♪ JENNIFER: All across our country, there are unsung heroes.
SETH: Oh my gosh!
JENNIFER: I'’m Jennifer.
Nice to meet you.
SETH: Good to see you.
JENNIFER: They give us their time and money, their sweat and tears, their hearts and soul.
♪ They overcome great adversity as they work tirelessly behind the headlines.
No medals, no accolades, no one talking about them, until now.
SETH: Teaching my children that you can go through a very hard time and still help other people was one of the most important things to me.
JENNIFER: Seth is a cancer survivor.
What he doesn'’t know is that we are gonna be turning his story into a great song.
And based on what I know about Seth so far, we should have an epic song on our hands.
SETH: She took everything that we talked to her about and she made it perfect.
[audience applauds] JENNIFER: Thank you.
Thank you for being an inspiration.
[audience clapping] ♪ ♪ ♪ [bell rings] ♪ JENNIFER: So, I'’m gonna get to meet Seth here today and I'’ve gotten a little bit of background of his story, which is, even in and of itself, super inspirational.
But what I am hoping to do is get to know who the heart of Seth is and make that into a song.
SETH: Oh my gosh.
JENNIFER: I'’m Jennifer.
JENNIFER: I have been at this for a long time, but I have never had an opportunity quite like this one.
JENNIFER: I feel like I already know you from learning part of your story but... SETH: Come on in.
JENNIFER: I would love to learn more.
SETH: Come on in.
MARGIE: Thank you.
♪ I'’m not really sure what to describe myself as.
I'’m a humble guy, I love people, I love my friends and my family, and I'’m thankful for everything.
MARGIE: If you were going to a party and you did not know anyone there and you walked into the party, he would the person that would like run over and introduce you to everyone.
ANDIE: He'’s a good person, big heart, nice, don'’t tell him I said that, and the guy I always looked up to my whole life.
♪ SETH: I participate in a lot of triathlons.
I was into working out and doing Iron Man and, you know, enjoying life.
Three beautiful children, beautiful wife.
In 2010, I was actually training for, um, an Iron Man triathlon and we were going on a 100-mile bike ride that day.
I had some trouble breathing and like kind of keeping my pace.
The next day, I went to a doctor because I knew something wasn'’t right.
Called me and said, "I want you to get a CAT scan."
Went to the CAT scan on a Tuesday and it was about 11:00 AM and by 12:30, his office had called me and said, um, "You know, the doctor would like to see you."
And I said, "Okay, how about next Tuesday?"
And they were like, "How about, you know, 1:30?"
♪ And he says "Seth..." And my wife was in there with me.
Margie was in there with me, thankfully.
And, you know, he made a fist and he said, "You have a tumor about size of a- of your fist.
You know, right here."
That point, my- my mind went directly to, how could this be?
Um, how could this happen?
MARGIE: He had a very tough time taking the news, obviously, and he, I think, blocked a lot of it out.
So, I just sat with the doctor, we basically drew it out on a piece of paper exactly what was going on in his body and I just took over in that way.
SETH: There'’s no real direction.
It'’s like your whole world stops, your mind, your body, everything has to stop and your whole life, it doesn'’t change directions, it turns around.
[wind blows] ♪ JENNIFER: I think what writing songs is all about is- is being a storyteller, and this is a real life story of a real live person right now and that, for me, is exciting to get to hopefully take what is their story, get to the heart of it, and speak to it in an emotional way that makes people connect with it more.
I did wanna ask you just a few questions from a heart standpoint and from a... SETH: Sure.
JENNIFER: ...human standpoint of, we all, I think, fear that call that you get in the middle of the night or, in this case, in the middle of the day, where suddenly your world is forever changed.
What were you most afraid of when you got that call?
SETH: I guess the fear is "How bad is this gonna be?"
The hardest part, um, was watching my family watch me.
[gasps] SETH: That was the hardest part for me.
This is Maddy, Mariah.
[giggling] [indistinct chatter] SETH: And the youngest, Steven.
BARBARA: I'’m Barbara.
JENNIFER: Hi, Barbara.
GEORGE: I'’m George.
Nice to meet you.
JENNIFER: Hi, George.
Nice to meet you all.
It is a pleasure to be here.
I was chatting with Seth about, um, obviously, his journey, and- and one of the things that he pointed out most is that this has been such a collective journey.
SETH: So, when I did break the news to my children, it was three different reactions.
We did it separately.
And my middle daughter, Madeline, who'’s... She'’s real cerebral.
She likes to like think about things.
She thought about what we gave her and she digested the information, then she looked at me and she goes, "Dad, it'’s just the monster under the floorboards.
You'’re gonna have to stomp it out."
JENNIFER: But what a fantastic metaphor.
