September 11, 2012

I cannot thank Taylor Swift enough for the song “Ronan.” I think what Taylor did with the song is an amazing and beautiful thing. Taylor is an amazing person, who used her talent to raise money and awareness for a great cause. I had the fortune of getting to know Ronan, his mom Maya and their family some time ago, they were an inspiration to me and are one of the reasons I have worked diligently since then to help other children with childhood cancer. It has become a mission of mine and I have gladly helped raise millions of dollars for childhood cancer, not only with the Eric Trump Foundation, St Judes Children’s Hospital but also my own Life Rocks Foundation.

It is also, without a doubt, one of the main reasons I want to go back to fight on Celebrity Apprentice again. If they can fight so bravely, knowing they may lose the battle, I sure as hell can go back- win or lose to at least help contribute money and awareness to give these kids and people with diabetes a fighting chance. It is also the reason on October 9th, I will open the Bret Michaels Music and Hospitality Room at St Joseph Barrows, which will have the Ronan & Ava Playroom as part of the suite.

I may not be politically correct here and my friends know I have very little filter, but in the words of my friend Maya, Ronan’s mother, “Fu*k Cancer.”
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To read Maya’s blog go to:
To listen to and download the song “Ronan” visit:
To read Ava’s story visit:

I would like to thank my fans for your support and understanding over the past couple of months. I am one who works hard to get things done, at the same time….. life happens. Dealing with some very personal issues as well as the loss of Ava, I wanted to take some time to process everything before I put a new column out. Here is the new issue and I am looking forward to sharing more with you here at Music for the Soul.

It is days like today, the anniversary of 9/11 that make you reflect on life, how fragile and precious it is. Most of us know that, I know it personally, for reasons that are both joyous and sorrowful. Being diagnosed with Type I diabetes at the age of 6; I have always dealt with health issues. It is never further away than my blood testing monitor and insulin syringes. It is a daily reminder that I must take care of myself, both mentally as well as physically through this daily struggle with a horrific disease. But even when you do all the right things, it can still all go wrong.

In 2010, I suffered a series of health scares. The first was an emergency appendectomy, just before I was supposed to go on stage in San Antonio. Following that episode, I was forced to go off the road to recover from the surgery. It was that twist of fate that oddly enough probably saved my life. As I was home recuperating, sitting on my couch I suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage to my brain. In the events that followed from going to the emergency room and hearing the diagnosis, there was a moment that made everything come into focus. That moment was when the doctor looked at me, asked if I had any children and suggested that they come to the hospital. When I asked if I was going to die, he replied, “You’re in a lot of trouble.” At that moment it wasn’t work or shows I was thinking about it was my family and friends. If I had been on the road, late at night, in the middle of nowhere when I had that hemorrhage, I believe I would not have survived.

I have lost many people that I loved and cared about through the years. My relatives like my Grandma Sychak who was a diabetic along with other friends that passed away from diabetes. There is Kimo, who I wrote about in “Something To Believe In,” who passed much too soon, soldiers that I had gotten to know that lost their lives defending our country, Rockstar Ronan and then there is Ava.

I first met Ava while I was attending my daughter Jorja’s All Star Fun Run at school. I was immediately taken with her spirit and courage. Ava had neuroblastoma, a form of cancer for which there is no cure. I decided I wanted to raise awareness of Ava’s condition and their family’s situation, doing what I could to help. It doesn’t matter what things I did, it is what she did that matters. She fought bravely and she kept her spirit.

On May 28, 2012 I was playing a show in Hickory, NC where I received the key to the city. It was also the night that Ava lost her battle. Life is bittersweet and at times it just plain sucks. I later said, and will share with you here that it is moments like this that I search to find balance in my soul. There is a prayer that I live by and it is, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” I have to admit I am still searching for the wisdom to know the difference.

There are so many things in life that can affect our spirit, but I have found that when I help those around me it makes me feel better. I think about Ronan and Ava and how they could have had so much anger and self-pity, instead they chose to be positive and determined. We could all take a lesson from them.

So I leave you by saying to cherish every moment, make every day count and live it as though it was your last. Take care of those around you and help where you can, stay positive and remember that life is indeed precious, fragile and at times tough but it is all about staying in the fight.

Today, this column is in memory of Ava, Ronan and those who lost their lives on 9/11.