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The curtain has been pulled back and the BRCA gene is out of the closet as are quite a few women who are now revealing they’ve also had the same life-saving double mastectomy as Angelina Jolie.
I now join the sisterhood she created with her bold editorial in the NY Times; I had my double mastectomy just four weeks ago.
Disclosure of something as personal as having had both breasts removed is quite a daunting decision for many reasons, least of which is fear of being seen as “less of a woman,” as even a world-class sex siren felt obligated to note. Read the rest of this entry »
Louis J. Rosner was my friend, my mentor, my teacher, and occasionally my doctor. And for 20 years, I was privileged to be his co-author.
I always viewed him as the Albert Schweitzer of Southern California, a great medical missionary pioneering a new land populated with Jaguars and Ferraris instead of elephants and giraffes.
Like Schweitzer, he believed the purpose of human life is to show compassion and the will to help others, and I quote, “each one of us can do a little to bring some portion of misery to an end.”
Louis Rosner did a lot.
Although he rarely spoke about his own challenges, a diagnosis of polio at age 21 forced Louis Rosner to trade his dream of a baseball career for a time out in an iron lung. He would never again walk without the aid of leg braces. While those braces could easily identify him, they would never define him. Read the rest of this entry »
PATERNO ISN’T THE ONLY ONE WHO FAILED TO PROTECT THE CHILDREN
UPDATE July 24, 2012: The National Collegiate Athletic Association’s $60 million penalty for Penn State’s football program has underscored the severity of the crimes committed by Jerry Sandusky, the assistant coach found guilty on 45 counts of sexual abuse of minors.
In addition, the NCAA officially stripped legendary coach Joe Paterno of his victories over the past decade, denouncing his role in a system-wide cover-up of the sex crimes which including including a rape of one boy in the team shower that was reported directly to him by an eyewitness.
I’m with NCAA executive chairman and Oregon State President Ed Ray who said yesterday, “The fundamental story of this horrific chapter should focus on the innocent children and the powerful people who let them down.”
Joe Paterno isn’t the only one who failed to protect the children, so let’s not stop our public repudiation with the one guy who’s already dead. Yes the president of Penn State was pressured to resign as was the chairman of Penn State’s Board of Trustees, but it shouldn’t stop there.
It is now time to hold accountable Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett who was attorney general during at least six of the 15 years Sandusky was molesting children and, as governor, was automatically given a seat on the Penn State Board of Trustees.
BRINGING NEW MEANING TO “AT-RISK YOUTH”
Public records show that Tom Corbett, during his campaigns for attorney general and governor, received $647,481.21 in political donations from present and former board members of The Second Mile, the non-profit charity for at-risk youth founded and run by Jerry Sandusky.
What’s more, despite personal knowledge of the Sandusky child molestation investigations, Gov. Corbett approved a $3 million state grant to The Second Mile. The grant has been put on hold, but Gov. Corbett should now address possible conflicts of interest, influence peddling and, at best, his failure to lead.
Nik Wallenda and his 58-year-old mother, Delilah, on 10-story high wire in San Juan, Puerto Rico on June 4, 2011. Photo by Shelley Ross
I just witnessed the most extraordinary event: not just for its daredevil -"ishness" or athletic feat of balancing on a wire strung between two hotels ten stories above the ground in the light wind and rain.
Eulogy Delivered June 20, 2012, Golders Green Memorial Park, London, U.K.*note from the author: I have never before posted a public blog on my personal family; I hope you agree the inspirational story of the life and death of my brother-in-law, Ray, is a worthy exception.
To be born a Simone (nee Garcia) is a rare privilege. The rest of us, we all quickly learn, do not simply befriend or even marry someone in this family. Rather, one gets inducted into this clan who, like modern Musketeers, are all for one and one for all.
I learned that right away during my introduction to Dinah, the family’s legendary matriarch. She ended our first ever conversation about David with: “Just wait ‘til you meet my other son, Ray-mond.”
Well, Dinah, no one can ever say you didn’t prepare me. And right through to his last days at the North London Hospice, my sweet, sweet brother–in-law continued what I’ve been calling Ray Simone’s Great Adventure.
Somehow, defying the doctors’ timetable, Ray fought his way out of the fog of the war, the one he’d been waging against end stage liver disease. From what might have been his final sleep, he suddenly sat up and asked for a roast beef sandwich, an ice-cold beer and a cell phone.
Then for hours, which turned into days, Ray entertained us with stories, Monty Python impressions and his wry humor, some of it at my expense I’m extremely proud to say. I believe Ray mustered his strength not just to tell, but to show the ones he loved it will be okay; we are supposed to laugh again.
Dinah was right. Ray was amazing in so many ways, not the least his courage and humanity and grace. I will confirm that in the 22 years Ray has been my brother-in-law, I never once heard him feel sorry for himself or ever limit himself because of the obstacles he faced… like being legally blind. In fact, I routinely forgot he was blind and I bet a lot of people did as well. Now just think about that for a moment: you fall, you get up and you have detached retinas; you are going blind and you’re only four years old. Read the rest of this entry »
March 19, 2055, Broadway: the Belasco Theater in New York and it is opening night for the previews of “I Will Always Love You,” the story of the last days in the life of Whitney Houston which takes place, almost in its entirety in the Hilton Hotel suite where she was found dead just hours before her anticipated performance at a pre-Grammy party…
Whoops, it is March 19, 2012 and the Belasco Theater in New York is debuting the preview of End of the Rainbow, the story of last brilliant weeks in the life of Judy Garland. It takes place almost in its entirety in a hotel suite in London where, with fits and starts, she delivers what will tragically be her final comeback tour.
If you are still the slightest bit curious how our fragile artists finally break, you don’t have to wait another 44 years. You will find many of the answers in the gut-wrenching performance of Tracie Bennett who stars as Judy Garland. (As I overheard between my own muffled sobs, “Leading actresses across New York are going to be killing themselves after seeing this.”) Read the rest of this entry »
When I heard the first reports of Whitney Houston’s death at age 48, just hours before she was set to perform at the legendary Clive Davis Grammy Eve party, I was neither shocked, nor stunned nor saddened in contrast to the mounting numbers of television reporters and fans gathering at the Hilton Hotel where her lifeless body was found in her fourth-floor bathtub. I had already grieved the loss of Whitney Houston for more than a decade.
I have now spent what remains of “Grammy weekend” wondering if all the people around Whitney Houston throughout the second half of her life were enablers, unwitting or not. Or did they help extend her life throughout these final turbulent years. Read the rest of this entry »