LL Cool J and his better half, Simone I. Smith, are continuing to not only be dedicated partners but they’ve teamed up with the American Cancer Society for the “Beat Cancer Like a Boss,” after Simone’s own battle with rare bone cancer that’s now in remission.
“I was working out with my trainer, walking, talking, not paying no mind, walked into the wastebasket and it hit that little knot. That sent me to the doctor, and that’s when I found out I had a chondrosarcoma stage three tumor in my right tibia bone,” Simone recalled.
In 2004, Simone was diagnosed with chondrosarcoma, a rare bone cancer. She underwent a precarious 15-hour surgery that involved removing her right tibia and replacing it with her left fibula. Steel rods were inserted, as well as a rod, screws, nails and micro veins from her other legs, according to ET.
“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,” Simone said.
“In that moment there, I was devastated,” She added, holding back tears. “I’m not going to get emotional!”
LL whose real name is James Todd Smith and Simone have been married since 1995. The Rock the Bells rapper called Simone his “rock.”
“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 said about her husband.
And LL was very protective when it came to visitors seeing Simone after surgery,
“Todd would tell them… ‘You can’t go in there crying,'” she revealed.
“Because you need positive energy,” he explained.
Simone has indeed beat cancer like a boss and has so far been cancer-free for the last 14 years. And Simone and LL’s celeb friends are joining them on the “Beat Cancer Like a Boss” journey.
Mary J. Blige, Remy Ma, Salt-N-Pepa, Jhene Aiko, Jordin Sparks and more are on board.
“The campaign is ‘Beat Cancer Like a Boss,’ and when it comes to that, she’s definitely been a boss,” LL said.
“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.”
“Mary and I, we actually became friends the year that I was diagnosed and I remember when I was in the hospital Mary came to see me and she sent me flowers every day,” Simone said.
In 2011, Simone also created a jewelry line and donates a portion of the proceeds toward fighting the disease.
Of her first piece of jewelry she designed after surgery, Simone says: “It’s called the sweet touch of hope. It’s [designed after] the lollipop tattoo that was on this leg,” she explained.
“During my surgery, it was disfigured cause they had to do skin graft, and after the surgery, it looked like somebody took a bite out of it. The candy represents how sweet life is. The bite represents what cancer does to the individual, their family, their loved ones.”
LL has also said his children, Najee, Italia, Samaria, and Nina, know the value of giving back and supporting important causes because of their mom’s battle.
“The world should be better because you were here. You should be making a real contribution to society,” he said. “I’m still blue collar, you know what I’m saying? I’m not buying into the Hollywood stardom money thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like paper like everybody else… But the kids, they gotta contribute.”
Through living the reality that his wife was battling an ailment, LL said he’s learned to “just being supportive.”
“I learned that you got to be grateful, and you can’t take things 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,” he expressed. “I believe in God strongly, and you got to believe in yourself too.”