I must admit, I shed a few tears today when I read this story. I know you’re asking “what kind of a dork cries over Tony Snow?” Me, apparently. But let me explain why…
I’m a big Tony Snow fan. I’ve watched him on TV and listened to him on the radio for years. And I’ve always kind of had a ‘married lady’ crush on him . And finally…dream come true…I got to meet him last month.
As president-elect of the United Ostomy Associations of America, I was privileged to be invited to attend the Great Comebacks Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. ( www.greatcomebacks.com ) Great Comebacks is sponsored by Convatec and The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and is a national award honoring someone who’s made a Great Comeback from ostomy surgery. ( Many of my friends are current or past honorees!) It was a fun trip…I got to lobby on Capitol Hill and meet some CCFA and ConvaTec brass, and the past and present honorees got a tour of the White House and an impromtu meeting with George W. (Marvin, the younger Bush brother, has ulcerative colitis and an ileostomy) But one of the highlights of the week for me was meeting Tony Snow.
Many people know of Tony’s battle with colon cancer a few years ago. But most people don’t know that he battled ulcerative colitis for years before that, and his IBD eventually led to his colon cancer. He even had an ileostomy for 9 months while recovering from his colon resection to treat the cancer.
Tony was this year’s Great Comebacks honorary award recipient. During the reception before the awards dinner, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Tony. He was so personable and welcoming. He asked me all about my involvement with UOAA and CCFA. I, of course, was tongue tied. But we got to shake hands and take a picture together…it was a ‘pinch me’ moment!
While accepting his award, he talked about his faith and all the people who had helped him in his journey to make a “comeback”. His wife and 3 young kids were in the audience, beaming. And at that moment, to me, he was just Tony…another survivor, a fighter, a conqueror. And I had all the more respect for him.
I watched with interest last week as news circulated that he was having surgery to investigate a ‘mass’ in his abdomen. I prayed that it wasn’t cancer, for so many reasons. I have dear friends that are colon cancer survivors. I’m sure everytime they hear of another survivor’s recoccurence, it’s a blow to their spirit. I hurt for Tony’s family and friends and the fear they must have been experiencing. And I hurt for Tony, not the celebrity, but the man who had fought so hard ( like so many of the people I know) to remain in the game of life.
So when I read this morning that it was indeed cancer, I cried. I can’t totally explain why…other than that my heart hurt..for my friends who are survivors, for Tony’s family, and for the man who was once an icon to me but is now so much more than that.