I have been blessed with opportunity in my life, and it took the near-death of my dad to make me realize that my purpose in life is to help others. My dad was diagnosed with leukemia in 1998 and watching the pain and treatment that he endured inspired me to be a more kind and giving person. It was like a smack in the face as I woke up one morning and realized life is just too short and it was time for me to make some changes – do the things in life that I wanted to do without making excuses why I couldn’t do them, or telling myself that I had plenty of time to do things. Well, you never know when your hourglass will run out of sand. The time was now.
My dad needed a bone marrow transplant. He was given a procedure in which he was able to reuse his own “cleaned” marrow so a separate donor was not needed. That was excellent news as donors that are a match are hard to come by. The process inspired me to become a bone marrow donor and hopefully help someone else one day. I also ran a marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I barely made it to the finish line, but all I could think about was that I had to finish. The so-called pain I was in was nothing compared to what cancer patients go through.
Yet, I was not satisfied with just that. I had to do more. I became an organ donor (I thought, well, if my organs can help someone else live, I’m not going to know the difference anyway!). I donate blood every other month since I don’t need a surplus of it. I now thrive on doing anonymous acts of kindness, and seek opportunities to do so daily. Some days the opportunity presents itself very clearly and some days I have to seek it out. Either way, it comes.
I would like to leave you all with one of my favorite quotes from the late and great, Mister Rogers:
“I recently learned that in an average lifetime a person walks about sixty-five thousand miles. That's two and half times around the world. I wonder where your steps will take you. I wonder how you'll use the rest of the miles you're given.”
I want to use my miles to create footprints of love in this world.