An Academy Award Story: It’s not how much time you have…

So excited to share this story.

I’ve made a lot of good friends in comedy. And heard a lot of cancer stories since starting my Dying to do Letterman project six plus years ago. Those two facets collided last week when my good friend Howard Cooperstein, who I met at an open mic in San Francisco 10 years ago, told me he was visiting L.A. to help his sister care for her husband.

Howard shared the story of his brother-in-law, Jim, who has been fighting brain cancer since 2008. Between the cancer, the radiation, and chemo, Jim sways from being unaware and completely without his facilities and needing constant attention, to brief flashes of his former self. Unfortunately, recently Jim has been more and more in the unaware state. That is why my friend Howard came to help his sister care for him.

Amidst this, something amazing took place. Something that showed a lot of life in the face of death. It blew me away and right away I asked Howard and his sister if I could share it here and they agreed.

Jim’s Story

Jim was living an incredibly successful life when he was diagnosed in 2008. His full name is Jim Rodnunsky and he is the inventor of the “Cable-Cam.” The cable camera is that camera you see flying around at football and basketball games, giving you those amazing shots. As you can imagine it’s revolutionized moviemaking as well.

And that’s where this story gets so inspiring. Howard told me that Jim was attending an early session of the Academy Awards but he wasn’t sure how that’d all turn out. The next day Howard e-mailed me the following:

“Thought you guys would want to see this.  
I’m so  happy for and proud of my Brother in Law, James.  He can’t remember what happened 2 seconds ago.  Is in an absolute state of confusion and delusion.  I didn’t think he was going to be able to even go to the awards or if it did he’d have to remain at his table, but he pulled it together for this award and was able to give an acceptance speech.   His children were watching seeing him get this honor.
That’s Marisa Tomei presenting.”

Jim takes the stage at around the 1:50 mark and unbelievably steps up to the mic at 4:50 or so to speak. I know this is the age of 2 minute videos but this one will make your day (and more) if you watch the entire thing.

This just proves it again. It’s not how much time you have…it’s what you do with it.

Congrats, Jim.