You know, a- across life, that there are always these monsters that we come across in our lives and this one was a big one in yours and she recognized it as that as a child, from the mouth of a child to say like, "All right, this is one of those monsters."
JENNIFER: What does your dad mean to you?
[laughs] MARIAH: Aww.
MARIAH: Gives you a whole outlook, different outlook on life at a much younger age than a lot of people, which was kind of cool, honestly.
MADDY: Definitely helps you grow up.
That'’s for sure.
JENNIFER: I bet, sis.
STEVEN: Staying through tough times, you know?
JENNIFER: He'’s gonna make me cry.
[everybody laughs] I have the water works, I'’m sorry.
No, it'’s just... You know, it'’s so lovely to see such a loving family and... [gasps] Yeah, and I don'’t even know.
[everybody laughs] Thank you.
You had mentioned when you- when you first heard the news, you had put your head in your hands and you said, "Why me?"
And I know that is such a common thought that so many people have when- when faced with such a tragedy.
Do you ask that anymore?
SETH: No, I don'’t.
After that initial, like "Oh my gosh," um, then- then you change your tu- Well, I changed my tune.
JENNIFER: To what?
SETH: To get yourself together, take that lens and widen it... JENNIFER: Um-hmm SETH: ...and see what you can do to- to- to help people.
That'’s really what it comes down to.
It'’s just teaching my children that you can go through a very hard time and still help other people was one of the most important things to me, and that'’s what I did.
You know, you'’re looking at six of the key components to me being healthy right at this- at this island.
JENNIFER: You are blessed and lucky to be surrounded with all these wonderful people and yet, it is still, at times, a very lonesome journey.
SETH: You don'’t realize the huge exponential value of these people in your lives that are willing to help you.
So, never went without a trip to the chemotherapy, never had...
I always had somebody in my hospital room unless I told them to get out, right?
[laughing] They were- they were just- they'’re just always there.
So, cancer and any disease really, they- they don'’t- there'’s no prejudice, right?
People get cancer of all sorts of different races and ethnicities.
JENNIFER: It does not discriminate.
SETH: It doesn'’t discriminate at all.
I was just like everybody else.
We were all in an infusion or a chemotherapy chair and you'’re in a room and I have a tendency to talk a lot.
[Jennifer laughs] And if everybody was quiet, I'’d poke the quiet person and talk to them and find out about their story and wanna know what was going on, and, um, that'’s- that'’s when I started learning that people didn'’t have the support system of friends and family that I did.
They didn'’t have people to help them with these- just these little tasks, or that I thought were little.
I'’d be done with my chemotherapy.
Well, I'’d say, "Margie, we have to go take this woman to get a second opinion in New York."
She'’s like, "When?"
I'’m like, "Now."
Right now, you know?
She can'’t afford to do it.
Her husband can'’t afford to take off work.
We need to do it."
And so I said if I was gonna do this, we need to do it on a much bigger scale.
I can'’t do it all myself especially right now.
Even though I want to... JENNIFER: So you started this while you, yourself, were also in treatment.
SETH: Oh yeah, in treatment, sure.
I asked my two sisters and some very, very close friends.
I said, "Look, this is something that has to be done.
I don'’t know whether I'’m gonna be here to follow it through, but it- there'’s a void here.
So, we have to do something."
And that'’s how Stomp the Monster started.
♪ Stomp the Monster is a not-for-profit foundation.
We take families that are going through this process and help them with utilities, a ride to and from treatment.
We do daycare, car payment.
Whatever they need, we try to take the edge off a little bit so they can actually focus on their disease.
♪ So, I went through all the treatments, went through a what they call an auto stem cell transplant, didn'’t work.
Um, then I went through a bone marrow transplant.
Your siblings are the only people that can be an exact, what they call a 10 for 10 match.
ANDIE: So of course, he asked if Sharon and I, my sister and I, would be tested and...
I mean, without second thought, we were like, "Of course."
They called and they said, good news, was that I was a 10 for 10 match.
JENNIFER: Her bone marrow was the- the transplant that- that saved your life.
JENNIFER: What does that feel like?
SETH: She had to give herself shots.
She had to go through this... JENNIFER: I understand it'’s a pretty painful procedure.
JENNIFER: She didn'’t hesitate.
SETH: No questions.
So, it was a very, very hard situation to be in.
I'’m- I'’m so thankful that she was able to do it.
JENNIFER: A lesson in receiving.
SETH: A lesson in receiving.
♪ ♪ MARGIE: I think the most proud I am is that we'’ve all stayed connected as a family so well and that we'’ve been able to help so many people, but we'’ve all been able to do it all together.
