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So, I Won This Thing…

From “Bad Boob Blog – there’s always one bad one in the bunch”

Some time in December I got an email from my workplace  “Sherpa Team” telling me I was nominated for what my company calls the Legacy Award. My first question was “Are you sure?”, followed quickly by my second question, which was “what is the award all about?”

This is what they told me about the Award:

“Each year Hilti recognizes our team members for “Building a Better Future” outside the walls of Hilti.  It’s the most prestigious award we have as it is all about giving back!  Only one winner is selected from all the nominees and this is only our 10th year we have awarded it. At the Annual Sales Meeting, the winning charity (Sendit Foundation) is awarded all funds raised during the week of the manager’s meeting and then Hilti matches what is raised.  It’s an amazing opportunity to raise funds for your specific charity.”

From this, I sent a note to Caroline Schou from the Sendit Foundation saying, “So, I won this thing…” not knowing what I was talking about or what any of it meant for us in the long run. All I knew was that I won an award for having cancer and I needed to pick a foundation that I wanted to help. That part was easy, I choose Sendit Foundation. My foundation was originally questioned because we (Hilti) has in the past gone with foundations that do research. My situation was quite different in the fact that I already had Cancer and I wanted to work with foundations that could help people who were active in treatment or helping people with the “what now” part of living after diagnosis. So, you may ask why or how did I come to choose the Sendit Foundation.

I found the foundation by accident (or maybe not). I am part of the Bay Area Young Survivors group and we get emails from the group on a variety of different subject. I was on short term leave from my company and in active treatment at the time that the email came through mentioning that there is an opening on a trip to Tomalas Bay that next week and did anyone have an interest. Before I knew anything about the group or what the trip was about I found myself saying yes to it. Katie sent me a quick follow-up and told me I was in. I seriously had no idea what I was in for but ok – great and now what. I knew it was next week and that I was being picked up at my house. Bring stuff to camp and kayak. Got it. When Katie showed up at my house I got in the car and the rest just kind of happened.

We showed up, met a bunch of strangers and had awkward “I just met you” conversations that happen at all new events. It was cold and we were trying to do our best to assimilate to our new surroundings. Something Cancer patients get good at after a while. From what Caroline tells me, our trip was not the best because of weather (it was freezing). We did not get to Kayak all the days we wanted (it was windy as hell). We rolled with it, we found other stuff to do, we hiked, we had a parking lot dance party, we talked over breakfast and loads of coffee. My thought is that no matter how odd our trip was it meant a lot to be able to talk with other Cancer people without the feeling that they felt bad for me (they don’t because they understand), I did not have to explain much besides details (we like the details) or any fake sympathy that may come from saying the word Cancer to non-cancer people. Of course, I did talk Line into taking us to my favorite spot the Marshall Store for oysters and beer was a big selling point.

So why did I choose to raise money for them? I love the mission. I love Caroline and Katie and what they are doing to support their brother’s legacy. I love the people I met on this trip who I would never have met any other way. They are humble, real and want to keep the vision to small groups who feel like family. No amount of research corporations make me feel that way. I made the right choice.

We made some money. We are working now to support the community in a way that will give back to community in a way that matters – the alumni group. All the rest will come with time and conversations. No matter what I am happy that I get to be a part of the growth of this foundation as well as be an alumnus in July and on a trip in August to Yosemite. All the rest is gravy.

My acceptance speech video:

Hilti website posting: