#GetWellMeechy

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After making the final edits yesterday on the latest in the Shit Bougie Black People Love series, I went to Google to find a picture to go with the post. I searched "natural hair," "natural hair conference," and "natural hair meetup" until I found an appropriate pic — a shot of three women with natural hair who looked to be at some type of event.

Soon after publishing the post — and sharing it to Facebook and Twitter — I went back to Google. The woman in the middle (named "Meechy Monroe") bore a striking resemblance to a friend of mine, so I searched to see if it was the same person. I then learned that Meechy Monroe was a popular natural hair and beauty blogger out of Chicago.

And then I learned something else:

From The Chicago Tribune:

Over the last five years, Meechy Monroe has built a reputation and international following among black women who turned to her for hair care tips and inspiration as they turned from chemically treated hair to natural styles.

Through her blog, social media and YouTube channel, Monroe won tens of thousands of followers who longed to know just how she twisted, twirled, patted and puffed her signature, textured Afro into an elegant, bouffant-esque style. Her YouTube channel piled up more than 2.4 million views. She gained 36,000 followers on Instagram and reached thousands more through Twitter and her blog.

But recently, the 29-year-old West Pullman resident has been diagnosed with a rare brain tumor that affects just 1 percent of cancer patients in the U.S. The disease, along with the radiation and chemotherapy necessary to treat it, has changed everything for Monroe. She lost her ability to write clearly. Her speech became halting.

Added to those huge losses was another one: her hair, the glorious, dark black, curly mane that helped catapult her to icon status within the natural hair community.

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Wow.

I immediately replaced the image on the main page. But, the link with the original image had already been shared on Facebook dozens of times. I found some contact info for her and reached out to give her a heads up and let her know I definitely wasn't attempting to make light of her situation, but there was no response.

I ended up connecting with Afrobella — who knows Meechy personally and expressed in a comment on one of the Facebook shares that, considering Meechy's situation, she wasn't very happy about her friend's picture being used for this type of post — to see if she had any more direct contact info. She told me she'd have to contact Meechy's sister to see if that was ok, but also shared that there is a Give Forward page devoted to her battle, a campaign I'm sharing with you all today.

I do not know Meechy Monroe, but as many of you know, I do know what it's like to have a family member battle cancer. And, along with the physical and emotional toll that disease often takes, there is a substantial financial one as well. In the year my mom was in and out of the hospital, her bills were (at least) in the mid six figures. Fortunately, my parents had insurance, but insurance doesn't cover the money lost from missing work, the gas used to make the multiple trips to different pharmacies, hospitals, etc, the food purchased because you don't have as much time and energy to cook, etc.

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You may send notes and letters directly to Meechy using this email address: GetWellMeechy@gmail.com

You may send tokens of sympathy to: P.O. Box 286621 Chicago, IL 60628

And, you can help support Meechy’s costly recovery by donating here.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

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DISCUSSION

"DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so, For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow, Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee, 5Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee doe goe, Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie. Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell, 10And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well, And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then; One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die." Starts one of my favorite books about Johnnie Gunther Jr. who suffered from a brain tumor at a very young age. May your recovery be swift and valiant Meechy!