LL Cool J opens up about how cancer has touched his family
LL’s wife, Simone Smith, was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer, in 2004, and had to undergo a 15-hour operation to have her right tibia removed and replaced with her left fibula, a steel rod, screws, nails and micro veins from her other leg, but when doctors explained the procedure, her now 51-year-old husband instantly offered to donate the bone from his own limb instead because he thought it would be “stronger.”
Smith told “Entertainment Tonight,” “I was working out with my trainer, walking, talking, not paying no mind, walked into the wastebasket and it hit that little knot. That sent me to the doctor, and that’s when I found out I had a chondrosarcoma stage three tumor in my right tibia bone.
“I remember sitting in the doctor’s office, and he [LL Cool J] wanted to give his fibula bone … because he felt that his fibula bone would be bigger and stronger.”
The “Doin It” hitmaker – whose real name is James Todd Smith — made sure that any visitors coming to see his wife post-surgery were composed and full of “positive energy.”
Smith — who is in remission — said: “Todd would tell them … ‘You can’t go in there crying.’ “
Her husband added: “Because you need positive energy. I learned that you got to be grateful, and you can’t take things for granted. I learned that left turns could come, right turns could come.
“You can’t always see around every corner, but you just have to have faith and you have to have gratitude, you got to roll with humility, you got to believe. I believe in God strongly, and you got to believe in yourself too.”
The couple has teamed up with the American Cancer Society for a new campaign called “Beat Cancer Like a Boss,” which features Mary J. Blige, Jhene Aiko, Remy Ma and Salt-N-Pepa giving encouraging messages to those affected by cancer, and the singer said he was inspired to be part of the initiative because of his wife’s strength.
He said: “The campaign is ‘Beat Cancer Like a Boss,’ and when it comes to that, she’s definitely been a boss. I think that so many people, if you can inspire others to learn more, dream more, do more, that’s being a boss and that’s why we did this campaign for the American Cancer Society and for Simone Smith, her jewelry, which a portion of all the proceeds [will] go to the ACS.”