DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – As a 7-year-old, Ryan Anthony picked up the trumpet to be like his grandpa. Decades later, that love of music may very well have helped save his life.READ MORE: 16 Units Damaged In 3-Alarm Apartment Fire In Fort Worth
“I was actually here in this hall playing my trumpet,” said the Dallas Symphony Orchestra principal trumpet, gesturing to the majestic Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center, “I started getting sharp pains in my ribs and my back when I play. Turns out, that was my bones telling me something was wrong. And that’s how we found out I had cancer in my bone marrow.”
It was multiple myeloma — a terminal cancer that usually strikes patients in their 70s. Anthony says there are no words to describe the shock of that moment—especially as a father of two school aged children.
He wanted, no, needed to see them grow up. “When someone was saying five years, that just wasn’t acceptable.”
So Anthony said he flatly refused to be a victim… turning his energies, instead, to fighting for a cure. “They are my priority, and that’s why I’m doing all of this.”
Dallas Symphony Orchestra colleagues and musicians from around the world have rallied to support him. “It was stunning to me and that’s really made me think, ‘I’ve got to get out of bed every day. These people are counting on it, supporting me… they want me to do this.’ So you pull strength that you didn’t know you had.”
Just a few short months after having a stem cell transplant at the Baylor Charles A. Sammons Cancer Center, Anthony returned to the symphony. He says he knew the evening would be magical even before the first note sounded.
“I don’t remember playing,” he recalls of his return to the stage. “I just remember being so excited to be on there and thinking, ‘Wow. I’m doing this and I’m going to be doing this.’ It was pure joy.”
When colleagues asked what they could do to help, Anthony jokingly told them that they’d all play a concert to celebrate his recovery.
“I remember telling my wife, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could actually do it all at the same time and make a big event of it?’ And she laughed and said, ‘Yeah, call it Cancer Blows!”READ MORE: VIDEO: A Candid Conversation With Kristaps Porzingis
Although Anthony still receives bi-weekly maintenance chemotherapy treatments, he says the cancer is in remission. And it’s time to celebrate and motivate those who are still battling cancer as well.
And this week, some of the world’s most renowned trumpet players, including Doc Severinsen, Arturo Sandoval, and Lee Loughnane from the band Chicago, will gather for a benefit concert at the Meyerson.
“There’s a lot of days you think ‘can I really do this? Can I do my treatment and still play trumpet?’ Seeing their support, I know I can.”
Anthony also credits the support of his family for keeping him motivated. In fact, he says, it was his wife Niki’s insistence that kept doctors looking for answers when cancer was such an unlikely diagnosis.
“My wife is the one who would not let it go,” Anthony recalled. “Ultimately my wife Niki is the heartbeat of this whole thing—from the very beginning.”
With such amazing talent gathering in one place, Anthony intends to make the most of it. A panel discussion at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts will be followed by a concert/recording session at Dallas City Performance Hall Monday night.
Select artists will appear at Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts for master classes and clinics on Tuesday. And on Wednesday at 7:30 in the evening, ‘Cancer Blows the Concert’ will blow fans away—and hopefully raise both awareness and critical funds for research.
One hundred percent of the profits from ticket sales will go to cancer research. There are a limited number of seats left for Wednesday night’s concert, but supporters are expecting a sell-out.
“That’s what I want people to say [when asked] ‘who is Ryan?’ Not that he was a victim of multiple myeloma, but he’s someone who’s making a difference.”MORE NEWS: North Texas Police Officers Escort Body Of Euless Detective Killed By Drunk Driver To Funeral Home
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