We all have our heroes.
For some of us it might be a sports star. Or, heaven forbid, a movie star. Unless, of course, it’s Jimmy Stewart.
No, I’m talking about other real life heroes that make a difference. My Rotary club selects several heroes once a year that have come to the aid of someone in need. Those truly are heroes in that they often put their own safety at risk in helping others.
But still, I’m talking a different breed of animal here. Someone who is a hero day in and day out. Mike Stevens was such an individual. Yet, I never met him. Sounds kinda strange I guess.
Mike Stevens, like me, was a stage 4 lung cancer survivor. I will not use the word victim as Mike was far from a victim. Given two months to live when he was diagnosed in 2005, Mike fought the battle for over 8 years beating every obstacle thrown at him. This past spring he somehow came across my blog and offered very encouraging words. This from a guy who was going through some major challenges. I traded e-mails with him several times with the intent of getting together. Unfortunately that never happened. In his last e-mail to me in May, he said: “My doctor did not have a very good outlook but my favorite thing to do is to keep proving the doctors wrong and I will once again do that.” Now that is an attitude I can aspire to. Check back with me in 8 years. 🙂
We lost Mike last week. As Dylan was my 11-year-old inspiration from camp, Mike is my inspiration on a different front. Not only did he fight the valiant fight against cancer, he worked tirelessly on behalf of all lung cancer victims in drawing attention to this very misunderstood disease. Without knowing anyone personally that suffered from this disease before my own diagnosis, I, like many of you I’m sure, associated lung cancer with smoking. It’s a common misconception which not only pervades public opinion, but is also reflected in the lack of funding for lung cancer research even though lung cancer kills 3x more people every year than any other single cancer. That was one of the things Mike fought for and he made significant inroads in that effort. Although I never met him, he will be missed. Here is a recent story done on him. And if you Google him like I did, you’ll find all sorts of ways in which he made a difference.
This is not a political blog. My intent is to draw attention to a person who made a significant difference in the face of overwhelming odds and personal challenges. So if you wonder where I sometimes get my strength and inspiration, you need look no further than Dylan and Mike. Between the two of them, and my family and friends, I’ve got plenty of inspiration to last a lifetime. And I plan on that being a very long time.
Business as usual. Day at a time.