A Few Thoughts


I spent a long weekend reading and trying to recharge for what will be a very exciting next few months.

First, I want to be very clear about what happened last Thursday in Austin. I was honored to be recognized by the Austin Business Journal but that award is quite simply a direct result of my colleagues hard work and the energy and passion of everyone involved in our shared movement. Thank you for leading this mission with us and making these recognitions possible.

Secondly, a lot of the Olympic athletes have been wearing the yellow wristband. It has been great to see the number of yellow wristbands all over the Olympic games. What an incredible message.

This is a global movement. It may have started in Austin with our educational resource called “Livestrong.” It may have been born in combination with Nike when they decided to honor Lance in such a big public way.

But clearly now this is a movement. A global one. It means so much to so many. It is about overcoming cancer. It is about overcoming any obstacle in your life. It is about living strong. And it belongs to anyone who wants to own a part. It is therefore not the LAF’s movement. It is not Lance’s movement. It is “our” movement. We all share in the work, the committment and the results we desire. Thanks for being a part of your movement and for letting us be a part of it.

Finally, I had it put this off long enough. I planned and made a promise to myself that I would read “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch this weekend.

I read it in four hours. It was an easy read. It was personal. It hit me hard in many ways. You see I had put this off for a reason. Of course I had watched his lecture on you tube, seen clips of him on t.v. and admired from afar his efforts in D.C. to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer.

After all this time, and sadly after Randy’s passing, I needed to read it. It was hard for me to start reading it due to the similarities in our background. Let me be very clear. I don’t know Randy. I don’t know his wife Jai.

He did however grow up in Columbia, Maryland where I was born and raised. He also attended Brown University where I was fortunate enough to go to school.

I know nothing about computer science which was Randy’s area of expertise. Nothing. Although I did take a web design class my freshman year at Brown and I often think back to those days and imagine what would have happened if I had pursued a career in that field during the mid-1990’s when web design and technology start-ups were taking off. It never hurts to dream about what might have been. Luckily I wasn’t very good at web design.

I have read a ton about Andy Van Dam who was Randy’s professor at Brown and who seemingly took him under his wing and helped shape his career and his life.

The values he describes in the book are ones that ring true for me. They were taught to him by his parents. They are the values of the community in which we were raised.

There was just something about the mix of Columbia, Maryland, Brown University, and cancer. All too close to home, literally.

So after all the hemming and hawing I read the book sitting outside over the weekend. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. It hit me hard. It was spot on with respect to so many things.

It made me think about the shared journey we are all on. It forced me to think about the movement he created with his speech.

Movements are not designed from scratch. Typically a movement is instigated by someone’s actions. Someone’s heroics. Someone’s stance or words. Randy Pausch started a movement after his lecture. He didn’t set out to do this. That wasn’t his goal.

He will be sorely missed but his legacy has already gone way beyond what he imagined. Our movement must grow stronger, must stay focused, and must be ultimately successful – Randy would want that.

I sure am glad I read the book.



  1. Brian Dowd says:


    I did notice a lot of folks in the Olympics wearing the LIVESTRONG wristband. My daughter Caroline points it out all the time….yes my 4 year old is a LIVESTRONG ARMY member 😉

    Randy was such a great inspiration, but his passion lives on in all of us.

    We have lost a few great inspirational cancer survivors and the most recent was Leroy Sievers. I will miss his daily posts on My Cancer. It give us more reason to band together and finally make cancer a priority in our lives.


  2. Scott Joy says:

    I’m grateful you didn’t go into web design. You’re excellent at what you do, and the world is a better place for it. See you in Philly this weekend!

  3. Ron Bye (NH) says:


    We are all blessed to also have YOU in our midst and helping to lead the way for all of us! Yes it is OUR movement and has transended any original intentions or expectations, but unfortunately there is still so much to do!

    I consider myself very blessed in many ways… to have survived a death sentence and now to belong to something so much bigger than myself and bigger than I would have ever dreamed being part of… but you are absolutely right… anything worth dreaming about is worth dreaming BIG!

    I am honored to work along side you and so many others… and one day… hoepfully soon… we will be victorious and will no longer lose suych amazing people as Randy and Leroy Sievers!

    THANK YOU Doug and Lance!!

    Now lets get to WORK! 🙂

    Lets pick a state and create a “proposition 15” in ALL 50 States!!

