Just One Step- About This Song

"Just One Step" is extra special for us, born out of a brief but bright and lasting friendship we found in a seemingly very dark place. For us, this place was cancer, but you can substitute any hardship here, for whatever struggle you are facing.  

In 2016 we were each diagnosed with cancer two months apart, and our lives changed in every way. We found ourselves part of a world that we knew existed but assumed could never involve us directly. The focus becomes surviving- treatment, surgery, bills, appointments, scans, finding support, maintaining work, eating, sleeping, you name it. It's been incredibly difficult, and it still seems never-ending.  

What was unexpected for us was discovering grace and beauty in such a world. It came in all forms- fellow patients, volunteers, caregivers, surgical and oncology teams, physical therapists, infusion nurses, radiation therapists. People who didn't choose to be in this world and people who did, all came together to create this network of support that made you believe you could get through this.  

One of the brightest lights to emerge for us was our friend Susan Burgert, whom we met not long after Claudia's diagnosis in July of 2016. Susan was also dealing with gynecological cancer, and mutual friends thought we should meet. We hit it off and began to spend time together. Sharing cancer fast-tracked our friendship. Over time, we slowly began to realize the enormity of the challenges Susan was facing and watched in amazement as she not only continued to chase down every possible avenue for treatment but worked hard to make things better for her fellow patients and caregivers. She founded the Stride and Thrive 5k and 1 Mile Run/Walk, now in its fifth year. Proceeds from the race support gynecologic cancer research and clinical trials, training for oncology fellows, and cancer survivors. Posthumously named for her, the Susan L. Burgert, M.D. Gynecologic Oncology Survivorship Program was especially important to her, created by Susan to empower other patients and their caregivers, and help them not only survive but thrive.  

Susan did all of this while enduring an incredibly difficult journey. The trials and surgeries she went through took such a toll on her. When a treatment proved unsuccessful for her, the hunt for a new one began. When she had good days, she spent them doing what she loved with people most important to her. She would get knocked down and would have dark periods like everyone. Susan always started again.  

When she sat down at her computer to work on the race or the survivorship program, Susan had a yellow sticky on either side of her monitor. One read "freedom" and the other "courage." When you find yourself in crisis, you often have to fight to have a say in decisions that affect your life, to have the freedom to choose. You have to find the courage to keep up the fight and to show up, again and again.  

This song is a tribute to Susan and that spirit. It was an honor to witness her journey and to call her a friend even though it was only for 18 months. She was a constant support to us as we faced our struggles, and we miss her.  

We hope "Just One Step" provides some wind in your sails as you navigate your struggle, whatever that might be.  

Proceeds will go to the Susan L Burgert, M.D. Gynecologic Oncology Survivorship Program at Johns Hopkins. We set pricing as "pay what you want," so give accordingly. If you are in crisis or struggling and don't have it in you to pay for one more thing right now, please download the song for free. It's our pleasure. If you can give, it will make a difference in the lives of everyone affected by gynecological cancers. 

For more information on the program, or to make a more substantial tax-deductible direct contribution, please visit https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/gynecology_obstetrics/specialty_areas/gynecologic_oncology/survivorship.html.