That was some story Maimah Karmo, a long-ago war refugee from Liberia, told Monday to a group that supports services for women at Memorial Hospital.
Karmo came to the U.S. as a teen, worked hard and achieved the dream: great job, loving mate, nice things. But in 2006, at age 32, she found a lump in a breast.
Soon, she told WHAM, Women' Health at Memorial, she was sick, gaunt, broke, unattached and out of work. Today she's cancer-free, joyful and serving young women affected by breast through her Tigerlily Foundation.
Karmo believes the No. 1 question for humans to ask is, "What am I here to do?"
Whatever the answer, she urged the audience to savor and live life like the survivor of a terminal disease. Cancer or no, she said, we're not here very long at all.
PLAYS FOR PEANUTS: Did you catch MetLife's sweet, nostalgic Super Bowl commercial that had Charles Schulz' "Peanuts" gang drawn onto the playing field by Schroeder's playing of the National Anthem?
The actual fingers on the piano keys are those of Santa Rosa native Neal Kirkwood, who's been performing, arranging and teaching in New York for more than 30 years.
Though channeling Schroeder for the commercial was a solo gig, Kirkwood has made music often with Santa Rosa High buddy Jeff Carney, long the principal bassist with the N.Y. Pops Orchestra.
ALSO PLAYING BASS is Ben McKee, the '03 graduate of El Molino High in Forestville who's integral to the band Imagine Dragons.
Ben, a graduate also of the esteemed Berklee School of Music, and the band just performed on Saturday Night Live after scoring the Grammy for Best Rock Performance for their worldwide hit single, "Radioactive."
That song overtook Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" to become the best-selling rock song in digital history.
Small wonder we don't see much of Ben in and around Forestville anymore.
SPEAKING OF MUSIC, violinist Dick Bright and his orchestra will provide the dance beat Friday night at the Lawyers With Heart/Winterfest Ball at Windsor's Mary Agatha Furth Center.
It's a benefit for Legal Aid of Sonoma County. In Monday's story about its work to keep families out of danger and in a home, I mistakenly said the bash is Saturday.
WHAT WAS MISSING from the big benefit crab feed last Saturday night at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds?
Some of the 1,300 guests walked into Grace Pavilion and gasped at the absence of the gigantic, inflated Dungeness that normally hangs from the ceiling for the Great Sonoma Crab - Wine Fest.
The L.A. firm that each year rents the thing to the Farm Bureau messed up the order this time. Folks doing set-up opened the box that arrived Friday to find an enormous, blow-up King Crab.
King Crab? Google it. Not only is it not a local Dungeness, it's not really a crab.
Chris Smith is at 521-5211 and firstname.lastname@example.org.