September 29 is always a tough day for me because it’s the birthday of my friend and partner Ralph Mercado. Ralph was diagnosed with a brain tumor just weeks before my son Cristian, and he and Cristian passed away from their respective brain tumors a few weeks apart as well. Ironically, Ralph’s birthday on September 29 is also just a few weeks after Cristian’s birthday on September 13. So three times each year, I’m hit especially hard as I remember two important people who left my life too soon: on their birthdays, the anniversaries of their diagnosis and the anniversaries of their passing. I try to focus on the fond memories I shared with Ralph. Usually around his birthday, Ralph and I would have a concert at the Hollywood Bowl. We would always celebrate his birthday on the last Saturday of September in Los Angeles. Ralph was such a pioneer in the Tropical Music industry and he is someone who started so many careers for artists and executives alike. He was one of my idols. He was a mentor, a partner, a father figure and a friend. How ironic that I lost Ralph and my son to brain tumors. I can’t wait for the day when brain tumors are a thing of the past.