This Ain't No Ice Bucket Challenge. Please Read.

Mitch JoelPosted by

Here’s a simple truth about me: I don’t like asking you for anything.

I don’t. I don’t like asking you to share my content. I don’t like asking you to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or whatever. I don’t like asking for help, in general. It’s a fault. I’m not perfect. With that, I love sharing, helping and making myself as readily available to as many people as possible. I publish this blog, the podcast, my two books (Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete), articles in Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post and Inc. Magazine  and more, because I want people to think differently about their business and their marketing. I don’t take for granted the amazing opportunity that social media has brought, in terms of taking an individual’s thinking and being able to share it with the world in such an instant and real-time fashion.

Well, I need your help. I’m asking for your help.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had another crazy year of people that I know and love getting some form of cancer. Many didn’t make it, but here’s a deeply, personal story: It was beautiful and perfect sunny day on August 25th, 2010. I was flying from Montreal to Toronto for a business pitch. 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 – one of the hardest moments in 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. I went into a tailspin.

It makes no sense.

Leah’s courage throughout this nightmare is what pulled everyone through – family and friends. If there were ever a definition for the word "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 is happily in remission.

She’s lucky, but many, many people 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 18th, I will be joining thousands of people walking in twilight carrying illuminated balloons to fight this dreaded disease for the fourth year in a row. I’m doing this as a part of Leah’s team. I’ll be walking with Leah and her family.

I’m asking you to do one thing for me.

I do my best to put out six blog posts and one audio podcast every week. This makes it close to four thousand entries over the years. 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 over the past decade, I have offered up countless pieces that added value to your work (at least, I hope I have!). 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 leukemia with no family history of the problem. Nothing. Now, Leah (who is in remission) will have to deal with this for the rest of her life. Other families aren’t even granted that luxury.

Please help.

I set a goal of $5000 to raise from friends and family. The truth is that I would love to crack the $10,000 mark. 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. I know that a lot of you probably took part in the #IceBucketChallenge (as I did). But, 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.

If you can find it in your heart to give, please do so right here: Light The Night Walk.

How about a little giver’s gain?

As a "thank you," here’s what I am offering:

  • Whoever donates the most money gets me for a one-hour get together. It can be via Skype, phone or in-person (meaning, if you’re in Montreal or if I happen to be travelling to wherever it is that you live). It will be a social meeting, but you can feel free to ask me anything. Lunch is on me. I’ll also include a signed copy of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete.
  • Whoever comes in next will get a signed copy of Six Pixels of Separation and CTRL ALT Delete, plus a business book bundle that will include three great new books that just came out. Namely: Unselling by Scott Stratten and Alison Kramer, How The World Sees You By Sally Hogshead and The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau.
  • I will also do a random draw and give away five sets of two "special" tickets to The Art Of… event of your choice. This is just the tickets, so you will have to handle travel, accommodations, etc…

Now, it’s your turn. Please help out. Please help me spread the good word. Thank you.

My friend – who is Leah’s father – wrote the following song and performed it. This should add some more context to my ask…