The musician gave a health update about his bestselling author wife: “She’s doing so much better after her [bone marrow] transplant"
Jon Batiste said his wife Suleika Jaouad’s leukemia struggle “has been a blessing to us”
The Grammy winner said it made them “realize how much really matters”
Best-selling author Jaouad is undergoing treatment for her second bout with leukemia
Musician Jon Batiste is sharing the surprising way his wife Suleika Jaouad’s leukemia struggle has brought them an even deeper appreciation for everything that they have together — even calling it a blessing.
Jaouad, the author of the best-selling memoir Between Two Kingdoms, underwent a bone-marrow transplant in February of 2022 — right after the couple got married in secret.
But Jaouad, 35, said Batiste, 36, told her that her illness didn’t factor into his proposal.
"He said to me, 'I just want to be very clear, I'm not proposing to you because of this diagnosis. It's taken me a year to design your ring. So, just know this timing has nothing to do with it. But what I do want you to know is that this diagnosis doesn't change anything. It just makes it all the clearer to me that I want to commit to this and for us to be together,'" Jaouad said.
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"But once we realized we had this tiny window before the bone marrow transplant, we decided to go for it."
Batiste and Jaouad were able to get their marriage license quickly and had a "tiny" and "perfect" wedding, adding that they "used bread ties" instead of formal wedding rings.
"And I'll tell you, we walked into that bone marrow transplant unit on cloud nine," Jaouad added. "We were so happy, so brimming with love and positivity from this beautiful evening that we'd had. And I really believe that that carried us through."
The Grammy-winning musician reiterated that sentiment on Monday’s Sherri, saying, “When you get that close to the veil of life, you realize how much really matters. You realize how much we have in the moment, and that’s really all we have. This. “
“So, as wild as it is to say, I think this season has been a blessing to us.”
Last month, Batiste told PEOPLE that his wife is “doing great” amid her treatments, and was even recently able to go paragliding over the Swiss mountains.
“We were able to do things this year that last year were impossible,” he said. “She has a level of appreciation for life and being in the world that is profound. Everything is going as great as it can go, and we just pray that it continues.”
Jaouad was just 22 when she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a form of leukemia that targets the blood and bone marrow. According to a March 2021 interview with Health magazine, she was given a 35% chance of survival.
She documented her experience as a young adult battling cancer in the New York Times column and video series, Life, Interrupted, which went on to win an Emmy Award. On Dec. 1, 2021, Jaouad announced in her newsletter that her leukemia had returned.
Jaouad is still undergoing treatment — and she recently shared a photo on her Instagram, taken by her husband, in a hospital bed at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.
“Still winning,” she captioned the photo, where she’s playing a word game with her best friend, journalist Lizzie Presser.
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