MADDY: Yeah ♪ JENNIFER: At Stomp The Monster, is there a- sort of a motto or a phrase that you have that you pull from, or even in yourself, that you pull from that- that offers you inspiration, sort of like a mantra where you will remind yourself of it whenever something gets hard or something that- that helped you in any sort of way?
SETH: Life is sweet.
JENNIFER: Life is sweet.
SETH: Life is sweet.
You have to enjoy it while it'’s here because you just don'’t know.
JENNIFER: You all are an inspiration as a family to get to see together and I thank you for sharing your stories with me.
SETH: We love having you here.
JENNIFER: Thank you, thank you.
[indistinct chatter] ♪ JENNIFER: So now, I'’ve met Seth.
I'’ve heard his story from himself, from his family.
I'’ve been able to put those pieces together.
Now, the songwriting process begins.
He has taken this very challenging, hard, difficult, brutal time of his life.
And after all of it, you know, he basically says that, you know, life is sweet.
It has really allowed him to focus and change his perspective.
Then he turned it into a wonderful organization called Stomp The Monster.
I'’m excited to work again with Bill.
First and foremost, he and I have a friendship.
We'’ve known each other for a number of years now.
And we have a rapport with each other.
What I would love to do is the E... You'’re talking about the start of the chorus?
BILL: Yeah, to get back to... JENNIFER: To that.
BILL: A ♪ Ah, yeah ♪ So the bridge is like... JENNIFER: Can we land on the A?
Or something that will lead us into the A so that then it feels... BILL: Maybe.
JENNIFER: Anything is possible.
BILL: I don'’t know, let'’s see.
Jennifer'’s like this seasoned pro and we'’ve been working together for quite a long time.
And she really knows structure and melody and I'’m very much in awe of it and it'’s really enjoyable to be around her.
You said turn it into something beautiful?
BILL: That lives here, that... Before the turnaround.
JENNIFER: Before the turnaround?
BILL: I think, maybe.
BILL: It'’s a good line.
JENNIFER: Ideas-wise, I want them to be super accessible and conversational but I don'’t want them to be pedestrian and I don'’t want- Or maybe some of them, even though they are a little bit predictable, maybe sometimes there'’s a niceness in laying into that like, "Oh, yeah.
I knew that she was gonna rhyme tragic and magic.
I knew she was going to say that."
You know what I'’m saying?
[Bill laughs] It'’s interesting.
Whenever I think one chooses to tell a story about a real person.
There, I think, is a certain amount of pressure in telling that story and in doing it in a way that you want it to feel to them that it is honoring of their own story.
You look at this specific story and the stakes, I mean, this is a life or death story.
So, you want to be able to honor that and you want to not only tell that story but you want to do so in a way that showcases it and can inspire other people through what these folks have gone through.
So, what I'’m working with on the chorus is this concept of why me and why not.
And basically, the- the gist is... You know, I- I- I don'’t ask why me or you could say I did ask why me and now I just say why not.
Basically, take something that'’s hard and make it something awesome.
You know, take something that'’s awful and turn it into something beautiful is- is the sentiment because that'’s essentially what this man has done, right?
BILL: Mm-hmm JENNIFER: Let me sing the verses for you again just so that you can get the vibe of them.
♪ I don'’t ask why me ♪ ♪ I just say why not ♪ ♪ Take all that I'’ve been given ♪ ♪ And turn it into livin'’ ♪ ♪ For somebody else ♪ ♪ '’Cause you know life is sweet ♪ BILL: Yeah.
BILL: So you need a... Sweet... JENNIFER: So I need tag ends.
BILL: Sweet, eat... JENNIFER: Yes, I need... BILL: Neat... beat.
One of the interesting parts about songwriting is that there'’s a part of it that you don'’t know where it comes from and you can sit down at a piano and suddenly, [blows] or with your guitar, and suddenly a whole song comes in a snap.
The second chorus could then say "There are days you want to give in "but you focus on the livin'’ that they have yet to do."
BILL: That'’s good.
JENNIFER: So, I don'’t wanna use the- the live- Or- or does it matter to use livin'’ twice?
BILL: I don'’t mind the given, livin'’ twice.
JENNIFER: You don'’t mind it in a different way twice?
BILL: Not at all, I think that'’s smart '’cause it goes with your second verse.
JENNIFER: Oh, yeah!
I feel like we were able to do Seth'’s story justice.
I mean, I- I- I feel like for me, I was so inspired by hearing his story by meeting his family, by learning about their resilience.
It feels emotional and it- and it feels like it resonates and- and I- I hope it does for them.
Life is sweet.
[hands clap] ♪ SETH: Jennifer has been gracious enough to invite my friends and family to a- just like a kind of private little, um, concert that she'’s doing.
