Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Cancer Claims Life of “My Cancer” Blogger

I don’t cry. I firmly believe in the man credo of keeping those tears deep in the ducts where they belong, except of course when something truly miraculous happens – like the birth of your child or the Chicago Cubs finally winning a World Series (it will happen).

But on Saturday I happened by npr.org and found devastating news. Leroy Sievers, a former journalist and producer of ABC News’ “Nightline,” had died after battling cancer for several years.

Sievers, whose blog “My Cancer” on npr.org chronicled his battle against the disease five days a week, had created a tight-knit community of people living with the disease, their friends and family, and anyone who’s ever known someone with cancer.

As I scrolled through the hundreds of comments offering condolences to Sievers’ wife – and to each other – I felt the tears well up. I’d never met Sievers but felt as if I’d known him for years. His honest, forthright discussion about what it was like to have cancer were often touching, always insightful and full of hope – not just for himself but for everyone who read the blog. It was a must-read for anyone affected by the disease.

I was surprised by the emotional reaction his death inflicted on me. But it was his ability to connect with readers, to use his words to relate to the experience of living with cancer that made him so unique.

His voice will be missed. But for those of us fortunate enough to have followed him on his journey through “Cancer World,” he will certainly not be forgotten.

--Scott Samples
Public Information Coordinator

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