by Chris Brewer
LIVESTRONG Leaders are individuals that make a yearly significant commitment to those in their community affected by cancer by spreading the message of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. They do this by fundraising, hosting events, bringing LIVESTRONG Foundation resources to their local hospitals and more. One of our amazing leaders from England, Jonathan Acott, talks about why he is involved with LIVESTRONG and what he is doing in his community to help spread the LIVESTRONG Foundation message.
Why I’m a Leader:
There are two reasons why I’m a leader. The first is very simple: it gives me the opportunity to promote the concept of Thriving. It provides me with the motivation and the incentive to reach out and to continue to be an advocate who is always approachable to the Cancer community, and to try and make a difference, even to just one person. Wearing the badge of Leader is the most wonderful obligation to wake up to each day because of my efforts to improve someone’s relationship with themselves, their illness, or to help sharpen the sword of another Cancer Warrior.
The second reason revolves around the founder. I made the decision to join and become more involved last year when Lance separated himself from the Foundation. No matter what you think of Lance personally, there is no disputing that what he started has grown into something special. In my own small way I felt I was stepping up at a time when the Foundation needed all the support it could get. And I was going to be damned if I saw this wonderful organization potentially suffer and I did nothing to help it.
What I am doing in my community:
This has been a difficult year for me in terms of activity because I’ve been dealing with my third cancer rodeo, but I have blogged and tweeted all the way through it trying to update and send message of motivation out in to the world and have had some wonderful responses from all corners. I’ve also become an advocate for another small charity in the UK that deals with Urological Cancer Research, and I?ve spoken about life as a survivor for them. I suppose my biggest achievement this year has been fighting and winning my battle again while still living stronger than ever. I?ve tried to be an inspiration to show what can be achieved after illness and refusing to be limited by it. In fact, the only thing that has happened now is that my dreams and my goals are bigger.
LIVESTRONG means to me:
When I was first diagnosed, I looked to the Foundation as a safety blanket to remind me that there were others going through the same thing I was. Even though I was in the UK and there was not really direct support, there was still a feeling of community that I felt a part of; a place where I knew others who were going through the same thing could also go. I took strength from just knowing that there were other fighters out there. During my subsequent battles with cancer, LIVESTRONG has taken on an additional meaning.
I now take the word LIVESTRONG as a verb; it’s a doing word. To me, it is a state of being. I try to LIVESTRONG every day and not just with challenges or adventures, but in the way I try to live my every day existence; I will show the world that you can take more from cancer than it takes from you. If you take the positives from cancer, add the values of the foundation, then you end up with a person that is not defined as a victim or even as a survivor, but as a thriver.