“ Stay positive, keep fighting, seek information and inspiration from others who’ve survived the same diagnosis, and just know that whatever you have, it is treatable and beatable! And, to paraphrase Albert Camus, just remember that in the depth of winter, you will learn that there is inside you an invincible summer.
Jamie Reno is the “lyrical mAss Kicker”. He is the longtime San Diego correspondent for Newsweek magazine, for which he has covered the 9/11 investigation, the war in Iraq, the last four presidential campaigns, and many other major international news stories. He has just published the book Hope Begins in the Dark: 50 Lymphoma Survivors Tell Their Exclusive Life Stories .
Jamie has also written for such publications as the New York Times, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Men’s Journal, TV Guide, People, Entertainment Weekly, Premiere, Inside Sports, Los Angeles Times Syndicate, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Chicago Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego Magazine and USA Today. Jamie has won more than 60 Society of Professional Journalist and Press Club awards, including the prestigious Best of Show award four times.
In his “other life,” Jamie is an acclaimed singer-songwriter and guitarist with a national record deal who recently released “Survivors’ Songs,” a national lymphoma cancer awareness and all-star music project that features a dozen music legends including Peter Frampton, the Beach Boys Family, and members of the Eagles, Chicago, the Allman Brothers and Steely Dan playing with Jamie on his songs. Jamie was kind enough to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer a few questions for us.
mK: What/ when was your diagnosis?
JR: I was diagnosed with stage IV follicular/mixed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in November 1996.
mK: Who is your hero/heroes/ who do you look up to?
JR: My mom and dad.
mK: Wow, mom and dad seems to be a very common answer. So, what motivates you?
JR: Many, many things. Just being alive, my beautiful daughter and my beautiful wife, my career, sports, music, art, beauty, the ocean, the mountains, love, life.
mK: When was the first time you felt like yourself?
JR: You mean after I was diagnosed with cancer, or in general? I don’t understand this question. I’ve always felt like myself.
mK: Fair enough. What makes you laugh, cry, angry?
JR: Many things make me laugh: Monty Python, George Carlin, corny jokes. What makes me cry? watching Cinema Paradiso, cutting onions., that commercial on TV right now about animal shelters with Sarah Mclachlan. What makes me angry? Oncologists who aren’t aware of the latest cancer treatments, child abuse, cruelty, war, starvation, greed, intolerance, and when my Chargers lose.
mK: Ok, Jamie, what is your guilty pleasure?
JR: Far too many to list: almost all of 70’s A.M. radio hits, Ruffles potato chips, chick flicks.
mK: Hahaha… we won’t touch the chick flick thing. Finish this sentence… my dream job would be ____. Because…
JR: My dream job would be the one I have. Because this is in fact the job I’ve dreamed of having for so many years.
mK: What do you like to do in your spare time?
JR: Hang out with my family, play my guitar and write new songs, play tennis, play basketball, go to the beach, travel, see movies, see concerts, see plays, explore, read, or just chill.
mK: What are you doing now?
JR: I’m answering these strange questions. 🙂
mK: Hahaha. Thanks for clarifying that. We heard you are a big sports fan. What would you say is your greatest sports moment?
JR: As an athlete, I guess it would be either playing on the same 9th grade tennis team as Andre Agassi (years before him, that is), leading the league in scoring on my college intramural basketball team, or winning the san diego county championship in the san diego adult men’s baseball league as the starting left fielder for Marston’s Mets. As a fan, it would have to be any and every time the Iowa Hawkeyes win and every time the Chargers beat the Raiders.
mK: Very cool! Any advice for people that get daunting diagnoses?
JR: Stay positive, keep fighting, seek information and inspiration from others who’ve survived the same diagnosis, and just know that whatever you have, it is treatable and beatable! And, to paraphrase Albert Camus, just remember that in the depth of winter, you will learn that there is inside you an invincible summer.
mK: Tell us something people probably didn’t know… anything.
JR: I’m a singer-songwriter-guitarist who can’t read music.
mK: What!!! Any parting words for all the mAss Kickers?
JR: That hope is the best of all things. Don’t ever lose it!
Thanks for the interview Jamie. In summary, Jamie Reno… inspirational writer, “chick-flick aficionado”, multi-sport athlete, singer-songwriter-guitarist-who can’t read music, and all around nice guy. For more information on the book go to http://www.hopebeginsinthedark.com or http://www.jamiereno.com