With end to cancer treatment in sight, man celebrates with marching band

Keira Miller
Keira Miller

(NORCROSS, Ga.) — In lieu of the traditional ringing of the bell, Josh Libman recently celebrated the upcoming end of his cancer treatment with tubas, drums, flutes, saxophones and pom-poms, all courtesy of the efforts of registered nurse Alane Levy.

Libman, 32, of Norcross, Georgia, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer this summer and in July his left lower leg had to be amputated. That surgery was followed by rounds of grueling chemotherapy, requiring him to stay in the hospital for days.

Levy learned of his plight this summer, when she came across Libman’s story in a Jewish mothers Facebook group.

“I reached out to the family and said, ‘This is who I am and this is what I do and I would like to take care of Josh and the family through this entire process. Instead of writing a check, I’ll give myself,'” said Levy, who cares for people in their homes post-surgery.

Levy said she was with the family since before Libman’s amputation and had even stayed with him in the hospital.

“It has been my honor to be part of their family and to take care of them,” she said.

With Libman nearing an end to treatment, Levy said, she wanted him to be able to ring a bell, a tradition for cancer patients ending treatment in hospitals across the nation. Libman has one round of chemotherapy and a surgery left.

Levy, however, said that Libman was on a floor with sickle-cell anemia patients and there was no bell.

“I just wanted him to have that memory,” she said.

So Levy improvised, big time. She reached out to the band leader at Norcross High School, Libman’s old high school, and asked for help.

On Thursday, the entire band — all 150 students — marched down Libman’s street and appeared in front of his home to play. In the front, band members carried a poster with a message for Libman: “You are loved.”

“We believe!” the band members chanted as Libman stood by. “We believe that Josh will win! We believe that Josh will win!”

Levy had prepared Libman for the band’s arrival, telling him to grab his jacket, a hat and his crutches, but even she was not ready for the celebration that was in store. Levy had only expected about 50 students to show up.

“They were the best, most beautiful bell I could’ve ever thought of,” she said. “Josh was so excited. I was so excited. And, I couldn’t think of anything better to do.”

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