Yesterday, we attended a near-relative’s wedding. There was intergenerational joy as young adults and their parents celebrated the life transition event. Yet, to me, the most significant moment occurred when the groom’s father gave his speech, saying how fortunate he is “to be alive to be here.”
This is because he is fighting advanced pancreatic cancer. He looked in relatively good health (I haven’t seen him since before his diagnosis) but he had lost his hair because of chemotherapy. He has a medical degree, so knows quite well the realities of his condition and his prognosis. Until recently, at least, there would be little hope for survival.
Maybe things are changing. I have become a little more aware of trends in cancer research through some voluntary work and participation in a 100 km. bicycle ride in support of cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital. Recently, the hospital recognized one of the movers and shakers behind the “Ride The Rideau — Robert Merkley of Merkley Supply Ltd. — with a surprise celebration/party and tour of the research lab he has helped to support. The message from the doctors: Research has made more progress in the last year or two than in decades, resulting in significantly enhanced clinical results. In other words, there really is progress in the “war against cancer.”
Robert encouraged me to participate in the Ride at its start, and I’ve cycled in three previous experiences. This fund-raising spin-off has had some real healthy advantages — I now cycle quite frequently to work during the spring and summer, keeping in shape and saving some gas money in the process.
But the really good stuff goes on behind the scenes, in the research lab and the hospital.
Notably Merkley used his influence (he’s been a client of my business since its inception in 1988-1989) to induce my support for this project; and I’ve extended beyond the cycling process to provide publicity and free advertising for the initiative. None of us do this stuff to build our businesses, sell stuff, or make money.
Yet, there are undoubtedly brand and business-building advantages in community initiatives and charitable projects. The reason: Selfless generosity reflects on your character, trust, relationships, and therefore your brand. When current and potential clients trust you, they are far more likely to do business with you.
Yet, these points mean little as I think about last night’s wedding party. Celebration, bittersweet; could there be hope where there wouldn’t be hope before? I don’t know. But I know that your tax-deductible contribution in Canada to this worthy initiative will do much good to help others — because of course research in world-level hospitals is shared and advances the cause anywhere.
Here’s the link for your contribution.