"The most noble of all causes is the alleviation of human suffering."
|Thanks to your support of City of Hope, comedian and writer Sean Kent is also a cancer survivor.|
"People say to me, 'I just don't know how I'd deal with it if I got cancer.' And I say 'Well, dude, I didn't know how to deal with it either.'"
That's the kind of blunt talk you would expect from comedy writer and performer Sean Kent. Except this time, there's no punchline.
"When you have cancer," Sean says, "you learn to become accustomed to what is, not what you would like things to be."
It's a lesson he learned the hard way, through two serious bouts with Stage III Hodgkin's Disease. But thanks to your support of City of Hope, Sean is not only healthy and on tour again, he's standing alongside you in support of innovative research and compassionate patient care.
Everyone around me suffered
Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Sean Kent came to Hollywood in 1994 to pursue stand-up comedy and acting. By 2002, he was working as a writer on the Fox Sports Net program "The Best Damn Sports Show Period."
"I started having bumps on my neck, lots of little tumors," he remembers. "But I didn't have a health care plan, so I just kept working. It was only when I couldn't finish a jog that I used to be able to do easily that I finally went to a doctor."
That's when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Disease.
“I thought, ‘I'm dead.’"
Sean went quickly into chemotherapy treatment. But because he lacked a health care plan, he continued to work a full schedule at his writing job -- sometimes as much as 60 hours a week. After three brutal months of this, doctors determined his cancer was in remission.
Shortly afterward, Sean auditioned, and was hired, for the first season of NBC's reality program "Last Comic Standing." He filmed the show wearing a cowboy hat to cover his hair, which was growing back unevenly following his chemo treatment.
But before the program could even air, Sean's cancer returned. Like so many recurrences, it was even stronger this time.
"It was like a bomb going off in my life," Sean recalls. "I had to watch everyone around me, everyone who cared for me, suffer because of my cancer. It was a little, private hell. "
Not an easy patient
Sean was already familiar with City of Hope, since a friend of his had been treated
|Comedian Sean Kent is back on the road thanks to you.|
here too. So when his doctors sent him to us, he knew he'd receive quality care.
But that didn't make his ordeal any easier. Sean ended up requiring a bone-marrow transplant (BMT), high doses of chemotherapy and a long stay in our hospital. They were tough times.
"You know you're at your low point when you're lying in a hospital bed getting chemo and you're watching episodes of a reality show you've already been kicked off of," he says.
He jokes about it now, but the reality wasn't funny at all.
"I was not an easy patient," he admits. "I don't want to say I went through this with any kind of grace. I was a [messed]-up neurotic even before this, and I wasn't any better going through the stress of cancer.
"When you look in a cancer patient's eyes, you see so many things. Post-traumatic stress, survivorship issues. I lived my life in three-month increments. I never made any long-term plans."
But eventually, after nine months of treatment, Sean made a full recovery. Today, he's back on the road with a stand-up act, a new CD and a blog he updates regularly.
And this spring, he was the keynote speaker at City of Hope's 31st annual BMT Reunion.
Just a normal person
"The BMT Reunion is emotional and draining for me," Sean admits. "I'm just a normal person. There's nothing special about me. But I never thought I'd live to see four Reunions."
Despite his insistence that he's no hero, Sean is happy to be part of City of Hope's Speakers Bureau. As he wrote on his blog last year, "I can't possibly think of a better way to spend my evening. Anything to help City of Hope."
"I encourage people to support City of Hope, but ask them to do it for the right reason," he told HopeCONNECTION. "Don't do it because of me. Do it to support the idea of cancer research and treatment. The most noble of all causes is the alleviation of human suffering.
"At the end of my act, I always tell the audience, 'This 20 minutes of fun and sharing would not have happened without you and people like you who support cancer research.
"'There's no finer place to put your money.'"
The generosity shown by you and your friends and neighbors has made City of Hope a world leader in bone-marrow transplant research and care for more than three decades. Thank you for doing so much to help end cancer.