If you wouldn’t mind, please offer up some prayers and/or positive vibrations for Dan Fogelberg. The 53-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist — whose music has enthralled this writer for more than three decades — recently confirmed that he is fighting advanced prostate cancer. The diagnosis, delivered two months ago, was cited as the reason behind the cancellation of Fogelberg’s fall 2004 solo acoustic tour of the US East Coast.
The operative question: How is Dan doing?
Don’t expect trustworthy answers from the press. Media reports have announced that the cancer has spread to his bones, that he is undergoing “experimental treatment” at Harvard Medical Center. One story even stated that the artist was “dying,” noting that studies show that only 25 percent of men diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer survive five years and only 10 percent make it to the decade mark. Fogelberg’s web site attempts to cut through the misinformation and to calm fans’ fears:
“First, let me assure all my fans and friends that ‘the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.’ I am in no way receiving any experimental treatment at Harvard Medical. My early treatments have proven very effective, so much so that my wife and I have been able to enjoy our annual summer vacation in Maine. We will be returning to treatment on the west coast in the fall.”
Perhaps the press should give Fogelberg and his family — and particularly his (in Dan’s words) “elderly mother” — a break. If the publicity-shy performer wants to share the details, he will. If not, that is his right. A positive attitude is a powerful tool in combatting cancer, in helping someone — like a phoenix — to rise from the flames. Stories reporting that one is “dying” can’t help someone feel positivity.
If you want to do something positive and productive, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society and to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. And spread the word: Prostate cancer is serious business. Every 18 minutes, a man dies from the disease. I urge you to implore your male friends and loved ones to visit their doctors for a checkup — early detection can make a huge difference.
As for Dan Fogelberg, the most helpful thing we can do is to send up healing thoughts for him and his family. The man has given the world — and this writer — many magical musical moments over the past 32 years. It would be awesome to have him around — and healthy — for many, many more.