After Simone Smith was diagnosed with a rare bone cancer in 2004, her husband LL Cool J learned not to take anything in life for granted. She’s been in remission for 14 years, and together, the couple has been working to raise awareness and funds towards finding a cure for the disease.
LL Cool J and Simone Smith are one of the long-lasting couples in the entertainment industry.
They met as teenagers in 1987 and tied the knot in 1995 after dating for eight years. Together, they are parents to four grown-up children, and through the three decades they have spent with each other, the pair has faced some difficult moments in life.
Perhaps the most challenging situation they faced was learning of Simone’s cancer diagnose in 2004. She had a chondrosarcoma stage three tumor, a rare bone cancer, in her right tibia bone.
Simone went through a 15-hour surgery where doctors removed her right tibia and replaced it with her left fibula, a still rod, screws, nails and micro veins from her other leg.
“It was a two-and-a-half-year recovery, where I had to learn to walk again. I went from a wheelchair to two crutches, to one crutch to a cane,” she recalled in an interview with Entertainment Tonight.
LL Cool J, real name James Todd Smith, was there for his wife through every step of the journey.
"I remember sitting in the doctor's office, and he wanted to give his fibula bone... because he felt that his fibula bone would be bigger and stronger,” Simone recalled.
The 51-year-old star revealed that Simone’s cancer diagnose taught him how to be grateful, supportive, and not to take everything for granted.
"I learned that left turns could come, right turns could come. You can't always see around every corner, but you just have to have faith, and you have to have gratitude, you got to roll with humility, you got to believe. I believe in God strongly, and you got to believe in yourself too."
The rapper and “Lip-Sync Battle” host was overprotective of his wife even after surgery. He would warn visitors to “pull themselves together” before seeing her. "Todd would tell them, 'You can't go in there crying,'" Simone revealed.
After her recovery process, Simone decided to turn her battle with cancer into something positive and created her jewelry line SIS—short for Simone I. Smith—. Part of the proceeds from her sales goes to the American Cancer Society.
She and LL also partnered with ACS to launch the "Beat Cancer Like a Boss" campaign this year, and they enlisted the help of some famous friends like Mary J. Blige, Offset, Remy Ma, Salt-N-Pepa, Jhene Aiko, Jordin Sparks and more.
"The campaign is 'Beat Cancer Like a Boss,' and when it comes to that, she's definitely been a boss," LL said of his wife. And added:
"I think that so many people, if you can inspire others to learn more, dream more, do more, that's being a boss, and that's why we did this campaign for the American Cancer Society and for Simone Smith, her jewelry, which a portion of all the proceeds go to the ACS."
Simone wants to empower cancer patients and cancer survivor to join the fight against the disease and be confident in their power to beat it.
“Have faith," she said. "Find your inner strength. Be confident."
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