The Magnificent Tony Snow
I am honored to call Tony Snow friend. We began our relationship several years ago when he called one day to speak about bioethical issues. Our friendship warmed when I appeared on his syndicated radio program, and has continued, his time permitting, after his appointment as the Press Secretary to the President of the United States.
Many people wonder what famous people are like behind the scenes. All I can say is that the Tony Snow you see on television is Tony Snow--affable, principled, deeply caring, with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye regardless of the circumstances.
I bring this up because Tony recently sat down with NBC's David Gregory--with whom he has sparred often at press conferences--to discuss the challenging experience of living with cancer. It is a moving and important conversation. Tony speaks of "the art of being sick" and shows that cancer does not mean the end of life's goodness. Indeed, if anything Tony seems to be living more vividly than ever before. I have seen this in other people going through difficult times as well: Serious illness can concentrate one's attention on the precious gift of life.
Under Gregory's gentle probing, Tony takes us on a tour of what "having cancer" is like, the joys, the hope, the worry, the fear. He is emotional about his family and how very much they give him the strength to continue on, and the fortitude to take the "Drano" chemotherapy and to simply and fully live.
I believe that Tony's service to his country will one day be seen as a mere prelude to his service to suffering humanity. Press secretaries come and go. But it is the rare man who can take a very tough break and transform it into an opportunity to help others. This interview is a part of that larger venture. Tony's humanity really shines through here--as does Gregory's. At this level of human concern, politics ceases to matter.
Labels: Tony Snow. Living With Cancer