I’m a big, big fan of Boyz II Men, so imagine my excitement when they stopped by the American Cancer Society booth at this year’s Essence Music Festival to say hello. *Insert muffled squeal here.* Boyz II Men joined our movement for More Birthdays and even recorded their rendition of “Happy Birthday” (watch them here), so to see those guys in person was a big deal for me. Of course, the crowd went crazy when they stopped by, but I managed to get a picture while trying not to get trampled on!
The Essence Music Festival is always a great experience, but more so a great opportunity for us at the American Cancer Society to be there to share information, resources, and most importantly, establish a presence in the African American community. It’s our way of saying “hey, we’re here, and we want to help you celebrate more birthdays because you deserve a world with less cancer and more birthdays too.” One gentleman came up to me after listening to our session on faith, food and fitness and asked me what else he needed to do to celebrate more birthdays, because he has a family history of cancer. It was rewarding to be able to share information about our recommended cancer screenings, especially for people with a family history of cancer.
I was also amazed by the number of people who came to our More Birthdays booth and shared that their family member or loved one was dealing with cancer or passed away from the disease. We even had a few attendees tell us (excitedly) how much they love Relay for Life. I realized that cancer touches many more people than I imagined. And these people who are touched by cancer, they come from different ethnic backgrounds too. Clearly, cancer affects us all, and we all hope for a world with less cancer and more birthdays soon.
I had a wonderful time, but now I have to exercise a little harder. I ate too much of that good New Orleans cuisine!
For good measure, here’s a picture of me and the “Minister of Fun” at the Essence Music Festival :-)