6/28 – A Meaningful Week

Today marks the end of a very meaningful week for me. We held our golf outing to raise money for the MMRF this week. I can’t believe how successful it was! We raised about $40,000 for Multiple Myeloma research and had a perfect mix of friends, family and colleagues at the event. I am so grateful to everyone who participated and donated. If I lived 100 years I could never repay the generosity and kindness bestowed on us this week. It was truly REMARKABLE. Pictures on the link below:

#bradstrong Golfs Against Cancer pictures

As successful as the outing was – I look back with much happiness – but with a few REGRETS:

I REGRET that I didn’t get to spend as much time with people as I should have.

I REGRET that I didn’t give my wife, Helene, even more recognition. She put so much of herself into this event as well as all the other shit we deal with day in and day out.

I REGRET the same about Victor and Ava.

I REGRET that I did not get the chance to thank the volunteers enough – FAMILY and FRIENDS – that came so far and contributed so much to our success.

I REGRET that I had much more to say to the SPONSORS. I had a little blurb written about each of them but I feared speaking too long and wanted to keep the night moving along.

I speak in front of groups every day. It is what I do for a living. Giving presentations. I have NEVER BEEN MORE NERVOUS in my life than I was speaking in front of those who GAVE SO MUCH OF THEMSELVES for our cause. Multiple Myeloma isn’t my cause. It is my FAMILY’S cause and the cause of hundreds of thousands of people around the world who fight the disease every single day. As I said at the dinner – I am HUMBLED and GRATEFUL for the kindness. I plan on this being an annual event and I plan on being there for the next 20 years (at least) to host it. I will do better next year. PROMISE.

One of the people who had fought Multiple Myeloma every single day was a guy named Tom Kowalski. According to his Twitter profile, Tom was “President of Sports Consulting Organization, NFL Career Transition Consultant, Dad, Husband and a Chicago guy fighting Multiple Myeloma and enjoying life.”

On May 28 Tom tweeted: “Always good to report victories in #multiplemyeloma battle. Good report from doc today…”

On June 7 “Chemo this morning topped off with lunch at world famous SuperDawg”

Also June 7 “Enjoying dinner and a Polynesian show at the Tiki Terrace”

On June 16 “Not scoring on the 5-3 power play may mean nothing or may be difference between winning & losing the Cup #NHL

Then… on June 24th… the day before my golf outing someone else tweeted: RIP @tomkowalski #myeloma takes another warrior way too young! I am speechless and heart broken.

WAIT…WHAT? THIS GUY TWO WEEKS AGO WAS TWEETING ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS! Three weeks ago he was eating lunch at SuperDawg and ONE MONTH AGO got a “good report from the doc” – a VICTORY in his battle! WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED IN ONE MONTH?

This one freaked me out. It freaked me out that this disease progressed for this man at such a seemingly rapid pace. Now – I don’t know him – I don’t know the extent of his disease, what his presentation was or if he had any of the associated risk profiles with aggressive Myeloma. What I do know is that in every Twitter interaction I had with him or have seen from him he was FINE. How bad did it get from May 28th to June 24th? What happened?

It hit very close to home – especially on the day before an event where everyone told me how GREAT I looked, how much ENERGY I have and how BRAVE I was. If this happened in one month’s time to this man – could it happen to anyone? Could it happen to me?

So it has been a meaningful week. I had a great accomplishment. I had a few regrets. I have a deeper love and appreciation for my family, friends and colleagues than ever before…AND I have a new vigilance against Cancer. I am reminded of how things can turn on a dime. I am reminded of how I always say – respect the opponent. Cancer will fight hard…but I will fight harder. My thoughts and prayers to Tom Kowalski and his family.


2 responses to “6/28 – A Meaningful Week

  1. We are so sorry that we were unable to physically make it to the outing this year–but we were there in spirit!! We will definitely be there next year–and all the years to follow!! Life is fragile and definitely throws curves balls at you when u least expect it…but it’s how we choose to spend our lives in between those curve balls that matter. Gratitude….humbleness…love and appreciation for all the people we have in our lives…that’s what matters. You have ALL OF THAT. Your insight and perspective is what always inspires me and helps keep me focused on my own life struggles. You have touched so many people with this blog…you have helped so many people with your honesty and I’m sure I can speak for all of us who read it when I say thank you!! Sorry we will miss u guys tonight–we will just plan another day!! xoxoxox Carole

  2. Brad, ……..Uncle Gary…….. When you get tired of the financial services meetings, and seminars, you can sell your services as a life coach. Congratulations on putting on a great event. Love you!

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