Dear Olivia,

I’d jump at a chance to meet you.  Ever since I saw Grease when I was fourteen, I’ve love you.  And that movie was filmed long before you were diagnosed with breast cancer.  I’ve survived cancer too.  I was diagnosed when I was less than sixteen months old with neuroblastoma, one of the most common childhood cancers.  I know your daughter lost one of her childhood friends to cancer.  I am so sorry about that.  I am so happy that you are still here today, still singing your heart out.  You don’t need me to tell you you have a gift, because you already know.  I cannot tell you how much I love your “Grace and Gratitude Renewed” album.  It was released the summer after I had my fourth back surgery, and when I heard the  bonus song, “Help me to Heal,” I completely broke down.  That song is yours, of course, but it’s also mine, as well as every survivor out there.  And it doesn’t have to be cancer they’ve struggled with either.

I may not remember anything about my cancer battle, but I’m still living with what happened afterwards, and will for the rest of my life.  If you saw me in person, you would automatically think I have cerebral palsy, but I wasn’t born this way.  Two months before my third birthday, and before the end of my chemotherapy protocol. I came down with a viral infection that damaged my brain stem, leaving me physically disabled (though I like the Glee word, “handicappable”), hearing loss, a speech impairment, and as I grew, I developed scoliosis.  My tumor was on my right kidney, attached to the adrenal gland, and they only radiated the bottom half of my spine.

When I was recovering from my fourth (and hopefully last) spinal fusion, I watched Xanadu for the very first time.  And I fell in love with it, particularly with your song, “Magic.  I love, love, love the lyrics.  It’s very versatile – it could be sung from a muse’s perspective (as it was), a guardian angel’s perspective, or even from God’s.  “Magic” is my absolute favorite song EVER.  Seriously.  My mom has told me that back when I was sick, I loved Michael Jackson and his song “Thriller” and when the nurses came in to take my vitals or whatever, I would cry and cry and cry until she turned MJ on and then and only then, I would go back to sleep.  I often wish it had been your voice instead that comforted me.  I wish I could say that I had been a fan of yours all of my life, but I guess I’ll have to settle for the rest of my life.  I wish I could see you in live in concert, but more than that, I wish I could meet you.  A minute with you would be enough, if I got a hug from you and if you looked into my eyes and smiled, because you’d recognized a kindred spirit when you saw one.

XOXO Love and light…


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