  4. Lorrie Martin says:

    My son Zak was disagnosed with testicular cancer in May. We lost our home and all of our possessions in a flood two wweks later. He just had his after chemo appt. with his oncologist at Iowa City after going thru 4 week-long sessions of chemo. his tumor started out the size of a watermelon and is now like a baseball so he needs surgery. Reading the blogs has really been helpful as the stress level keeps ratcheting up. Zak was supposed to start nursing school Oct. 1 but this is going to be postponed. He has been so brave but I wonder what goes on under the surface.
    I’m going to seek out this book. If anyone has any other insights to help us get through this process my email is ljsgoldbarpalominos@yahoo.com.

  5. Paulo Lincoln says:


    first of all, excuse me by my English.
    Use the “LiveStrong” as motivation for the cure of my depression.
    I ask, if possible, as in “LAF Store” is allowed Brazilian users can buy products from the foundation.
    And all, when we will have the visit of Lance Armstrong in Brazil to promote the movement?
    We excellent initiatives in the treatment and prevention of cancer.

    Thank you.

  6. I have a friend who is the secretary here in my office. She doesn’t work for me, but nevertheless I value the work she does here. I am a family therapist by profession. One day, Linda didn’t come to work. In her quiet way, she slipped out to have surgery–breast cancer. She had a mesectomy. I was stunned to hear that she was all alone in this experience. I then found out that she has no insurance to pay for her surgery or her chemo ($250,000). When will this insanity end? How can I help her? Life should not be devoid of love and compassion because of money. Help.

  7. I work for the LAF and saw that you posted on our blog about your friend?¢?Ǩ?Ñ¢s recent battle with breast cancer and the medical debt she incurred. I wanted to make sure that you know we offer support to people affected by cancer including financial support, help with medical debt, guidance on dealing with financial issues after cancer, etc. Please have your friend contact us regarding her concerns. We would like to help. The LIVESTRONG SurvivorCare Program is available for support 9-5 EST, M-F at 866-235-7205 or online at http://www.livestrong.org/survivorcare. I hope this helps.

    Thank you for posting on our blog and reaching out on behalf of your friend.

  8. James Curtis says:

    I have not yet read Randy Pausch’s lecture. It was recommennded to me by one of the legion of doctors I have seen over the past 10 months since my diagnosis.

    Somehow the timing does not seem right for me to read such a deep examination of the process of letting go and saying goodbye. I am very much ready to live and to resume the active life I had prior to my learning that I had AML last year. That life included family (my wife and 2 pre teen kids); my preoccupation with road cycling – I used to ride 150-200 miles per week – now I can make about 7 or 8 miles without resting and have actually ridden on the road 4 times over the past 2 weeks; my career with a large health insurance company that I have nurtured over the past 25 years.

    When I learned I had cancer, everything changed and I “lost” much of the life I had before. Now that I am on the other side of potential life-saving treatment, my life is beginning again and while there are some of the same elements as before, it is completely new and I am extremely excited to begin again at age 51.

    So the time for me for good-bye is not today – the time for me to live each day to the best I am able is now. My gratitude to the doctors and nurses and to my family and friends is enormous. Their expertise and generosity where and are overwhelming and astounding.

    I salute today and anticipate tomorrow.

  9. I cried when Randy Pausch died. Even though I never met him, he is an inspiration to me. That book is a hard read when it hits close to home. It was wonderful meeting you last night. I am inspired!

  10. Jere Carpentier says:

    Yes indeed, Randy Pausch had a way with words, and when you saw him, you wanted to listen. He had such a zest for life, so much hope, and then accepted the reality of his future. I totally respect that he kept everything forefront and not hidden, from himself or those around him. He was a great teacher for sure. I read the book as soon as it came out, after seeing him on Oprah. He said so many things and had so many thoughts I recognized. He was in the “club”…the club we all hate, but the club that has brought us together. I keep the book on my nightstand and often re-read a chapter. It gives me strength and keeps hope alive. I recommend it to anyone, cancer or no cancer. He is a powerful speaker and writer.

    I am so saddened for his family and especially for the kids he left behind. Imagine having to deal with Randy as your dad. I am so glad they have his last lecture to draw on and the strength of his wife Jai who supported him so well through his illness.

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