Remembering Leroy Sievers

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Ted Koppel and Leroy Sievers in Iraq (Read the story, here).

Ted Koppel and Leroy Sievers in Iraq (Read the story, here). Source: ABC News hide caption

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It's a shame to take up your time and energy asking you to read our blog, when you could be reading Leroy Sievers' blog. The cancer that he chronicled in such an immediate and generous way finally took his life on Friday. We were so lucky that the tremendous relationships that he shared with so many people in this building extended to us — we were able to have him on the show more than once, most recently this past July.

Blogging is an oddly self-involved thing — it can seem like a one-way communication tool — but Leroy Sievers was such a natural writer and communicator, it really seemed like he was waiting for an answer — for your answer.

We've talked a lot about his journalistic legacy, and the great community that the My Cancer blog became — but he also did something quite extraordinary with blogging, that we sometimes pass over. He revealed himself. Not in the way that bloggers sometimes do now — oversharing, performing — but in a way that celebrated the mixed blessings of being human — the glorious network of joy, grief, love, pleasure, and pain that grows more furiously than any disease. We'll miss him.



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I heard Mr. Sievers' for the first time shortly after my husban died from cancer. I cried for what he was going through, what his family was going through, and it helped me cry for what I was going through.

Sent by Wanda Garrett | 2:50 PM | 8-18-2008

This is more of a question than a comment. In the last few years we have seen so many well known people make the media with blogs, videos, books about their cancer or other medical challenges. Yet I think of those in my own community who live quiet simple lives with some disease of some kind, and these people inspire me so much. Makes me wonder how many people who live vicariously threw someone famous, ever step out and look where they live for a real life changing experience. I speak from experience and admit I can idetify better with someone locally since their way of life is more like mine. I have little in common with well off people..

Sent by MotherLodeBeth | 3:51 PM | 8-18-2008

My best friend battled cancer for seven years, going into remission for three years and then finding another lump in her thigh which finally was the one that did it. She, like Leroy tried everything the doctors could offer, including stem cell replacement. My beloved aunt also succumbed to cancer but refused all treatment and survived for two years and suffered very little until the very end. Listening to Leroy Seivers this past nearly three years has been very helpful to me in dealing with these deaths of dearly loved friend and aunt. Somehow, I still beleived that he would somehow beat the enemy. Friday he, "Nodded at death and said it's time." I cried and still am crying for him and his courage. Thank you for your program today with Ted Koppel and all the great programs and coverage of world events.

Sent by Carol Reed | 3:53 PM | 8-18-2008


I'm sorry you haven't been able to join in Leroy's blog. If you had you would know that the essence of Leroy and Cancer World is that when all is said and done, we are one and the same. There is no difference, there's no money involved. There's no caste system where the 'haves' are any different than the 'have nots.' Life is a mysterious adventure and, hopefully, we remember to relish in that adventure--however small or large at the moment.

I'm sorry for your smallness. Please come out and share with the rest of the world.

Leroy was an incredible human being who selflessly gave of himself at a time when most of us would have hunkered down with the people we love. He is to be honored. He was a special man and he will be missed.

Sent by Kathy B. from Michigan | 8:34 PM | 8-18-2008

"My Cancer" was the truest picture of dealing with cancer that I have ever encountered. I was drawn like a moth to the flame, from the beginning. My husband had recovered from colorectal cancer when the blog started and it was such an affirmation of what really happens to the patient and the lifegivers. Leory was terrific to start the discussion, but it was also the responses that made the whole thing so magical. Over and over, I realized that these were no ordinary people and they taught me so much.

Sent by N. Holmes | 11:40 PM | 8-18-2008

I am in the final days of planning mine and my community's second Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society. I have been fretting and worrying about all the little details required to make an event run smoothly and feeling sorry for myself and my stress.I'm so ashamed. My friend in "Relay", Kim, is the one who alerted me to Leroy's story. Thank you Kim, for keeping me centered and focused on the "why". Love, Traci

Sent by T. Wojdula | 6:35 PM | 8-19-2008

I became aware of Mr. Sievers' blog after losing my partner to colon cancer in 2006. His clear, unflinching commentary on his cancer gave enormous insights into what was happening in our lives, a world away from his, but connected by this shared experience, "Cancer World." Since then and the painful, empty months afterwards, I was tremendously grateful for what Mr. Sievers shared. It was a gift from the most unexpected place. Strangers can touch one another's lives in the most profound ways. I hope that those who were closest to him find peace.

Sent by L. Rivali | 4:51 PM | 8-20-2008

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