Strength in cancer…

NOTE: This post has nothing to do with startups [actually it does, but you have to figure out the linkage yourself]. This is a very personal post – but something I believe in sharing.


It has been a strange year for me – on one level. This fall my family observed the 20 year anniversary of our mother’s passing. She died of malignant melanoma in 1988 – 1.5 months shy of her 40th birthday, the mother of three. I am the same age as she was when she began her battle. My family has had some bumps in the road this year. These three things have had me thinking a lot – about my mother, about cancer and about strength. It was all brought to the forefront again tonight (and inspired this blog post), when I did my annual viewing of one of my favorite videos/speeches – Jimmy V’s Arthur Ashe Award at the inaugural ESPY awards (kudos the ESPN for Jimmy V week and his foundation).

In watching the video I reminded of what strength he had – very reminiscent of my mother. I was moved, to say the least, as I am every time I watch him speak those beautiful words of hope and appreciation. I love his mantra of Laugh – Think – Tear. That describes how things were in our lives. My mother had the most wonderful laugh and encouraged all those around her to understand the importance of humor. She pushed us all to all be thinkers and explorers. And through her I learned to accept and appreciate the tears life brings. To this day I try to live this essence as much as possible – live with emotion and experience all life has to offer. One of the things that I loved most about my mother, was her unwavering ability to laugh – even in the face of death. Jimmy V reminded me of that. The other thing Jimmy spoke about was to remember where you are from, where you are and where you are going. A very important but simple statement – work for it.

Another story from earlier this year that moved me is the that of Randy Pausch which spread via a video of his last lecture (which was later the cornerstone of a book). His story, the way he tells it and his ultimate point is nothing short of amazing. Watch this one and feel it.

In short, I am amazed by the strength that these three people found in cancer. I hope it inspires you as much as it inspires me.

Thank you to Andrea, Jimmy and Randy…

“Don’t give up, don’t ever give up!” — Jimmy V.

8 Responses to “Strength in cancer…”
  1. missda says:

    Thank you for the beautiful and thoughtful post.

  2. Binyon says:

    This is was great for me to receive. It really hit home in a lot of ways. Thank you!

  3. gammill says:

    thanks Binyon… hope you have a great holiday kiddo!

  4. Jak Plihal says:

    Thank you for sharing from your heart. Reminds me that the transparency that is taking over and blurring/erasing lines between each other, our personal and business lives, nations… it is the work at hand, eh?

    Look forward to speaking with you soon.

    • gammill says:

      Thanks Jak. I look at it pretty simply. I like to work with real people. Real people have stories. Life is more interesting when you share stories. And you really get to know someone when you know some of the stories that have shaped peoples lives. It is a world of transparency indeed. Speak to you soon!

  5. Tania Mulry says:

    Thanks for sharing from the heart, Chris. It was touching to read your story and understand a little more about the road you’ve traveled. It also strikes me that you are living your dreams out, having been inspired by the people in your life that have gone before their time.

  6. docuguy says:

    It struck home with me also. My mother died of lung cancer two years ago and we still feel the reverberations.

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