This Thursday, the eighth annual Songs of Hope event, benefitting non-profit comprehensive cancer center City of Hope, will take place at the House of Rock in Santa Monica. There, in a palatial estate where last week Christina Aguilera debuted her new album, music business insiders will gather, gossip, drink, listen to tunes by Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, hear speeches by co-chairs Doug Davis and David Renzer (the former, Clive Davis’ son and a top music attorney, the latter a longtime publishing executive), and bid on auction items like the sheet music to “Lay Lady Lay” autographed by Bob Dylan and VIP tickets to a Paul McCartney concert. There will be talk of much-needed funding and additional research to battle America’s No. 2 killer and perhaps some signs of progress — never enough and always, it seems, too little too late. Undoubtedly, the word “hope” will be uttered so many times that it may start to lose its impact, though in a way, so few letters hardly do justice to its grandiosity as a concept.
Indeed, on the opposite coast, one of the industry’s own is losing hers. Meredith Israel Thomas, a former publicity and marketing executive at RCA Records who worked with the likes of Dave Matthews Band and Kings of Leon in the early 2000s, was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago. She’s defied all odds by long outliving her original prognosis while at the same time raising a daughter, Niomi, now five, and later marrying the love of her life, Gary Thomas, a hotelier. Now, she only has a few weeks left to live, and has been documenting nearly the entire journey.
It seems it’s Meredith’s way to do things out of order, like have a kid and then get hitched, but after undergoing what was an extraordinarily regimented step-by-step process — intense chemotherapy and a series of experimental treatments — the end of the road has arrived. Meredith said as much: “The liver won and I will die.”
Meredith has detailed nearly every turn of her journey in a journal that she’s maintained fastidiously on Caringbridge.org. With some 200,000 visits and cross-posts on Facebook, it didn’t take long for many of her former music business colleagues to hear the news. More learned of Meredith’s life and tremendous courage via the Huffington Post, which picked up her story, and later The Daily Mail and Miami Herald.
Continue reading the rest of the story on Billboard