It's always difficult to put someone's challenges in the public limelight, but since you are an entertainer and are used to the shine..."
That is the intro Hey, Spike! used to get the ball rolling with Leon Joseph Littlebird, who is again facing health issues with the resurfacing of leukemia he beat before.
The popular native Colorado songwriter, singer, guitarist and flute player, is also a veteran ski instructor and trainer.
Now at 62, Leon is in his 59th year of skiing up at A-Basin, where he's been a trainer for six years, following eight years at Copper Mountain Resort and 29 years leading ski instructor clinics.
Leon's father was born in Silverplume in 1899 and his grandfather in Blackhawk in 1863.
"My mother was born in Taos in 1911, and my Navajo heritage comes from her side of the family," he explains.
As you read this, Leon is in the midst of a three-week regimen of treatment down in Boulder at the Healing River Restorative Center, where Lynn Thore is the owner and therapist.
"My experience here is truly wonderful. A progressive protocol of holistic treatments in a loving environment surrounded with healing energy," Leon notes. "I am learning so much about how the body heals in a natural way."
"My first experience with leukemia was 17 years ago and I survived radical chemotherapy," says Leon.
Here are some more of Leon's thoughts in his own words:
"Four years ago, while in the hospital for pneumonia, the doctors did some tests and informed me that I had leukemia again. I consulted a couple doctors I trust and they all agreed.
"Turns out, they wanted to put me back on the same chemo that did not work 17 years ago, only now they do it every four years. No way will I ever do that again.
"So, for the last four years, as you know, I have been a pretty healthy and very happy guy. This summer I had some of the greatest experiences of my life, real bucket list stuff - like running the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, as a gig. Thing is, I have known I was getting sicker for about a year now - just could not admit it to anyone but myself.
"The last few months have been really difficult. Symptoms are getting more profound all the time. No skiing for awhile, my spleen is painfully swollen and a fall would be dangerous."
"This time I am doing a progressive treatment protocol that will heal the disease holistically."
"I am surrounded with love and healing energy here, and have a full schedule of treatments each day for three weeks," he adds. "My lifestyle will change as well, a healthier and more centered me."
Leon expresses his appreciation of the support this way:
"My friends and the whole community have given me so much support. I am so grateful and blessed by their incredible energy. Their outpouring of love and prayers is making the healing happen."
The Tom Fricke photo of Leon is from the recent "Circle of Dreams" concert with Len Rhodes at Dillon's Lord of the Mountains Lutheran Church in November.
Tom is a good friend of Leon's and well known as a radio personality.
Together they do the "SnowShow" on Krystal 93 FM every Saturday and Sunday morning at 8 during ski season.
In addition to teaching skiing and his performances, Leon conducts marriage ceremonies.
"The sacred blessings at weddings, of which I do about 20-25 a year, all honor the traditions of the ancestors indigenous to our holy land," he says. "I work with each couple to make sure it is a fit for them and expresses their love and union."
There are plans in the works for a benefit concert/silent auction in January to help Leon with all the expenses, which are many.
"For now, just keep holding me in your thoughts and prayers and sending all that good energy you have always sent me," says Leon.
"That is how I will heal and once again rise above this challenge, growing stronger and wiser in the process."
"Many sacred blessings ..."
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed "Spike," a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran,
former Climax miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-
winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years.
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