Stephanie Hubbard shares the story of her husband's journey

After learning that her husband had multiple myeloma, Stephanie committed herself to helping him through treatment so they could live life to the fullest for as much time as they had left together. Now she's sharing her story to honor the life and legacy left by her late husband, Leonard “Hub” Hubbard, the original bassist for the Roots.

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Stephanie: “One, to let people know that it exists. Hub and I did not know that it exists. We didn't know that his family members had it, because there was a lack of communication.”

D.L.: “Um, um, what's your name?”

Stephanie: “Stephanie Hubbard.”

D.L.: “Um, and you are?”

Stephanie: “The wife of Leonard Hubbard.”

D.L.: “Um, and you were married, uh, you were married to Leonard Hubbard. How long?”

Stephanie: “Oh, we were married for six years, but we were together since 2000.”

D.L.: “Since 2000. You gonna make me do the math, huh? Uhhuh <affirmative>. I gotta carry the one in here.

Stephanie: “Uh-huh.” <laugh>.

D.L.: “How did you, uh, how did you meet Leonard?”

Stephanie: “Well, you know, we've known each other since I was six-years old.”

D.L.: “Wow.”

Stephanie: “So we grew up in the same neighborhood.”

D.L.: “Did you, um, you remember when you first started deciding you guys were going to be a thing? Six years old is kinda early to be making a commitment.”

Stephanie: “Yeah. No, it was in the summertime. I think it was 2000 and I saw him walking up Chestnut Street. And he approached me, gave me three numbers. I lost them.”

D.L.: “On purpose?”

Stephanie: “No, no not on purpose. But then eventually, um, I was doing a show at the Liacouras Center, and they asked me if I knew The Roots, and since he had told me that’s a group that he was in um I went to his mom’s house, gave my number, and then he called me, and that’s how we hooked back up.”

D.L.: “And the rest was history.”

Stephanie: “Oh, yeah.”

D.L.: “It is a fact that multiple myeloma disproportionately affects Black communities. To bring awareness to this silent threat, I sat down with the loved ones of luminaries we lost to the disease as a part of the That’s My Word campaign. It’s all about real people, who keep it real on the topic of multiple myeloma and speak to the true impact the disease has on us. That’s My Word.”

D.L.: “Do you remember, um, how you discovered that he had MM?”

Stephanie: “One day, I just asked him to go to the doctor, you know. And, um...”

D.L.: “Was it something that prompted you to ask him to go?”

Stephanie: “Nope. When I look back, it's like divine inspiration.”

D.L.: “So you come home one day and you're like, hey, you need to go to the doctor.”

Stephanie: “Mm-hmm.” <affirmative>

D.L.: “, no. He wasn't feeling anything. He was asymptomatic.”

Stephanie: “Asymptomatic. I just said it, you know. And like I said, when I think back on it and think about what happened since then, his journey since then, I say divine inspiration because there was no reason for me to ask him.”

D.L.: “And then you did find out he had It. Did. Were you aware what it was at that point?”

Stephanie: “Not at all. Neither one of us knew what it was. And he was told that it was terminal. You know, I know that I was mad at God.”

D.L.: “Yeah.”

Stephanie: “Why would… My mom passed from cancer, her brother, sister, a lot of people in my family, and I was angry about making that emotional investment, you know, and then to find out that he had terminal cancer. But then afterwards I realized, it's not my journey, it's his. So I told him, I said, ’You know what? We are going to live until we die, and we're gonna laugh until we have a reason to cry’”

Stephanie: “And that’s how, you know, we lived the rest of his days . . .not looking at the clock, but just living.”

D.L.: “Um, did he have anything like that in his family at all? Was there any, like, potential hereditary component that contributed to, uh, his diagnosis?”

Stephanie: “Through exposing to his family of, you know, that he had multiple myeloma, it prompted conversation, and a cousin said, ‘Well, you know, my father died of that’. And that was his father's brother. So there's an uncle, right? Multiple myeloma. No, he had never known about it. Then someone else said on his mother's side, her sister had multiple myeloma. So you have an aunt and an uncle.”

D.L.: “So a genetic, uh, connection.”

Stephanie: “Yeah. And then the next generation here, he developed it, you know, so, uh, that was interesting because he didn't know until he introduced that conversation to his family.”

D.L.: “So, I mean, just having that information that somebody—cause doctors ask you: ‘Does anybody have this? Have that, what did he die of?’ It's so, it's so crazy that our families, people are passing on. And we never ask why.”

Stephanie: “And since, you know, finding out that he had it, I've suggested to his other family members: ‘Okay. That's three people. I think you guys should be checked out. To see if, you know, ask him to do certain, these certain types of tests to see...’”

D.L.: “What, what, what are the tests?”

Stephanie: “...through blood and urine. With him he had a lot of protein in his urine and they sent him to a kidney specialist.”

D.L.: “This is your new assignment, your new purpose.”

Stephanie: “Yes. Yep.”

D.L.: “What do you hope to give people? What do you hope they gain from your story, uh, and other stories?”

Stephanie: “One, to let people know that it exists. Hub, and I did not know that it exists. We didn't know that his family members had it, because there was a lack of communication. Right. Hopefully people will begin to ask questions about it, get the facts about it, have family conversations, and do some research. Ask the doctor. Go to the doctor.

I, I hope, my hope is that people would begin to look into this thing and realize that it affects African Americans more than other cultures. They’re, dying at a faster rate than other cultures as a result of the, you know, this condition.

But to detect it early, like Hub did, the doctors thought he would live two years, but God gave him 14. What are the chances? And everybody says, 'Oh, wow. That, that's a miracle.' Is it really a miracle or is it common sense to get early treatment?”

D.L.: “If, if Hub were here today, what advice do you think he'd have for us?”

Stephanie: “If he were here… to go to the doctor regularly, to inquire about multiple myeloma, to, just because you have no symptoms, don't think that you're okay. Because he was asymptomatic, you know, and he would definitely advise people to, you know, get regular checkups.”

D.L.: “Let me hear a little bit more about your involvement in the That’s My Word promise drive. Like, what is, what is your involvement in it?”

Stephanie: “Share my testimony. To share my experience to, you know, try to encourage people to make a promise, to find out about the facts of multiple myeloma, you know, to point them in the direction. There's a website, And you can actually go there. And a lot of the information that Hub and I were able to gather is right there. It's just a swipe, tap, or click.