Bo Griffin was a bad, bold, beautiful personality whose radio name was Bo, the Animal.
And she pulled it off. Bo was attractive, confident and went after what she wanted. She survived the ups and downs of this crazy business by being smart and savvy enough to re-invent herself and remain a player through several years.
The day before yesterday, I heard that she died. I was shocked. When people are smart and talented and vibrant, you’re never ready to hear news like that. Bo was just 51 years old.
The word is she recently – just a few weeks ago – found out she had cancer, and almost suddenly, it took her life.
Bo’s death got me thinking about two of my favorite holidays: Valentine’s Day and Take a Loved One to the Doctor Day. This year, I didn’t write a Valentine’s Day blog. I meant to, but I was too busy making plans and celebrating my 10th wedding anniversary. After getting the news of Bo’s death, it reminded me that the best and most romantic thing you can do for your mate, your family or anyone close to you is to get as healthy as you possibly can. And that led me to think about Dr. Day, because it is a time that celebrates the very sentiment of being proactive about your health and the health of those you care about most.
When we talked off the air about Bo’s illness, we all wondered how something as serious as intestinal cancer could appear suddenly and cause death at such an unbelievably fast pace. Shouldn’t she have had symptoms that would have sent her to the doctor sooner? I think it’s human nature to hope, in some way, that there’s a reason – or even blame – when someone dies. If we can figure out what the person did wrong, we think we can avoid that mistake and keep bad fortune away.
Of course, it doesn’t always work out that way. All of us know someone who did all the right things and was still stricken with some kind of illness. Shiggity happens.
But that shouldn’t stop us from doing everything we can do to at least reduce the odds of bad things happening in areas that we can control. For instance, we know that early detection is the best way of preventing diseases. We can’t say this enough, yet still, as our in-house physician, Dr. Sampson Davis, says, too many wait until it’s time to visit the ER, but by then, for a lot of conditions, it’s too late.
The only thing better than catching stuff early is preventing it from happening in the first place. Prevention begins before birth with good pre-natal care; it continues through infancy with good nutrition, including breast milk (check out the heated discussion we had about that yesterday on “If You Missed It”) and on through childhood and puberty with the right balance of healthy foods and exercise. First Lady Michele Obama’s initiative to battle childhood obesity includes a series of ways parents, schools, food manufacturers and the government can step up to ensure that our kids end up with fewer ailments that are related to being overweight or obese.
And, as much as I loved Bo and as saddened as I am by her death, I can’t help but point out that the extra weight she carried – while she carried it well – couldn’t have helped either. Again, back to the studies, it’s been proven that many illnesses, including some types of cancers, are linked to obesity or even merely being overweight. As a soldier of food, I know it’s tough, but that can’t keep us from fighting the battle. Especially since we know it can save our lives. I don’t care how fine you are, if it’s working against you internally, it really isn’t fine at all.
I’m just a D.J., but I do know that you also need to stop smoking and stay hydrated if you want to get a handle on getting and staying healthy. And add at least one serving of vegetables a day – the green leafy kind, not fries.
In the meantime, let’s continue to love ourselves, look out for each other and help those we love become more accountable for their health. Let my friend Bo’s death be a reminder that it’s time for you or someone you love to make an appointment to see a doctor. Today.