When I was diagnosed with cancer at 18, a very close relative told me as I was laying knocked out from brain surgery: ‘One day you’ll be speaking about this. When you beat cancer, you’ll have a voice.’
At the time, I immediately disparaged the notion. I was just a high school grad, barely a college freshman, with what I perceived such a limited ability to do much of anything. Speak about it? Hardly.
Who was I? Why would anybody listen to me? What change can I actually make happen?
Some years later- after founding the Vs. Cancer Foundation and raising over $1.5 MM for childhood cancer efforts nationwide- I have learned one consistent theme:we all have the ability to make change happen.
This month, the Vs. Cancer Foundation launched a campaign with Major League Baseball All-Star and Gold Glove recipient, Kyle Seager. I’m biased, as Kyle and his wife Julie are longtime friends and Kyle is former teammate at the University of North Carolina, but again, he proved what we have believed since starting Vs. Cancer.
We all have a platform. And- for Kyle, the evidence is real: within just 10 days of launching seagervscancer.org, we’ve met our goal of $30,000 pledged to help children battle cancer in Seattle and around the country. 10 days. $30,000 pledged. And now- we’re upping that goal to $50,000 to help more kids across the country.
Granted- playing for the Seattle Mariners can’t hurt. Not everybody’s day job involves tens of thousands of fans cheering (or booing) the moment you step into the office. Mine assuredly does not either.
However, what I find wildly interesting is Vs. Cancer’s largest event each year. I get asked consistently- who raises the most? What team does this the best? Pro teams? High profile Division 1 schools?
It’s the West Raleigh Baseball Association, who in two years have raised close to $100,000. That’s right- a small group of 6-12 year olds go out on an annual basis to literally change the culture of what a youth league can do off the playing field.
To that- I can only think what it means for the rest of us.
Assuredly- if you’re reading this, you’re probably not a Major League Baseball player, or a Little Leaguer gearing up for a game this weekend. But what we’ve proven is that it doesn’t matter. We all can make change happen. We all have the ability.
That thought leaves us with the challenge: what can you do with your platform? In your offices, schools, homes- what will you do to help change the life of somebody else? How can you live a little more intentionally, with the goal of giving back?
I look daily to a quote from Seneca: ‘Some lack the fickleness to live as they wish and just live as they have begun.’ Prayerfully, I hope I never lose that fickleness to strive to end childhood cancer. With the Seagers, may they never lose the fickleness to use their platform to impact others.
With ability that we are given- when it doesn’t matter who we are, but rather, what we do- what fickleness will you strive for?