And the energy in the room is amazing and we'’re just so excited to have this opportunity.
It'’s so cool.
[audience claps and cheers] [audience claps and cheers] JENNIFER: Thank you.
[audience claps] Well, first of all, I am super excited to be here with you and to have a- a very what is for me a super inspiring opportunity.
Um, I had the pleasure of getting to know Seth and hearing his story and hearing his family'’s journey with him.
And I know- I know Seth, that we talked about it in terms of sharing your story, but what you may not know is that Bill and I...
This is Bill Sherman, by the way.
WOMAN: Hi Bill.
[audience claps] What you may not know is that Bill and I took your story and made a song.
It is called "Life is Sweet."
JENNIFER: If I don'’t look at you, it'’s because it will make me cry.
♪ ♪ Well, I'’m not one to back down ♪ ♪ But I know what it'’s like to fall ♪ ♪ ♪ Got a lot of get up and fight now ♪ ♪ But I hit my knees when I got that call ♪ ♪ Do you know what it'’s like ♪ ♪ To look your demons in the eye ♪ ♪ Do you know what it'’s like ♪ ♪ To tell your beautiful wife ♪ ♪ The man that she loves ♪ ♪ The very fabric of her life is breaking down ♪ ♪ ♪ But I don'’t ask why me ♪ ♪ I just say why not ♪ ♪ Take all that I'’ve been given ♪ ♪ And turn it into livin'’ for somebody else ♪ ♪ Because I know I am loved ♪ ♪ And I'’ll say that it'’s enough ♪ ♪ To try my best to learn ♪ ♪ To give love in return ♪ ♪ To everyone we meet ♪ ♪ Yeah, I say life is sweet ♪ ♪ ♪ Now there'’s a right and a wrong way ♪ ♪ There'’s a cost for every goal ♪ ♪ But there'’s a light down the hallway ♪ ♪ And in that bedroom ♪ ♪ Sleeps the most precious souls ♪ ♪ Do you know what it'’s like ♪ ♪ To watch your sleeping child ♪ ♪ And feel her heart beneath your hand ♪ ♪ Like a hummingbird wild ♪ ♪ And know you'’ll do all that you can ♪ ♪ To go the extra mile to watch her grow ♪ ♪ Then you don'’t say why me ♪ ♪ You just say why not ♪ ♪ Take all that you'’ve been given ♪ ♪ And turn it into livin'’ for somebody else ♪ ♪ Because I know I am loved ♪ ♪ And I can say that it'’s enough ♪ ♪ To try my best to learn ♪ ♪ To give love in return ♪ ♪ To everyone I meet ♪ ♪ Yeah, I say life is sweet ♪ ♪ There are monsters that hide in the darkness ♪ ♪ To scare us alone ♪ ♪ ♪ But we follow the light ♪ ♪ And we'’re blessed when we find our way home ♪ ♪ I don'’t ask why me ♪ ♪ I just say why not ♪ ♪ Take all that I'’ve been given ♪ ♪ And turn it into livin'’ for somebody else ♪ ♪ Because I know I am loved ♪ ♪ And I will say that it'’s enough ♪ ♪ To try our best to learn ♪ ♪ To give love in return ♪ ♪ To everyone we meet ♪ ♪ Yeah, I say life is sweet ♪ ♪ Life is sweet ♪ ♪ Life is sweet ♪ ♪ [audience claps] JENNIFER: Thank you.
[audience claps] Thank you.
Thank you for being an inspiration.
You and your whole family, really.
Precious, precious people.
[audience claps] SETH: Wow.
JENNIFER: Thank you.
SETH: She nailed everything and she took everything that we talked to her about and she made it perfect.
It was just... I- I don'’t know how she did it.
I'’ll be honest with you.
JENNIFER: Thank you, thank you.
And I can'’t wait to see everything that'’s gonna come next for you all and for your beautiful family and your beautiful children and Stomp The Monster and all the good that you'’re gonna do continue to do in the world.
The- the power of her voice and the sincerity of what she was saying when she said she couldn'’t look at us and... MARGIE: It'’s hard to put it in words, I think.
I don'’t know.
I don'’t- I- I can'’t.
It'’s just very, very surreal to me.
SETH: We'’re kinda in shock, but a good shock.
[Margie laughs] She'’s... And Bill, too.
MARGIE: They'’re amazing.
SETH: They'’re just... MARGIE: Amazing.
JENNIFER: Thank you.
What a pleasure and an honor.
And like I said, I mean- I mean it.
Just opening your hearts to me and your most intimate, special, and hurt places.
You know, those are... That'’s so beautiful.
So, thank you.
MARGIE: This is full circle.
♪ Life is sweet ♪ ♪ [static] [chiming] ♪