Last Tuesday evening, I was honored to be able to give the 8th grade graduation speech at my grade school alma mater, St. Ambrose in Brunswick, Ohio. When I took the stage, it hit me. I couldn’t believe I had graduated from the same place exactly 25 years before!
My speech to the kids was simple, yet powerful: “BE DARING: YOU MAY JUST ACCOMPLISH SOMETHING SIGNIFICANT, ACHIEVE YOUR WILDEST DREAMS OR SAVE SOMEONE’S LIFE!”
It got me thinking about how the friends I met in grade school from St. Ambrose are the same friends who I talked to right before I went into surgery when I was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the first friends who visited me after it was over. It was my St. Ambrose friend Mike, who introduced me to my future wife and my St. Ambrose friend Josh, who was the best man in my wedding. Those friendships you make when you’re young are so important and really stick with you forever.
It also got me thinking about how much has happened in my life throughout the past 25 years and how much I have accomplished and overcome.
My speech at St. Ambrose was a great kick off to this upcoming week. This weekend is the Purplestride Cleveland 5k Run/Famiy-Friendly Walk to raise money and awareness for pancreatic cancer. This year again, Strategic Real Estate Coach is the presenting sponsor. The 2015 PurpleStride Pancreatic Cancer 5k Run and Family-Friendly Walk that is taking place at Voinovich Park in downtown Cleveland.
Some of you know my story – in the fall of 2011, I discovered a large mass in my abdomen and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. In November of 2011, I underwent a 10 hour surgery at the Cleveland Clinic where Dr. Matthew Walsh removed the basketball-sized mass along with my gall bladder, my spleen, my entire stomach, 75% of my pancreas and 25% of my liver. Dr Walsh had to rebuild the arteries to my liver that were crushed. I lost 21 units of blood. I lost 50 pounds and had to re-learn how to eat. Most importantly, I have been cancer-free ever since.
See the whole story here in this video “Family Thankful for Life.”
There are many lessons I’ve learned fighting cancer and going thru this crazy experience. In this video below I detail all the lessons I’ve learned along the way.
I am very passionate about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and about helping others who are in the same position or who aren’t as lucky as I was. Survival for pancreatic cancer has always remained in the single digits. Today, the five-year relative survival rate is still just 7 percent. A study by the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, published in the prestigious journal Cancer Research, predicts that by 2020, pancreatic cancer will surpass breast and colorectal cancer to become the second leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.
PurpleStride Cleveland event details: (hopefully you can join us)
- Saturday, June 13 , 2015 at Voinovich Park
- Registration begins at 7:00 a.m. and the event will start at 9:00 a.m.
- Enjoy a day filled with children’s activities, refreshments, music, the ShopPurple store and more!
For more information about PurpleStride Cleveland, or to register or donate, please visit the event page.
Online registration for the event closes today at 11 p.m. EST.
Thank you for your support!
CEO Strategic Real Estate Coach
CEO Freeland Ventures and Freeland Lending
CEO Yellow Jacket Properties
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