A good friend of mine, one of the strongest people I know, a resilient guy - the type of guy that never complains, and whose attitude alone makes you push yourself to do more, and be a better person - was lost to cancer about a year after diagnosis. If you haven't had the pleasure of meeting Mark, he's the sort of guy that, even barely knowing you, would have you spend the 4th of July with him and his family (I know, because he did with me shortly after we'd met.)

Mark was so much more than a person with cancer - he is a friend, he is a husband, a father, a photographer, a Star Wars fan who dresses up for the theatrical releases, a guy who plays the latest hit on non-stop repeat when he likes it. We played board games together. He made fun of the way I explained rules. He was also the kind of guy who could be vulnerable when he needed to be. Like a few months ago when I asked him how he was doing - and while I won't get into the details of a private conversation - it was Mark at his most honest.

Here's my ask. For my friend but also for the many others out there fighting cancer or other diseases, please do one (or more) of the three:

1) Pause. Regardless of your beliefs, take a moment to reflect, meditate and remind yourself of the fact that losing another good person to a horrible disease we've yet to cure is losing the person behind a lifetime of laughs, tears and ultimately - stories. Stories are sad to lose.

2) Donate - there's hundreds of great researchers doing incredible things out there, and they all need help. If you can afford to, donate please. And please spend the few minutes to research which groups make the most productive use of your donation.

Lastly, it may sound overly sentimental, idealistic and perhaps trivial but it matters:

3) Love - don't just love your family, or your friends. Love people. Love everyone. There are millions of people who suffer for reasons that can be controlled. Whether it's around the world, in the news, local, close to home - whenever someone is being oppressed, suppressed, or slowed down, that's a problem we have put upon ourselves. The world has enough challenges - imagine the progress we'd make with the challenges we can't control if we spent less time and money hurting each other. Everyone out there is hurting for one reason or another. We are stronger in socializing our struggles.

That's all I have.

Love you Mark.


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