As many of you may know and for those who do not, I’m currently entering my 26th year of being declared “cancer free,” after a serious bout with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. To come this far is both wonderful and miraculous and also carries many emotional and physical issues that have come to bear throughout this time.
If there was one aspect that I could point out as the most difficulty is the one of loneliness in terms of my professional life. In these two plus decades along the post-cancer journey it’s been rare to find others that have also traveled this road whether with my particular form of cancer or any other and were willing to talk about it. Simply put, most industries aren’t set up to handle or deal with illnesses or the people that suffer through them and hopefully survive and our industry isn’t unique. This is not to say that business entities and organizations aren’t supportive of their employees when issues arise because so many are. What I’m indicating is that as an industry as a whole, we’re not quite there. I certainly was well cared for by my employer when going through all of my treatments. In all transparency, I worked for the family business during my time which gave me the latitude to heal. Though there are many types of wonderful interest and affinity groups that work with people on so many levels of personal and professional identity, those who’ve experienced forms of disease typically need to find support outside of our work lives. And that’s rather sad considering how much time and life force we devote to our careers. Over the past couple of years, I’ve met a few incredible individuals who have walked down these same roads who now have generously agreed to create something for our industry which will hopefully encourage many who are currently dealing with or have dealt with cancer to connect with us and build a community of people with similar life experiences. Feeling connected in this way can take away so much of the professional loneliness I mentioned earlier. Those who have made the choice to participate include Patrick Connell, S2 Capital, Erin Hafeli, Lincoln Advisors, and Nathan Paine, Prologis and the gratitude I have for them in helping one person feel a little less alone with respect to a battle none of asked for is rather overwhelming. We hope our meetups whether in person or virtually will be free flowing, completely off the record, enlightening, healing, empowering, and even fun. Let’s face it, cancer sucks for those who go through, it as well as for the care takers, friends, and support systems that helped us get through it all. Hopefully, this new group can give us a little hope along the way. Finally, I leave you with the beginnings of the RELPI Cancer Support Community. If you’re currently fighting cancer, survived cancer, caring for someone who has cancer, or has lost someone to cancer, our doors are open and please feel free to contact us.