fullest. At the age of ten, she was diagnosed with bone cancer. During her treatment and remission, she and her parents founded the non-profit organization dedicated to "embracing children diagnosed with cancer through the power of love." Sadly, a year later the cancer returned, this time in the form of Leukemia. Britti was only 13 years old when she passed away but her spirit and legacy live on in her BrittiCares foundation.

I met Britti's mother at the Pan-African Film Festival Marrow Drive for Jerome Williams a few months ago. She is an amazing woman. We talked about Britti and Francis Rex and the joys and sorrows of their memories. Imagine the shock and delight we both shared when it was discovered that the BrittiCare's annual 5K was scheduled on the same day as my brother's birthday! We had one of those "It was meant to be" moments.

Today my friend Frances M joined me in the Run/Walk. I pinned Rex's photo on my shirt and carried his photo with me.

Chris Tucker, most famous for his role opposite Jackie Chan in the "Rush Hour" movies, stayed all day to show his support. We had a chance to meet before kicking off the 5K with a "Survivor's Lap", honoring all cancer survivor's in attendance. Chris Tucker supports efforts to sign up more minorities onto the marrow registry, especially black Americans of African, Caribbean and mixed descent.

It was an inspiring day. Even the Goodyear blimp showed up and sent greetings down to all the participants on its huge electronic marquee.

The icing on the cake was being able to meet David Joyner, the guy who is THE guy who played Barney the purple dinosaur! And yes, "Barney" supports the cancer fight as well! That's him in the picture on the lower right. (That's also him as "Hip Hop Harry" in the picture in the upper right, doing the Survivor's lap with Chris Tucker and me.)

Britti will always be remembered as a brave and remarkable girl. To a great extent, I believe it is because she has the most loving and inspiring parents the world has ever seen.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008


I am honored to be profiled this week on the mAssKickers' website.

mAssKickers is dedicated to support young adult cancer patients between the ages of 16 and 39. Founded by brain tumor survivor Eric Galvez, mAssKickers provides information, support and a community for the newly diagnosed.