Eight years ago today, the unimaginable happened that shook our family, our friends, and changed our lives forever. On June 5th, 2007, my 19-year old brother passed away from Leukemia. What followed was something no one planned… it just happened. Athletes 4 Cancer was born.
When someone passes at the young, future-filled age of 19, the word “legacy” does not first come to mind. We barely form identities at 19, let alone establish any footing in this world. It usually all changes when you’re 30 again anyway. We definitely don’t think about how we’re going to leave this world at 19… we’re just entering it!
Scott’s “legacy” came in the form of the hundreds of cancer survivors who have attended an Athletes 4 Cancer retreat or program. I remember Scott telling me once as he lay in his hospital bed at Seattle’s Children’s Hospital, “I just want to do good things for people.” That stuck with me so hard, I claimed the title of “Director of Good Things” over the standard “Executive Director.” As the organization grew, Scott’s legacy extended, impacting a greater number of lives affected by cancer each year.
When I attend one of our survivorship retreat programs, leaving the world with some sort of “legacy” is a hot topic around the campfire. In fact, it’s one of the most pressing thoughts on survivors’ minds: “What if I die tomorrow? What did I contribute to the world? Who’s life did I impact? Did I do any good? Can I rest in peace feeling good about my life?”
Many cancer survivors wake up every day and wonder if they are going to live another day, week, month or year. And many of them, through programs like Athletes 4 Cancer and others, discover how to start living with a new perspective of living with positive intention and leaving this world in a better place. We can all learn from them.
Start living your legacy now. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Treat others with compassion and respect. Listen. Give selflessly of yourself in ways that benefit others who really need it. Volunteer. Donate something to a local charity. Wake up every day and find a way to leave this world in a better place than the day before. You never know when your legacy will begin.
~ Tonia Farman
Director of Good Things
Athletes 4 Cancer