The Power to Choose

The following blog post was originally published on Coach-Ed.org in February 2013. If you are unfamiliar, Coach-Ed is a cystic fibrosis charity that I helped to launch in memory of a great friend, Edward Sayer, and served as one of the original board members for three years.

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Edward and I had a number of things in common, as any good friends do. Right now, two particular items come to mind: doing things that we don’t necessarily WANT to do and our birthdays, just 3 days apart (except for leap years!).

The first may seem puzzling but it is much simpler than you might expect. When you break it down to only doing the things that you WANT to do, cystic fibrosis surely wouldn’t make the cut. After all, nobody actually WANTS cystic fibrosis in the first place. Edward and all the others living with CF do not WANT to struggle to breathe, leaving him incapable of finishing the Great Strides walk with the rest of the Ed’s Vespas team, for example. No one WANTS to start their day an hour early so they can spend time with their RESPIRATOR. No one wants to wear “the vest”. [Is it possible to think that’s enjoyable?].  No family WANTS to have to choose CF meds over all of life’s other necessities. Of course they do it. I’d start giving up limbs & organs to save my family if I could but I’d always prefer that they not need it in then first place.

As you can see, someone living with cystic fibrosis does a lot of things that they don’t actually WANT to do. No, they HAVE to do it. Unfortunately, this is one of the cards they were dealt in life and they need to play the best hand that they can with those cards.

While Ed and many others cannot choose whether they WANT to continue to deal with CF or not, you and I all have a choice.  Do we want to do something about the struggles of others?  Do you want to initiate change and have a positive affect on all those living with this terrible disease?  I choose to do exactly that and if your reading this, there’s a good chance you’ve chosen the same. However, just because we’ve been lucky enough to be able to choose does not mean it will be easy.

A personal example is choosing to be a part of the NYC Half Marathon Team. For me, long distance running can be summed up with one word.  Think you can guess it?  There’s two consonants, two vowels, and it ends with an ‘e’.  You guessed it!  Hate. I hate running. So, as you might have guessed, training is not easy nor all that enjoyable. Why would I willingly choose to do something I hate like run a half marathon?  Simple. I hate cystic fibrosis even more and doing this has raised a lot of awareness and funds for Coach-Ed.

A picture of my 2013 NYC Half Marathon poster. What a cold day but well worth it!
A picture of my 2013 NYC Half Marathon poster. What a cold day but well worth it!

Several friends have signed up to run with me and they are all telling their friends about Coach-Ed, en route to their $1,250 fundraising goal.  One runner has even decided $1,250 isn’t high enough.  His fundraising goal is $5,000!

Life isn’t always about what you WANT to do. “Sometimes you just gotta do whatcha gotta do.”  This is something I simply have to do in my personal fight against cystic fibrosis.  To make the day more enjoyable, I’ll be running in a kilt (Ed is Scottish & the race is on St. Patty’s Day) and I’ll be running with two CF’ers who have both had double lung transplants. If they can do it, so can I.  Your fight against CF may be similar to mine or it may be completely different.  But at the end of the day, ask yourself how your personal fight against CF is going and choose to make the biggest impact you can.  We should all be happy that we don’t have to worry about how difficult breathing can be sometimes because no one WANTS to do that either.  The key is that we can choose to help them.

As Ed and I approach our birthdays, I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate life than at the Coach-Ed Launch Party.  There will be food, friends, cocktails, music, and maybe even a photo booth.  The best part is that we’ll be able to show the public what kind of an impact he made in just 22 years and what has been created in his memory.  Coach-Ed is already doing outstanding work and we’ve only just begun.

Happy 30th birthday buddy!

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