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A Song of Hope Through Cancer

Emma McIntyre by way of Getty Images

When I was A years previous my mom taught me tips on how to play the piano. I keep in mind my fingers flippantly positioned above the shiny, intimidating black and white keys — unaware that music was the important thing to my future. But my mom coached me to really feel snug and protected on the planet of melodies and notes. It was the beginning of an unshakeable bond between us. No matter what occurred, music would all the time be there.

In 2014, my mom was recognized with stage IV non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The yr that adopted was one of the crucial troublesome occasions for my household. No one, no household, is ever ready to cope with the emotional journey forward that comes with most cancers. Sadness, anger, and confusion turn into a part of your actuality… and you may’t assist however ask “Why?”

A reminiscence that all the time stands out to me is a specific day my mom was not doing nicely throughout her remedy. I was driving to the hospital, feeling anxious and scared. To cope, I turned to the one acquainted factor that all the time soothed me: music. I began buzzing a melody to regain my composure earlier than I arrived on the hospital. When I walked into my mother’s room, I knew I needed to share the tune together with her. So I sat there, singing subsequent to her mattress and making an attempt to piece collectively the track I felt inside me. I wanted to discover a method to ease our ache.

My mother’s face instantly lit up. Her smile was greater than I had seen in months. I’ll always remember the best way she checked out me with pleasure… She beloved my music a lot. And she inspired me to report it. This easy, self-therapeutic second resulted within the creation of my first single, “Cry Cry Cry,” which appeared on my debut solo album. The lyrics are so essential to me, underscoring this private time in my life the place having religion is what obtained me via each day. I hope the phrases in my music encourage individuals to do the identical — reminding anybody listening that it is okay to cry just a little if you’re ready for change to return.

Music, by any means, is just not a remedy for most cancers, however I can truthfully say that it’s what saved our lives in a particular approach. It offered a way of peace as I struggled with the devastating ripple impact that most cancers typically has on household, buddies, and family members of these troubled with the illness. For my mother, music was a supply of true consolation throughout her remedy — making days full of frustration and ache a bit bit lighter. As I share this story, it comes with nice aid and happiness to say that my mother is most cancers free and in full remission.

My mother all the time stated that if she ever recovered from most cancers, she would take the stage with me and play some funk music. I could not be extra excited that she has been capable of maintain that promise. Today, with ROAM headphones and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) because the presenters for the SXSW showcase, we’re performing our music collectively.

This second is feasible due to SU2C’s tireless efforts to rally and unite the most cancers group with sufferers, survivors, docs, scientists, and the newest know-how in collaboration, to finish most cancers. Because of its ahead-considering strategy to preventing this illness, my mother and I are collectively on stage immediately doing one thing we each love.

One of an important issues I discovered by means of our journey is that having ardour is what retains one grounded — whether or not that zeal is for faith, portray, meditation, boxing, knitting, yoga, or writing… it does not matter. It’s about having an outlet in life that’s therapeutic and soothes your soul if you name on it.

Throughout my life, I have been extremely blessed. I was fortunate sufficient to have Rose Stone from Sly and the Family Stone and Billy Preston as household pals, subtly influencing my music as I grew up. I had the chance to tour with Josh Groban and John Legend, and I’ve labored with legendary artists like Prince and the late Michael Jackson. But, nothing compares to having my mother with me on stage right now. As I carry out at SXSW, it is about greater than my music, it is about letting everybody battling most cancers know they don’t seem to be alone.

I by no means imagined the primary notice my mom taught me to play would grow to be a supply of therapeutic for each of us in the future. But it did. It is my hope that our story serves as an inspiring instance of what it means to seek out mild within the darkness, and the way once we all unite and get up collectively, most cancers does not stand an opportunity. Learn about all the methods you’ll be able to stand as much as most cancers at su2c.org.

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