Monday, April 6, 2009

You Have The Power

I have received 100's of emails and calls from people saying they have called Humana (see the last two posts). Many of those calls also went to CNN, FOX, and others. I have no idea how many calls they received yesterday and today. But here is the bottom line...

Mason's grandmother just called, and Humana has reversed their decision and treatments will begin Thursday!

Thank you for all of those who called! You have the power to save a life.

Moving Mountains:
I have been told many times that one person can not change anything. Some say the problems in curing childhood cancer are insurmountable, and the system is corrupt with high profits. Others say the system is fine the way it is working, and the "experts" must be trusted and allowed to do their job.

To be honest, I see no difference between these two views. Both arrive at the same conclusion: There is nothing I need to do. It is all up to the "others". I am just a spectator. There is nothing I can do to change the world. There is nothing one person do.

Some might find comfort in the "I am only one person" excuse, but they ignore an important fact. Almost every great achievement history has started with the inspiration of a single individual with a passion.

Think about this...

In the year 2000, 4 year old Alex Scott received a stem cell transplant as she battled leukemia. Getting out of the hospital she decided to open a lemonade stand to get the money to cure her disease. Word spread, and she raised $2,000. Over the next four years she continued her lemonade stand, supported by other kids around the world opening their own stands and sending her the money. By the time Alex passed away at age 8, she had raised over $1 million. Today her family continues the tradition, and the Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation has raised over $25 million for childhood cancer research.

In 1999, three friends were looking to do a fund raiser for children with cancer. They decided to have people "sponsor" them to shave their heads at a St Patricks Day event. They surpassed all expectations by raising $104,000. Now named The St. Baldricks Foundation, they continue to shave heads and have raised over $50 million for childhood cancer research.

In 1988, Georgia Cleland was diagnosed with leukemia. Her father decided to run the New York marathon to raise money. He trained a team of 38 runners, who collectively raised $322,000. Today Team in Training had trained over 380,000 runners, raising millions each year for blood cancer research.

In 1979 Laura Graves was a teenager with leukemia, and could not find a matching bone marrow donor in her family. Her family began searching for a donor, and a hospital staff member turned out to be a good match. After Laura's successful transplant, her family started to fight for a nationwide bone marrow registry to match donors. Although Laura died two years later due to a relapse, her family continued to lead the effort for a national registry. Today, The National Bone Marrow Donor Registry houses a database of more than 5.5 million donors and facilitates in 200 life saving transplants a month.

Our first day in the hospital Tyler was given a large gift box marked 'Victorious". In 2002, Alicia Rose was a teenager fighting cancer. She saw that teens represent less than 5% of cancer patients, and they often feel left out in pediatric hospitals. She decided to create gift packages for other teens fighting cancer. Although Alicia passed away before the first packages were delivered, her family has continued her dream. Today the Alicia Rose Victorious Foundation continues to deliver the Teen Gift Kits, as well as create Teen Centers with plasma TV's, DVD players, movies, computers, and video arcade games, in over 40 hospitals.

Last year A.J. lost his battle with Burkitt's Lymphoma. Only a few months later his father, Bob Piniewski, came to visit Tyler and I at MD Anderson in Texas. During the visit he mentioned the beginning ideas of starting a web site to get signatures to petition the media for more attention on childhood cancers. Today, only 8 months after its creation, PAC-2 (People Against Childhood Cancer) has over 35,000 signatures and is the largest data base of stories of children with cancer.

So what do these people have that has made a difference. None are mega-millionaires, famous actors, or sports heroes. They are just like you and me. All they had was a dream and a dedication to see it through. So can one person really change things? I would suggest to you that every great achievement began with one person's passion.

You have the power. You have the passion. The only question is where you use it. God forbid we are ever presented with the option to do something, and instead choose to do nothing.


Anonymous said...

Way to go!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

What wonderful news.

Praise God!

Anonymous said...

Never question what one person can do.

Bonnie Alfriend said...


You, too, are just one but your passion, drive, and compassion has inspired thousands of us to act now in ways great or small to put an end to the pain and suffering of our children and their families.

Thank you - Never stop - Never give up.

I love you,


Lori said...

That is fabulous!

Anonymous said...