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On The Wings Of Children and Angels
Listening to Malcolm Gladwell read his excellent David & Goliath as I drove to Charlotte gave me a renewed sense of how my life exists thanks to children. First time I sensed how much was owed to children unlucky enough to have #leukemia at a time we DIDN'T cure more than 80% of childhood leukemias was reading The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.

Mukherjee's book shares the sense of frustration and helplessness doctors and families felt battling a dragon (childhood leukemia) with Popsicle sticks. Leukemia is a blood cancer. The advantage of blood #cancers is they live by a strange, deadly but predictable math.

My +UNC Lineberger team, led by Dr. Hank van Deventer, used a predictive model so I could ride a bicycle across America (http://www.MatinsRide.com). Their predictions were so precise chemo was needed within a week after finishing our 3,300 mile bicycle ride (summer 2010). We have chemo thanks to leukemia's predictable path.

Tumors aren't nearly as predictable. It would have been hard to "fruit fly" the data needed to know chemo's benefits with come back maybe / maybe not unpredictable tumors. Gladwell's David and Goliath shares how Dr. Jay Freireic created the first chemo "cocktail" battling a prevailing thinking that said, "There is no cure, they (children with leukemia) are going to die anyway so let them die with dignity".

Dr. Freireic is an unreasonable man. He is the kind of unreasonable man  that creates any and all progress including the #cureforcancer . Dr. Freireic persisted, insisted and fought on until childhood leukemias, once a sure terminal condition, now are MOSTLY cured. 

Certainly, and Gladwell's book tells this story conclusively, these doctors and #cancerresearchers are #heroes . But I'm here typing this today because of children. If you are feeling BAD about your life I suggest you ask my friend Eli to show you around the children's oncology ward at +UNC Lineberger. You can't stay depressed or feel down for very long.

Children are children whether they have cancer or not. Watching children play with IVs has to be one of the most inspirational things I've ever seen. We will dedicate much of our #techcurescancer Fund to reach BACK and remember the inspiration of the angels who helped create #chemotherapy and so deserve to be partnered in credit for my being here typing this, for our (cancer survivors) being here now.

Our family's goal is to share $1M with the Tech Cures Cancer Fund we've set up with UNC Lineberger (look for it on the bottom of the Please Select A Fund donation drop down menu). My goal is to raise money to match my family's contribution $4 to $1 over the next three years developing a $5M fund to create the next generation of life saving and cancer curing #technology .

YES, we want to share the cool #tech and the real heroes developing and using it, but remembering the children who helped make my life and every #cancersurvivor 's life possible is content we will not forget. There is no way to REPAY such life saving generosity, lion sized courage or the inspiration every child represents, but we are sure as heck going to try.

If you are a parent of a child battling cancer today our thoughts and best wishes are with you. You've joined a special "club" we wouldn't wish on anyone but are glad you are here with us now.

If your child or a child you know helped create the miracle drugs I and every cancer survivor count on now THANK YOU. You and your loved ones are with us. Each day we have NOW is testimony to the magic spirit your loved one possessed, a spirit we will never know but one we FEEL every day. Thank You.

There is a reason we selected the beautiful girl below to represent our Story of Cancer Foundation and we may use her again as we develop the Tech Cures Cancer movement. We KNOW our lives have been saved by angels, by special angels we remember with every breath we take, word we write and thought we have.

Thank You.

Working on Tech Cures Cancer blog this weekend and hope to be live next week. Tech Cures cancer will use our #contentmarketing tool called Curagami thus marrying two things I care about :). If you know of an amazing angel whose courage inspires and motivates please share his, her or their story. Together we cure cancer in OUR lifetime.

I write that last sentence frequently. You might think I mean my lifetime. I don't. How did Dr. King say it, "I may not get there with you, but we as a people will see the promised land". Together we as a people will cure cancer and technology will be how. "Our lifetime," like the web, always happens NOW :).

Look for Tech Cures Cancer soon and hope you will join team that already includes some amazing people, institutions and champions: +Curagami, +UNC Lineberger, our partners +MoondashAudiodotcom, +Vestique and supporters such as +Janet Kennedy +Mark Traphagen +Isaac Porter, MD +Bill Gassett  +jan gordon +Phil Buckley +Jarrod Swart +Duke Cancer Institute +Roswell Park (mentioned in Gladwell's book) +UW Carbone Cancer Center +Neil Ferree +Kelly Hungerford +Paper.li +Scoop.it +Guillaume Decugis +Ally Greer +Haiku Deck +Command Partners +Alison Phalen +Heather King +John Kean +Eric Garrison +Brian Yanish   
+Cendrine Marrouat +Chris Heivly +Dave Neal +Triangle StartUp Factory and many, many more :).

Thanks,

Marty

---
Martin Smith
Cancer Survivor
Founder, +Curagami
Creator along with my family of Tech Cures Cancer Fund at UNC Lineberger Cancer Center

https://secure.dev.unc.edu/gift/Default.aspx?s=231034190229529
Select Tech Cures Cancer Fund from Please Select A Fund menu.
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12 comments
 
Please read to learn how to support this cancer effort. +Martin W. Smith is one of my hearoes for his amazing journey by bike across the country to deal with his own cancer.
 
I have AMAZING friends such as +Kelly Hungerford. Kelly shared this post, she has been a consistent and devoted supporter, coach and contributor. She noted my "selfless" giving. Here is how I explained what I'm doing and what I get out of it:

Thanks but I don't think of my journey as "selfless" giving. I get SO MUCH more meaning, value and clarity in my life from serving no matter how much money or time we give it will never be enough, not nearly enough to repay the care, kindness and love received.

Cancer SAVED me. It shocked me into examining what really matters: friends, family, service. That three legged stool is what was standing when I looked at what first appeared to be my life's embers.

It fact my life wasn't lost, gone or destroyed. Instead the "near miss" helped define mission, challenge and goals. Here is how Malcolm Gladwell shared research about the Blitz during WWII in David and Goliath:

“We are all of us not merely liable to fear.  We are also prone to be afraid of being afraid, and the conquering of fear produces exhilaration.  When we have been afraid that we may panic in an air-raid, and when it has happened, we have exhibited to others nothing but a calm exterior and we are now safe, the contrast between the previous apprehension and the present relief and feeling of security promotes a self-confidence that is the very father and mother of courage.”

Cancer helped me find the "mother of all courage" I'd been looking for my entire life. Life is better on this side of that particular Rubicon (lol). Thanks for your ongoing and precious support, encouragement and presence :). M
 
+Martin W. Smith why doesn't it surprise me that you see your giving as receiving?

That's a really great passage by Gladwell on courage and defining moments.  Thanks for sharing and relating it to your story -- and once again, giving :) 
 
Thank you for making this world a better place, +Martin W. Smith. Inspiring, generous and kind -- you truly are a leading example of how we can change the world for the better!
 
I have AMAZING friends who make my life possible so aptly demonstrated here. Today I was thinking about GRACE, that magic moment when we get out beyond ourselves to help someone.

I've  benefited from the GRACE of many special people. Their grace and generosity has embolden me to become who I always wanted to be.

That means that if there is NO victory the Big C dragon is capable of winning including taking my life that equals the grace shared and the life created. Like most things in my life I got there the hard way.

Thanks to friends and friends of friends (many I don't even know but whose influence and contribution is here now) I've seen, experienced and want to repay and give back the Amazing Grace so easily and beautifully shared. Thanks to all my graceful friends, my FOMs (friends of martins). M
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