DiversityNursing Blog

'Bald So Hard': Cancer patient channels Jay-Z in funny rap video

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Wed, Sep 17, 2014 @ 01:18 PM

By Alice Gomstyn

How do you pass the time when cancer treatment means you're largely confined to your hospital room for weeks on end?

Tom Gillin, a 19-year-old college student, chose a less-than-obvious choice: He filmed a funny rap video channeling Jay-Z via the cancer ward.


"Some of the other videos I've seen about cancer patients are somewhat depressing," said Gillin, who was diagnosed with the pediatric cancer acute myeloid leukemia in April. "We wanted to flip the switch and do something that was the opposite of that."

Gillin teamed with several staffers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to create "Bald So Hard." The video's title refers to Gillin's chemotherapy-related hair loss but is also a play on the phrase "ball so hard" featured prominently in a hit song by Jay-Z and Kanye West. The song is parodied in Gillin's video, as is Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind."

The rollicking video — promoted on Twitter with the hashtag #BaldSoHard — is full of swagger. Gillin is seen mouthing lyrics such as "bald so hard my head got shiny" while dancing with his oncologist, playing basketball and even steering a "boat," a cardboard cutout made by hospital art therapist Abbien Crowley. (The actual rap was performed, mostly off camera, by University of Pennsylvania medical student David Blitzer.)

But Gillin didn't shy away from the fatigue and boredom confronting hospital cancer patients. It took him and his hospital pals some two months to complete the three-minute video since chemotherapy treatments often left him too weak to shoot.

The song's lyrics, written by Gillin and CHOP music therapist Mike Mahoney, manage to make light of it: "They gave me sleeping meds all day and I was dozing/When I got up I was so bored that I watched 'Frozen.'"

Gillin said his main motivation for making the video was to raise awareness of pediatric cancer, though he'd also appreciate it if Jay-Z — one of the teen's favorite rappers — took note of the unusual homage and paid the hospital a visit.

But don't expect Gillin to use the video to launch his own hip hop career. "I'm not that musically inclined," he insists.

Instead, he's looking forward to completing his final round of chemotherapy in a couple of weeks and ultimately returning to student life at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he's studying civil engineering.

For now, he's enjoying the happy reactions to his video, which has generated more than 20,000 views on YouTube since it debuted late last month. The Jigga Man himself hasn't yet weighed in but plenty of others say they love Gillin's jam, with one YouTube user dubbing it "best medicine in the world."

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Source: http://www.today.com

Topics: feel good story, cancer patient, Jay-Z, rap video, cancer, hospital, treatment

Boston Marathon Bombing Victim Marries His Nurse

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 @ 01:26 PM

By DENISE LAVOIE Associated Press

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If something good could come out of the Boston Marathon bombing, James Costello and Krista D'Agostino seem to have found it.

Sixteen months after the attack killed three people and injured more than 260, including Costello, he married D'Agostino, the nurse who helped him recover. The couple exchanged vows Saturday at the Hyatt Regency Boston in front of about 160 guests.

A photograph of Costello with his clothes ripped to shreds and parts of his body burned became one of the most recognized images of the 2013 attack. He met D'Agostino, a nurse at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, while he was recovering from multiple surgeries for shrapnel injuries and serious burns that required pig skin grafts on his right arm and right leg.

After the couple became engaged, Costello said he believed he was involved in the tragedy in order to meet D'Agostino, whom he described as his best friend and the love of his life.

"One thing that she hates that I always say is I'm actually glad I got blown up," Costello said on the "Today" show in December. "I wish everyone else didn't have to, but I don't think I would have ever met her if I didn't."

Wedding planner Rachael Gross said she and the other vendors involved in the wedding donated their services.

"They are the most gracious, generous, kind, ... loving couple," Gross said. "They believe that they were meant to meet."

The wedding ceremony was held outdoors on the hotel's third-floor terrace, with blue and white hydrangeas all around. The reception was held in the hotel's grand ballroom.

"It was more like a classic Nantucket style, but without a literal nautical theme," Gross said.

Costello, of Malden, was gathered with friends near the marathon finish line, watching for another friend who was running when two bombs exploded within seconds of each another. Three of Costello's friends lost a leg, while other friends suffered burns and shrapnel injuries.

During his two-week stay at Massachusetts General Hospital, Costello was among patients who met President Barack Obama. He was later transferred to Spaulding.

Costello and D'Agostino, both 31, are honeymooning in Hawaii.

Source: http://abcnews.go.com

Topics: marriage, feel good story, nurse, patient, Boston Marathon

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