You may be asking, "Why a picture of pianos this year, and what does that have to do with cancer and fundraising for the Jimmy Fund?"
The black piano in the picture belonged to my former student Vic. Vic came to me many years ago through a group piano class that I taught. He enjoyed it thoroughly and continued to re-enroll. Ever humble, he had a knack for the instrument, along with the understanding and coordination from page to keyboard. When his company sent him to work in Australia, he brought along his piano books and even bought himself a keyboard so he could take lessons. We lost touch for a little while after that, so imagine my delight when one day, out of the blue, he called and said he was back and can he come back for lessons?
We quickly arranged for it, this time as one-on-one lessons, and he was back in the saddle, fully enjoying every lesson. We continued to share many laughs as we forged through music together, the blues being his favorite.
Later on, he told me some concerning news, that he had been diagnosed with cancer. And as time went on, we tried to accommodate his schedule, now with appointments and labs, trips into Boston, and hospital stays, and tried to arrange for lesson times when he would be feeling better, not worse, after his chemo treatments. He always downplayed his condition and we would focus on what brought him joy for that moment of time - piano and playing music.
It was early last spring when I received the sad message from his dear sweet wife Pati that he had lost his battle.
And late this summer, she was downsizing and asked if we would like his piano?
Through some logistics, we moved the piano that had been in the studio, and replaced it with Vic's beautiful instrument. It sits now in the exact same position he would have taken his lessons each week. And each week, his piano touches more than 35 students and families in my studio alone as students take their lessons on it (there are others who also use it).
Like all of us would have done, Vic looked for ways to help him through his fight with cancer. He wanted every minute he could get with his family, friends, his joys and passions. Sadly, his cancer ultimately did not respond enough to the treatments available. But that doesn't mean there's no hope. Like his piano, which continues to delight those who play (and teach!) on it, research is ongoing to find new therapies for this disease.
Along with my older sister, aunties and uncles, dear family friends like Uncle I-Hung, and so many others whose memories we always keep alive, we rely on research to further the understanding to help control and defeat this disease.
There is good news, though, as there are more people surviving cancer now than ever before, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. That is something to celebrate. However, it could not have been done without generous support. And it is this support towards research and care that means so much to people like Vic and his family, so they can have more time together.
Cancer does not discriminate.
Thank you in advance for any support you may be able to give.