Raskin has been sporting a bandanna he got from his rock-and-roll idol

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Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.) is seldom seen and not using a bandanna on his head in latest days. The congressman is present process chemotherapy and began shedding his hair this month.

“Once I’m sporting it, I overlook about [the cancer],” Raskin mentioned. He was diagnosed with diffuse large B cell lymphoma in December and began outpatient chemo-immunotherapy on the final day of 2022 — the second anniversary of his son’s death.

Raskin mentioned his docs have detected optimistic outcomes already and he’s feeling hopeful. “All I can say is, thus far, so good,” he mentioned, explaining that he simply accomplished his third of six chemo classes.

Nonetheless, it hasn’t been straightforward. He’s had lethargy and lack of urge for food, in addition to sudden, unwelcome adjustments in his look.

“We’ve obtained some very good-looking, stunning individuals with out hair,” Raskin mentioned, including that he doesn’t suppose baldness fits him.

As he seen his hair falling out, “I instantly thought of Little Steven, who I’ve all the time beloved,” he mentioned, referring to rock-and-roll musician Steven Van Zandt. “Little Steven was my inspiration.”

Van Zandt — who’s a member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band, and performed consigliere Silvio Dante on “The Sopranos” — is thought for his trademark bandannas.

When Van Zandt heard that Raskin had been crediting him for his personal chemo head masking, he was touched.

“That was an honor to me, and I needed to reciprocate that fantastic gesture,” mentioned Van Zandt, who’s on tour and determined to ship Raskin some bandannas from his personal provide. “I simply needed to indicate a little bit solidarity.”

He put collectively a package deal in his resort room.

“I despatched him 5 scarves from my private assortment right here on the highway, and after I get residence in just a few weeks, I’ll ship him some extra,” Van Zandt mentioned.

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Raskin obtained the bandannas — which Van Zandt had beforehand worn (and washed earlier than sending) — on Saturday. The congressman mentioned he was shocked by the considerate reward.

“I used to be so blown away and moved,” he mentioned. Evidently, Raskin mentioned, “he realized that I wanted a vogue improve.”

After privately thanking the musician, Raskin shared the story on Twitter. “The response was fairly overwhelming,” he mentioned, including that individuals started sharing their own cancer stories and saluting Van Zandt’s kindness.

“I’m hoping for a speedy and full restoration for him,” Van Zandt mentioned. “A part of that’s preserving his spirits up, so if this helps maintain his spirits up, then all the higher.”

Van Zandt started sporting bandannas as a youngster, they usually grew to become a everlasting fixture in his wardrobe within the Nineteen Seventies, after he was concerned in a automobile crash that left him with a number of scars on his head. His hair by no means grew again correctly, he mentioned, so he began masking his head. It shortly grew to become his signature fashion.

“I used to be sporting the bandannas sometimes anyway, and truly it was Bruce that recommended to me that I simply put on them on a regular basis,” mentioned Van Zandt, 72, who wrote in regards to the crash in his latest memoir, “Unrequited Infatuations.”

The bandannas Van Zandt despatched Raskin function intricate but refined designs. Some are muted, and others are extra colourful.

“Whoever is making his scarves is just like the Michelangelo of bandannas,” Raskin mentioned. “They’re actually in a category of their very own. These are a murals.”

Plus, he mentioned, they’re greater than different bandannas and “additionally they have this little rock-star tail, which supplies it a little bit little bit of angle.”

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Van Zandt mentioned his sister-in-law, Lori Santoro, who’s a designer, makes all his bandannas by hand.

“She’s been doing my garments for years,” he mentioned.

Along with listening to from Van Zandt, Raskin has obtained calls and messages of help from Nils Lofgren, who can be a member of the E Road Band and grew up in Maryland.

“I’ve been a Bruce Springsteen and E Road fan for many of my life,” Raskin mentioned. “I like these guys. I’ve been to 13 concert events.”

Raskin mentioned his respect for Van Zandt, specifically, deepened whereas he was in school and regulation faculty.

“He was anyone that my associates and I actually appeared as much as,” he mentioned. “We have been attempting to get all these universities to divest from South Africa. He had organized all the rockers to boycott apartheid South Africa.”

“He was very a lot a hero to us,” Raskin mentioned. “He believes within the connection between music and politics and expression, and I consider in that, too.”

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When Raskin began shedding his hair, “I thought of how he all the time wore a bandanna. I didn’t know why he did, however I assumed it was a cool look, and I assumed ‘perhaps I’ll do what he did,’” he mentioned. “I ventured off by myself and obtained some bandannas.”

The congressman’s new look “was greeted with combined critiques,” he mentioned. “Some individuals mentioned it appeared all proper, some individuals mentioned I appeared like a pirate.”

In any case, Raskin has continued sporting bandannas, and he shrugs off the occasional mockery.

“Individuals have despatched me snarky stuff, however that’s all proper,” he mentioned. “On Capitol Hill we attempt to follow the substance.”

Since his prognosis, Raskin — who has continued to work throughout remedy — mentioned “individuals have been tremendous supportive on each side of the aisle.”

“For me, it’s been a fortifying expertise figuring out that there’s a stage of humanity and affection that underlies all the political battle and discord,” he mentioned.

The kindness that has been proven to him — together with by Van Zandt — has been a salve throughout a turbulent time, he mentioned.

“He’s fearless and he’s a freedom fighter and he’s all the time enthusiastic about different individuals,” Raskin mentioned of Van Zandt. “That makes him a task mannequin for me.”

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