It was beautiful and perfect sunny day on August 25h, 2010.
I was flying from Montreal to Toronto for a business pitch (ironically, it was the Canadian Cancer Society). I was happy with life – family, business and community were all going along great. I remember looking out of the plane window into the clear blue horizon and thinking, “life is good. I am very lucky.” I was looking forward to landing because I was about to call my best friend to let him know that my family was expecting a new baby. I’ve known this person for my whole life. I can’t remember them not being a part of my life or a friend. He was the first call outside of my immediate family with the good news. He always is. When the flight landed, I received a phone call from him. I was smiling to myself thinking, “this is perfect! He’s calling me!”
That’s when my world collapsed.
He told me that his beautiful, young daughter, Leah (who was five years old), had cancer… leukemia. How could that be? A few weeks prior she was at my kid’s Birthday party, laughing, playing… perfect. Now… Leukemia? It was – without a question – the hardest moment of my life… trying to understand and take in what my best friend was telling me about his daughter… who I would treat as my own daughter in terms of love and care.
It makes no sense.
The stress, tears and worry since that day has been non-stop, persistent and draining. Leah’s courage throughout this nightmare is what pulled everyone through – family and friends. If there were ever a definition for “survivor” it is Leah. After a lengthy and hard battle, she is – thankfully – in remission and back home where she belongs: with her family and friends.
She’s lucky, but many, many kids are not this lucky.
Now, it’s our turn to make a difference. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada‘s Light The Night Walk is a night to pay tribute and bring hope to all those affected by blood cancer. On October 15th, I will be joining thousands of people walking in twilight carrying illuminated balloons to fight this dreaded disease. I’m doing this as a part of Leah’s team. I’ll be walking with Leah and her family. Leah didn’t deserve cancer of the blood… nobody does.
I’m asking you to do something for me.
This will be my ninth year of Blogging. I do my best to put out six Blog posts and one audio podcast every week. This makes it close to three thousand entries over the years. In all of that time, I have only asked for something twice: The first time, it was to help spread the word about my business book, Six Pixels of Separation (for which everyone responded in a humbling and kind way). The second, was a few weeks ago in conjunction with the launch of the End Malaria book (of which I was one of over sixty contributors) as a part of Seth Godin‘s The Domino Project (the book did great! It hit #2 on Amazon and raised tons of money to buy mosquito nets for those in need). This will be the third time. In a perfect world, I’d prefer to not ask for help (those who know me, personally, can attest that I struggle with asking for help). In all instances, I try to make the ask something that has more value to the person actually taking action. Meaning, I prefer when the value of the ask is balanced not towards the person asking, but to those who participate. I’m confident that on all three occasions, this has been the outcome. This isn’t about me raising money. It’s about our kids and the randomness and cruelty that is leukemia and because none of us are safe. Leah got a cold that turned into a virus that triggered leukemia with no family history. Nothing. Now, Leah (who is in remission) will have to deal with this for the rest of her life.
I set a goal of $2500 to raise from friends and family. That goal was surpassed to the tune of $4000, but there’s more work to be done. Leah’s team has set a goal of $20,000. I do realize that times are tough and many of us are watching our wallets just a little bit closer than we usually have, but please consider giving something. You know the saying, "every dollar counts." If over the years, any of my content has struck a chord with you, made you smile, made you see your business world in a different way, I hope that you will consider this ask as the "tip jar" for my thoughts. Please help me. Please sponsor my walk. Please give generously. Please.
If you can find it in your heart to give, please do so right here: Light The Night Walk.