Today is World Cancer Day and while some are still hungover from Groundhog Day or National Signing Day (hey, we do live in the heart of SEC country!), I'm going to take a moment to ask you to do something different.
IMAGE FROM: World Cancer Day 2016-2018, http://www.worldcancerday.org/about/2016-2018-world-cancer-day-campaign
I want you to write a love letter to a cancer survivor.
I'm going to, and I'm sharing it here for all to read. Yes, I've shied away from associating Verge Pipe Media with celebrity and feel good causes and played it safe with political alignments, i.e., we don't do it. But today is different. It's personal and here's why: my wife is a cancer survivor.
Just about five years ago she went to see the dermatologist after I'd begged, pleaded and finally threatened to abduct her and take her myself. Not long after that visit, we learned she had Stage II Melanoma. One surgery and several tests later, we learned it was aggressive and actually Stage III and had spread into her lymph nodes. The next week was a whirlwind of action in doctors offices and hospitals as a year-long treatment plan was mapped out. By May, we were going daily for her treatments.
In the middle of the diagnosis, surgeries, planning and then treatment, our daughter celebrated her 1st birthday.
PHOTO BY Joyce Wilson Photographer
In the midst of the year-long cancer treatment, Verge Pipe Media was born. Literally. I learned in that time together I was nothing close to being a nurse and my 'single' parenting skills weren't much better. I needed her, our children needed her and Verge Pipe Media needed her. If anything, VPM came about because of her cancer and our time together as a fairly newly wed couple and even newer parents.
PHOTO BY T2 Photography
She's been more of a co-founder than anyone could be. She's never asked what her equity stake was going to be, asked for a day-off and certainly never given an excuse. Heck, she rarely lets me take a day-off or give an excuse. Verge Pipe Media means that much to her too.
We've had more than a few employees over the past five years who've whined their way into a life outside of Verge Pipe Media. She was far more gracious than I was at their exit. We've had far more interns or employees who've excelled - bought into the vision - and she's been as much if not more, celebratory for them as they've taken the next step in their professional career. She's got a unique way of being an owner and maintaining a sense of compassion for those who've taken more than they've left.
She's always listened and been honest in her assessment of my plans, vision and struggles, sometimes painfully so.
I can't tell you how many times, exhausted as she was from treatment and a life that had taken more than a few cruel swings at her, she propped herself up and listened to my ramblings about social media campaigns, blog posts, website designs and more.
A friend recently commented on one of my VPM Facebook posts, "So happy for you!! Your determination to succeed is admirable. Every time you get knocked down, you get right back up and get'r done. #agencylife"
The truth is, Katie is my inspiration. I've wanted to quit. I've wanted to sell. I've come close to both at least twice now. But at each turn, she's there - her hair returned more resplendent than ever, her smile twice as bright, and her scars-now-badges living proof that at least once in this life, she stared down an ugly cancer and beat it soundly.
So this is my ask of you: go find that cancer fighter and / or survivor in your life and write them a quick love letter. Tell them how they inspire or uplift you with their daily accomplishments. Give them a hug or a kiss if possible. Hold their hand, take them to lunch or buy them a cupcake.
I don't mean to take away from World Cancer Day. I'm sure it's a wonderful organization with incredible goals and accomplishments of its own. But today, make a meaningful impact right away, with someone you know personally and make it World Write a Love Letter to a Cancer Survivor Day.