A Sense of Connection: Healing, Support, & The Importance of Family
- Cancer survivor Jeff Bridges, along with his award-winning older brother, Beau Bridges, are forever grateful for the values their family, including their late father Lloyd Bridges, instilled in them.
- Beau, born Lloyd Vernet Bridges III, opened up in a recent interview about how respect and the importance of family plays a huge role in his and his siblings’ lives, even for his brother Jeff, who battled cancer.
- Jeff Bridges was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of blood cancer, back in 2020. In early 2021, while he was undergoing chemotherapy, he caught Covid-19 as well.
- Family support through life’s challenges, even cancer treatment, can make the world of a difference, whether it’s support from friends, family, spouses, or fellow cancer fighters in a support group.
Beau, who is eight years older than Jeff, recently opened up about the most important things he and his siblings learned growing up. The 81-year-old actor, who began his career as a child star in the 1948 movie “Force of Evil,” and 73-year-old Bridges, also have two other siblings, Garrett Myles Bridges who passed away at just six weeks old from sudden infant death and actress Cindy Bridges, 73.Read More
Beau, born Lloyd Vernet Bridges III, first recounted acting in the series “hearts of the West” with his father, saying, “I really loved making that series. My dad and I had a lot of scenes together.
“He was a regular in it with me. And so for that reason, it was really wonderful to work with my teacher, my mentor,” he explained.
It’s clear how Beau and Jeff’s family thrived in the field of acting, but it appears their success stemmed from more than just from following in their parents’ career footsteps.
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He continued, “We weren’t really a ‘Hollywood’ family. My dad was a successful actor, but I don’t think he would’ve said that about himself. And it frustrated me.
“But he wanted us to really live a life of service. He had friends from all walks of life. He and my mom appreciated diversity of all kinds, and that inspired us.”
Beau, a father of five and grandfather of six, also praised his late mom as being “wonderful at bringing the family together.”
Now, both he and Jeff try to have monthly family meet-ups like his parents would plan as children.
And perhaps, the importance of family in the Bridges’ lives is something that helped Jeff Bridges during his battle with lymphoma.
In a previous interview with Billy Shore, founder and chairman of the Share Our Strength podcast, the Jeff and his daughter Isabelle explained what inspired them to write and illustrate their children’s book Daddy Daughter Day.
“As you get older, you realize that the value you have and what’s really precious in life are these family relationships. And there’s no stronger relationship that you can have outside your family,” Jeff said.
“That’s the greatest relationship and to nourish that, give that relationship that nutrition so it can grow and develop… some magical things can happen.”
Jeff Bridges’ Lymphoma Battle
Jeff Bridges went public with his lymphoma cancer diagnosis on social media in October 2020, saying, “I have a great team of doctors, and the prognosis is good.”
He received his non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis not long after “The Old Man” production was paused in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a cancer of a type of white blood cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system.
Bridges, who also battled COVID-19 during his cancer treatment, underwent chemotherapy and ultimately became cancer-free after his tumor decreased in size.
By September 2021, the actor revealed on his blog that his lymphoma had entered remission.
“The 9 x 12 mass has shrunk down to the size of a marble,” Bridges wrote. “Covid kicked my ass pretty good, but I’m double vaccinated and feeling much better now.”
In a previous interview with Esquire, Bridges said the hard times gave him more appreciation for life, saying “I’ll be honest. I didn’t know if I was going to make it. I was on death’s door there for a while in the hospital. When I finally went back to work, after a two-year hiatus, it was the most bizarre kind of thing. It felt like a dream.”
“I came back after all that time, and saw the same faces [while shooting The Old Man], the same cast and crew,” he added. “It was like we had a long weekend. I gathered everyone and I said, ‘I had the most bizarre dream, you guys.’ I was sick and out, but all that feels like a gray mush now.”
Bridges is the star and executive producer of the FX show, which is based on Thomas Perry’s bestselling novel of the same title.
In “The Old Man,” he acts as Dan Chase, an ex-CIA member who’s being hunted by assassin Gbenga Akinnagbe.
What is Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma?
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which has a few different subtypes, starts in a type of white blood cell known as the lymphocytes, which are part of the immune system. Once a diagnosis is received, a doctor must determine whether the cancer is indolent (slow-growing) or aggressive, and if the lymphocytes being affected are B-cells or T-cells.
“For patients with indolent lymphomas, sometimes patients may not require therapy at the time of diagnosis, if they’re asymptomatic or have a low burden of disease, whereas patients with more aggressive lymphoma would require initiation of treatment,” Dr. Jennifer Crombie, a medical oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, told SurvivorNet in an earlier interview.
Dr. Crombie noted that when a patient is diagnosed with an aggressive type of lymphoma, saying. “We do treat patients with chemotherapy.
“That’s the standard of care, and our most common regimen that we use for patients is something called R-CHOP.”
Support & Gratitude Through Cancer
Support through cancer treatment can make the world of a difference, whether it’s support from friends, family, spouses, or fellow cancer fighters in a support group.
In an earlier interview, Cedars-Sinai’s Dr. Zuri Murrell shares the importance of gratitude and having a positive attitude through cancer. He says, “My patients who thrive, even with stage 4 cancer, from the time that they, about a month after they’re diagnosed, I kind of am pretty good at seeing who is going to be OK.”
“Now doesn’t that mean I’m good at saying that the cancer won’t grow,” he says.
“But I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patient are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff