You may have heard of folks who donate ponytails to charity organizations that help people who’ve lost their hair to radiation, chemotherapy, or alopecia. I admire these people, and kudos to you if you’re one of them. But this story, well, it earned my tears. It’s about a cancer survivor, a wonderful friend of mine, blessed both in beating the disease and having her hair grow back, who then donated her lush locks to charity. The whole story can be found on her blog, “Hope. Love, Run.“, but I’ve included a copy here of the letter she wrote to the charity that accompanied her donation. Mazel Tov to Juliana!
I went to sleep last night with my ears ringing and a smile on my face. The ringing ears came from listening to a musician I just met rock out at The Bell House in Brooklyn with his amazing wife and—to my great surprise—my buddy Jon Quinn, the Brooklyn fitness guru who runs Captain Quinn’s Boot Camp. The smile was a consequence of serendipity, wonderful news about Jonah’s battle with melanoma, and the band’s impassioned performance. And there were tears, not at bedtime but earlier in the evening, when a perceived wrong was set right. Before I jump into that, however, I’ve got to tell you about the serendipitous happenings that brought me to the performance.
Survivorship is on my mind after staying up late last night to watch the first Chilean miner emerge from what he and his 32 coworkers described simply as hell. It had been 70 days since a rock collapse first trapped them in a 600 square foot room more than half-a-mile underground. Many did not expect them to make it—at the time of writing, there are 22 to go, along with four rescuers—but if everything continues to go well, they will all soon be safe on top and see themselves as survivors. What strikes me is that those facing cancer start at the same place—the emergency begins with the disaster of a diagnosis—but you never get the crystal clear answer you’re looking for. That you’re a survivor.
After learning a few days ago that I’d managed to break a bone in my right foot, I decided to do something that’s relatively new to me in regard to personal health. I asked for help.
The morning kayaking adventure around Orcas Island that I wrote about a few days ago ended as they always do there—hauling the kayak out of the water, across a rocky beach, and up a set of stairs to the lawn in front of my parents’ house. My right foot was sore when I reached the shore—the base of my big toe has been bothering me on and off ever since I started boot camp a month ago—but by the time I got the boat up to the house, the pain was so intense that I found it difficult to walk.
I was on my laptop this morning working on my film project—Letters from Leningrad—when a Skype message popped up on my screen. “You’re missing SA kicking France’s ass!”, it read. The contact’s name, “John”, appeared above the message, and it took me a minute—and a quick search through my contacts—to realize who it was.