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Sam Smith, Please Say #RiannaCan Beat Cancer

An Open Letter to Sam Smith from a Fan’s Godmother

Dear Sam Smith,

In case you don’t have time to read this whole letter, I’ll start with my big and simple request. May I please ask you to send a shout-out of encouragement to Rianna Arcos during your August 14 concert in Houston, Texas, USA and again in your November 21 show in Manila, Philippines?


Rianna Arcos is a bright and lovely 16-year-old girl from the Philippines who is currently going to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas for chemotherapy to treat her Stage 4 Hodgkin Lymphoma. She is my goddaughter and the best friend of my 15-year-old daughter Kylie.

The Backstory

In the morning of 16 December 2014, Rianna, Kylie, Lilac (Rianna’s mom) and I were lined up at a nearby SM Ticket Counter, joining the queue to buy tickets to your May 10 concert in Manila. Rianna and Kylie are two of your biggest fans (I’ve heard them singing your songs many times over), and they wanted to get the best seats possible.

At this time, Rianna was near the tail-end of 6 cycles of of chemotherapy and radiation treatment in Manila for Stage 3 Hodgkin Lymphoma that was diagnosed in June 2014. Buying these tickets held the promise of celebration for Rianna’s end of treatment and Kylie’s then-upcoming birthday.

IMG_6343When we left the counter that morning, Rianna and Kylie were beaming with their concert tickets in hand. These two young ladies, these best friends were going to have the time of their lives watching your show.

May 2015 came. A week before the concert date, we saw the news about the postponement of your Manila concert. True fans that they are, Rianna and Kylie didn’t get mad. They only wished that you would get well so you can sing again, and hopefully still come to Manila for your show. Like all of your other fans in the Philippines, they waited for good news.

Not long before then, we were faced with terrible personal news. After another scan was done, doctors discovered that Rianna’s cancer is still there. Her parents searched for the best place to seek further treatment. This brought them to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.

Kylie and RiannaRianna’s chemotherapy treatment in MD Anderson Cancer Center started just a week ago. Right now, no one can say until when. It all depends on how her body, how her cancer reacts to the treatment.  We don’t know when Rianna and her mother will come back to the Philippines; we don’t know if Rianna will be back before November 21 to watch your Manila concert with her best friend (my daughter) Kylie. We don’t know if they can have this moment with you.


The Request

Kylie and RiannaAll of this brings me back to my request. Would you, Mr. Sam Smith, please give a shout-out of encouragement to Rianna Arcos during your August 14 concert in Houston, Texas, USA? And again during your November 21 show in Manila, Philippines? Please say #RiannaCancer! (Rianna’s mom made this hashtag to symbolize our belief that although she has cancer, RiannaCan beat her cancer.

I wish you the best of health, continued success in your career and joy in your heart. Thank you for reading this godmother’s big and simple request.

Lea (Rianna’s godmother)

P.S. If you would like to get in touch with Rianna or her mother Lilac while in Texas, please let me know. And if you would like to help their fundraising efforts for the Bone Marrow Transplant that Rianna needs after chemotherapy, please see the link below.)