Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Life Worth Remembering


Today the business of business will be taking a hiatus on swim upstream/ Innovative Thinking.
Today we will be speaking candidly and passionately about the business of life.

Tim Harriman, pictured above, has graced the pages of this site before. This is not because he is a sponsored athlete (though he was for 2 years), or because is he is famous, or rich, or a political figure. Tim is being held as an example because he's a Class A Human Being and an example of "how to" at life.

Yesterday morning, at the age of 22 years and 3 months, Tim Harriman passed away after his 4th battle with cancer. I have been hit hard enough in sports to have 4 concussions so far, yet Tim remains one of, if not the toughest guy I know.

After first being diagnosed at 14, the "why me" factor was replaced when Tim saw kids (several) under the age of 10 with cancer in the Alberta Children's Hospital oncology unit. After more than 3 years, Tim arose victorious. He swore to raise money for kids' cancers by riding across Canada, and he did so in 2007 (and he raised close to $175,000 which was well above the high end goal of $40K posted by his charity of choice). To date through his Spokeman Tour (www.spokemantour.com), that total is over half a million dollars.

After he resumed life as normal, going to University, taking a job, and proposing to his girlfriend Christa; his cancer returned a second time. And then a third, and finally a 4th time.

For someone who is 22, who had to delay his wedding due to cancer, Tim has no blame, regret, or ill will. A few of us had a chance to sit with him this past Sunday, and here is what I took away...

- though he exercised regularly, didn't smoke, and I don't think I ever saw a drink in his hands, he had cancer 4 times. Though he doesn't understand it, he has no judgment for those who live to be 80 smoking 2 packs a day and taking their health (and life) for granted.

- he missed out on a lot of life experiences many of us may take for granted, yet upon the realization his time had come, his only wish was that he could have helped more kids in his time and through his life's work.

- it's not the quantity of life lived, it's the quality. After 22 years, Tim has said he has lived a full life, and many around him are testament to the fact that in a short time he has created a legacy that will far outlive him.

Though the story today may be somber, it helps all of us with perspective.

If your biggest worry is money, realize you have no worry because if you have the health to wake up tomorrow and go earn a dollar you are better off than a great many. With hard and smart work you can eventually earn what you need to pay your debt and provide for the future.

If your biggest worry is not loving your job, you can work hard and soul search for what you really want to do and then make it a reality.

I bet we all get caught up in the day to day worries, all the while missing just what a gift ONE day is in and of itself.

Tim will be a gift in my life (and in many others') as his example will be one that grounds me and has me asking for more (of life and of myself, not in terms of wealth).

While some may consider it a tragedy for one who gave so much of himself to pass so young, consider this... perhaps an even bigger tragedy is to live your whole life and not know what great things are inside of you. If you are capable of more in your life, and you are not living to your fullest, happiest potential - you owe it to yourself and those whose lives you might change for the better - to do so.

I am sure if you are reading this you are not the kind of person to just sit there and let life pass you by... but maybe today is a good day to ask why we are here and then get busy getting after it.

Tim you will be missed. God bless, and thank you (and Christa) for your example.

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