My Heroes

About Us

This piece was presented by Susan Shinagawa at the inaugural meeting of the AANCART Steering Committee on April 25, 2000, in honor of AANCART's "heroic effort" to reduce cancer health disparities in the Asian American population. Below, please find a note from Susan explaining the history of the recording, an audio link, and the song's lyrics. We are incredibly grateful to Susan who has generously allowed us to include this piece on the AANCART website.

Music & Lyrics by Susan Matsuko Shinagawa

I am delighted to present this recording of an original song I composed following completion of my treatment for primary breast cancer. I wrote and recorded the song in early 1993, and then in June of 1993, I premiered the song in a live performance with the San Diego Children's Choir for grand finale of a special multimedia show for the 1993 National Cancer Survivors' Day (NCSD) Celebration: Heroes, in San Diego, California.

My Heroes was the first in a trilogy of songs that allowed me to give expression to and recover from my first cancer diagnosis. It was also a "thank you" to the many people who guided me, nourished me, humored me, nurtured me, and loved me through my cancer experience. It was my gift of thanks and love to them.

The impact of this song only became apparent to me when, in 1994 - 12 months following its premiere performance - an oncology nurse, Joy, asked me if I still had any tapes of my song. She told me that one of her cancer patients had attended the 1993 NCSD event the preceding year, had remembered and enjoyed my performance, and now wanted a tape. I was more than happy to oblige her, and gave Joy a copy of the tape to pass on to her patient with my compliments.

When I next ran into Joy three weeks later, she told me that her patient had died. But before her death she had arranged for the tape of My Heroes to be played at her funeral as her own personal "thank you" and "good-bye" to her family and friends. It was then, and I believe will always be, the greatest compliment I will ever receive.

I am delighted to have this opportunity to share my music - a gift of love - with you. I hope you will enjoy it.

Wishing you good health and much love,

-Susan

" My Heroes"

 

Heroes are everywhere, they're in the faces that we meet.
Heroes are here and there, they're in the friendships that we keep.
Hands to hold when we feel all alone, help us to face the unknown,
Give us the strength to go on.
Smiles that light up the darkest of nights, tell us that we'll be all right.
These are my Heroes.

Heroes are family. They love us more than we could know.
Heroes, you'll always be nurturing minds and hearts that grow.
Silly jokes make us laugh till we cry, tears someone always wipes dry,
Friends who call just to say "hi".
Hearts who give so that others can heal, caring we know that is real.
These are my heroes.

Giving, and caring, and fighting to win.
Open my heart, let your love come on in.

Heroes, you're in my heart. Give me the will to carry on.
Heroes, we'll never part. You make each day a brand new song.
Dreams I dare to dream yet to unfold, life stories yet to be told,
Memories, sweet, made of gold.
No matter what my tomorrows may bring, I've got a song left to sing,
To you, my Heroes.

Giving, and caring, and fighting to win.
Open my heart, let your love come on in.

Heroes, you're in my heart. Give me the will to carry on.
Heroes, we'll never part. You make each day a brand new song.
Dreams I dare to dream yet to unfold, life stories yet to be told,
Memories, sweet, made of gold.
No matter what my tomorrows may bring, I've got a song left to sing,
For you my Heroes. Thank you my Heroes.
You are my Heroes.

 

 

 

Produced by Susan Matsuko Shinagawa. Recorded at Powerhouse Productions, San Diego, CA, May 1993.
Words and Music by Susan M. Shinagawa. Musical arrangement by Scott Smith. Vocals: Susan M. Shinagawa. Piano and synthesizer: Scott Smith. Guitar: Jaime Kaime. Drums: Kirk Arnold. Engineered and mixed by Kirk Arnold.
Dedicated to my family and to heroes everywhere. Thank you to all the musicians who donated their time and talent to this project, and to Kirk Arnold at Powerhouse Productions who donated much of the studio recording time. Special thanks to Ms. Dani Grady and Ms. Cinda Lucas for their support, and to Mr. Scott Smith for bringing this music to life.
Copyright Susan M. Shinagawa, 1993. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction or use of this recording is a violation of Federal Law and subject to prosecution.