- For John Foley…breathe easy.
Today I feel pretty cool. I can’t say that I’m much of a cool person to those who are “in”, but I have been known to have my cool moments. I’m generally alone, lost in my thoughts, dancing in a field, or walking through an airport with a big smile on my face. It doesn’t much matter that nobody knows who I am or that anyone else really thinks I’m cool, I just “am”.
But today I live in a cool world. Today I climbed the Bank of America stairwell as part of the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb. The event was 56% bigger than last year, surpassing the number of participants they were willing and able to handle. And their fundraising goal was surpassed prior to event day. How cool is that?
How cool is it that I got to climb in honor of a friend? OK, maybe that’s not cool at all. If John Foley were here he would have been participating. But cool that he passed away knowing I was forming a team for him. Cool that he approved the team shirt. Cool that it brought a smile to his face while in hospice.
When people ask me why I do “stuff” like this I say “because if you’re going to go workout/race/do the event anyway, you might as well put yourself to good use and raise a little money/awareness/whatever.” How cool is it that the Foley clan motto is “that I may be of use”? How proud am I to wear that across my chest?
When John was diagnosed I told the folks in my Bible study. They were able to meet him, have a meal with him, pray with him and for him…unceasingly, personally, with joy. How cool is it that many of them jumped at the chance to honor him?
Last year a four year old participated in the event. I had one of those “what’s the matter with me?” moments and knew I would do the event this year. It evolved into something bigger. How cool is it that the now five year old (go Summer!) and her three year old sister (go Lucy!) were part of my team? And how cool is it that her Mom and Dad are fellow triathletes? And how about the fact that their Dad was John’s doctor at Moffitt Cancer Center? And that doctor and family were reunited?
How cool is it that a few friends signed up the minute I asked them to…just because I asked? And how about the guy that just moved to town and signed up? Or the people from the Pilates studio, or the YMCA, just because we had a cool team? Or how cool is it that a rugby teammate of John’s did the climb even though he just had knee surgery…yesterday? (Hello, he plays rugby…) Or the fact that yet another man flew home from his sister’s hospice bedside. He said “I’ve done all I could do, and my sister would have wanted me to be here.”
I’ve been thinking about John Foley every day for the last year. Through diagnosis, treatment, and final days. Through another man’s quick decline with lung cancer and time spent in consolation with his friend Through botched training sessions that turned into “a-ha moments” when I was aware that I had enough breath to bitch and moan. Through sadness and perspective and contentment. To joy.
Today my year has come full circle. Today the circle of life has been more deeply intertwined with those around me. Today my mind that circles like an out of control top rests easy. Today the counter-clockwise circling of the stairwell has settled my spinning soul.
And how cool is that? Trust me, it’s pretty darn cool. But perhaps you know that from my swagger…
And while I’m talking about how cool I am…Team Foley won the team division! Thanks to Dawn, Andre, and Jerry for posting the fastest times for us. We had a great time talking trash at (and hugging) last year’s winners who were 16 seconds behind us. I believe that earns us the right to climb first next year!
It’s what all the cool kids are doing, you know.