I met Bebe Moore Campbell while she was on tour for her book 72 Hour Hold. I was hosting a morning show for a local New York City radio station and it would be one of the last interviews she would do.

I had no idea at the time how sick she was. Nor did I realize at the time that her book was inspired by the very real mental illness that her own daughter, actress Maia Campbell, was struggling through.

What impressed me that day were her grace and the steely passion in which she used her gift as a writer to bring light to a very real disease that far too many people refuse to acknowledge.

In our interview she talked about this eight-year “journey” with “a family member,” who she did not name, and how at first she was reluctant to even talk about it publicly. But as any great writer will do, she found a vehicle through her gift to deliver a larger message of pain, acceptance and endurance. And she did it beautifully in fiction.

Feb. 18th would have been Bebe Moore Campbell’s 63rd birthday. While we celebrate those known folks during the month of February—the seemingly usual suspects—we must never forget those not-so-famous people whose works may not have sold millions of copies, but whose words have touched lives and whose spirit opened doors for others