This is personal.
It is a struggle to write. When you care about someone who gets this bad news, you just simply don't know what to do. We are taught to fix things. To make it all better. Work out harder, add more weight use proper form.
But when someone you care about is diagnosed with cancer, none of that applies.
So what do you do?
Ric's lung cancer diagnosis in December of 2016 wasn't exactly the Christmas miracle he was looking for.
Ric Smith is an amazingly talented musician and a pioneer on the Irish Rock Fiddle. He has been playing Irish fiddle for more than 20 years, long before any of us ever heard of Flogin' Molly! Ric took on a second act and career as a classical violist after graduating from Louisiana State University. He played with the New Orleans Philharmonic and the Baton Rouge Symphony. After moving back to Ohio and settling in Columbus, this self-described "Lima-Boy" started playing with the Irish group Knot Fibbin'. He has gone on to play with many other regional and national acts including Homeland and Two 2 Many .
When he is not playing his instruments (violin, viola, guitar, mandolin), writing or arranging music, he works as a luthier at The Loft Violin Shop.
Ric took on his cancer diagnosis just like he takes on his music.... fast, furious and with reckless abandon. No pauses, no rests, no downbeat ... just attacking each measure full out. He and his wife Donna and his two daughters and their families made a formidable team in their fight against this disease.
Eight months after his lung cancer diagnosis, Ric was declared in remission and his lungs show they were cleared of the pesky tumors.
Just a few months later, after some odd symptoms he received a new diagnosis: Brain Cancer.
Not an unheard of outcome of lung cancer, Ric tackled this diagnosis with the same reckless abandon and was making progress.
Surgery, Radiation, and more rounds of Chemo all tackled with energy and commitment to live this life to its fullest.
Smiling all the while, Ric enlists his family for support. He is open with his work colleagues. And while he does not broadcast his struggles, he doesn't play hide and seek either. He lets us in and allows us to be with him... even though we feel helpless.
But our helplessness is not his to own. Ric (and any cancer warrior) has enough to worry about without carrying our burdens of anger, frustration and helplessness. That's why he won't let any of us feel sorry for him. That's ours to carry, not his.
Life is Struggle
So why do bad things happen to good people?
The laws of nature, physics, etc are immutable. No matter what we do, how hard we try or how hard we work, those laws take over .
"We may not ever understand why we suffer or be able to control the forces that cause our suffering, but we can have a lot to say about what suffering does to us, and what sort of people we become because of it. Pain makes some people bitter and envious. It makes others sensitive and compassionate. It is the result, not the cause, of pain that makes some experiences of pain meaningful and others empty and destructive." (Rabbi Harold Kushner: When Bad Things Happen to Good People)
Ric has a tremendous system of support and draws on each as needed. Loving wife (Donna), children, grandchildren and an extended family that includes relatives but also a vast family tree of musicians and friends of whom he has touched and impacted.
So This is Why We Fight For Air
We, all of us, owe it to Ric to fight each day. If we are not fighting for life or breathe, perhaps we are fighting for health, for justice, for peace, for love, for something.
Embrace health and celebrate our successes, however large or small. Tackle each setback with the resolve to do something. To work hard, persevere and succeed.
April 17th, 614Fitness will join forces with The American Lung Association for the annual Fight for Air Climb.
Donate, support or at least be mindful of each breathe as we work together for lung health.