Last week I had the privilege of attending the Ride to Conquer Cancer Reception and Abramson Center Tour.
I met fascinating people: cyclists who were there because, like me, they want to do something to help others; patients who had left their hospital beds to come and hear scientists and physicians speak about their work and their hopes of finding a cure (for the cancers for which many of them were receiving treatment); administrators who shared information about the hospital; and sponsors who were there to learn about the cause they had chosen to support.
It was a gathering of brilliant people—some sick, some working, some celebrating, some just trying to find a bit of hope—in science, in people, and in events. What I learned that evening feels important enough to share because it gave me a new way of thinking about competition and success. I’ve always been uncomfortable with competition. It’s always reminded me that someone was losing and that felt scary and unfair to me.
Touring the Abramson Cancer Center shone a light on the incredible contributions from people who strive for excellence, and who dare to compete and win a seat at a highly acclaimed lab. When I was touring the lab of Dr. Carl June, a Penn scientist who could one day win the Nobel prize for his work on immunotherapy, it became clear to me that what I was observing right then could very well lead to a cure for the patient who was standing beside me. How awesome is it to dare to discipline yourself, to compete, to develop the skills and expertise necessary to help others, solve big problems, and make the world a better place? And then I looked around at the other folks in attendance and I was reminded how important it is to engage—to get involved—because really, nothing much comes from the alternative.
Finally that evening there was Dr. Chi Van Dang’s talk. He echoed what was in my head when he said, “It’s taken me six decades to realize this, but I’m convinced that the reason we are here is to take care of each other in whatever way we can.”
We were really happy to see our first book, Pay Yourself First, favorably reviewed.
Dr. James Dahle gave the book high marks in The White Coat Investor, one of our favorite physician-specific financial websites.
I've signed up as a crew member for the Ride to Conquer Cancer to help support my braver, and more fit, co-workers.
I've made my own donation in memory of the three siblings I've lost to the disease. I'm excited! The most touching thing I've read about the ride is a story about Marc Barag, a cancer survivor himself, who's in training for the event. I hope to see his face among the riders. It would be an honor. Go Marc! You can read about him here.