A Breath of Fresh Air

Mr Jimmy 0004c scaled e1632414675276Throughout his lengthy career, Jimmie Brown has toured around the world, in addition to playing many local festivals such as the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. When the New Orleans-born singer and musician was diagnosed with lung cancer, he wasn’t sure if he’d ever get to play music again. Thanks to the care he received at Mary Bird Perkins, he’s not only able to continue doing what he loves, but also to pass down his lifelong passion to his grandchildren, too.

In 2017, Brown went to his primary care physician complaining of neck pain. When a subsequent MRI revealed a mass in his lung, Brown was referred to Mary Bird Perkins in Covington, where Dr. James E. Carinder, a Northshore Oncology Associates physician, diagnosed him with stage three lung cancer. He began an extensive treatment plan, visiting the Cancer Center every weekday to receive radiation therapy over the course of a year. “They took care of me, I mean, they’re like my family now,” Brown says.

Since he’s been in remission, Brown and his band, Just Us, have provided entertainment for several Mary Bird Perkins fundraising and holiday events.

Brown has lost his father and two siblings to cancer. His steadfast faith, along with time spent writing songs with his fifteen grandchildren, kept his spirits high throughout his rigorous course of treatment, Brown says.

“Music helped me so much, it just releases whatever you need out there,” he says. “I knew that if I just kept on moving like I did yesterday, no matter what happened, I’d be alright. There’s no use worrying about it, because life always has a way of working out.”

Before he was diagnosed, Brown spent nearly three decades volunteering as the head coach of St. Roch playground for the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission (NORD), where in addition to teaching sports to at-risk youth, he served as a mentor to kids outside of the park, too. Now that he’s cancer-free, he’s looking forward to returning to NORD.

“God left me here for a reason. Those playgrounds in New Orleans, a lot of them are closed,” he says. “So I think I need to figure out why they closed and try to get them back open.”

Learn more about lung cancer screenings available at Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center at marybird.org.