I'm singing in this concert to celebrate survivors and to remember those who fought cancer.
People like my mother-in-law, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor back in 2002 and fought as long as she could. The doctors said she would live a maximum of three months from her diagnosis, and she lived for three months and one week to show her strength.
People like my wife's grandfather, one of the most humble and brilliant people I knew and who taught me how strength does not always need to be shown through words, but through actions and humility.
People like me. Ten years ago, I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma. At the time, there were so many questions and doubts, including if I would survive. The one thing that remained was music.
The music helped make the chemo treatments, the complications and the side effects bearable, and helped me deal with them. It was shortly after my cancer treatment that I also began dating my wife, a middle school music teacher, and I knew music would always be key to my life.
For many years, though, I refused to get back into singing because I was always afraid of what had happened to my voice since chemo. It wasn't until a friend convinced me to check out the Naperville Men's Glee Club that I got over my fear and began singing again.
Since then, I have sung again in concerts, celebrated the birth of my son, and celebrated five years of marriage. This group allows for those survivors, those caregivers, those affected by cancer, and anyone who has ever been affected by cancer to come together and show, just as the poem states, "What Cancer Cannot Do."
What Cancer Cannot Do
Cancer is so limited ...
It cannot cripple love.
It cannot shatter hope.
It cannot corrode faith.
It cannot eat away peace.
It cannot destroy confidence.
It cannot kill friendship.
It cannot shut out memories.
It cannot silence courage.
It cannot reduce eternal life.
It cannot quench the Spirit.
Singing, especially with this group, shows how people from many different backgrounds and ranges can come together in unity and harmony. So here I sing, 10 years later, and through all the pain, loss, and joy, music is what has created a better life for me.
That is why I sing.