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Leukemia Ninja
by Rick Sidorowicz

 
   
 
   

We often look to great authors, philosophers and leaders for inspiration and there are so many wonderful and quite famous stories. I would like to share a "story" of a less famous, but a very loved, unique and caring person whose "head, heart and guts" in the face of adversity will challenge you to be better, live better, appreciate what you have, and care for others. Please allow yourself to be inspired.

Lori Angelique Richmond

Back in 2002 I received an article submission from this young Guest Service Agent with a resort in the western United States. It was titled A View from the Flip Side and talked about leadership from the point of view of those being led - your employees on the front line. I was intrigued. I thought it was superb.

You can read the article here - http://www.refresher.com/alarflipside2010.html

We did correspond from time to time but lost connection.

Fast forward to 2010.

Thanks to the power of social media we reconnected on Facebook, and Lori is keeping me up to date with her progress. She's a Director of Training with the Doubletree Downtown hotel in San Antonio.

Lori also has a challenge. She's fighting Leukemia.

Update from Lori ...

"Hey Rick. Saw you tried to im earlier...probably during one of my 10min crashouts. My white blood cell count this morning came in at 0.5...in case you haven't heard, that is NOT a good thing. They put me on neutropenic precautions. Basically that just means everyone has to wear masks when they visit, can't have fresh flowers in my room, nor fresh fruits / veggies (couldn't even have lettuce and tomato on my sandwich today). It makes me feel like E.T. with all the precautions. It's just because if I catch the smallest illness right now (cough / cold) my body would not b able to fight it off. It feels like overkill, but I know the gravity of it...wish I didn't, though. Would make things much easier. Hope you're well. I'll keep you informed. I have a bone marrow biopsy tomorrow morning. Take care."

Then the walk ...

"The Doubletree CARES Light the Night Walk Team CAN NOT WAIT for walk night!!! It's getting so close! Keep raising the bucks, San Antonio...all of us super awesome Leukemia Ninja-Warriors out there appreciate you! ;-)"

The Light The Night Walk is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's evening walk and fundraising event. It is the nation's night to pay tribute and bring hope to thousands of people battling blood cancers and to commemorate loved ones lost. Lori and her team raised over $5,000 for the cause.

Check out her video interview ...

 

You can still donate here - http://pages.lightthenight.org/sctx/SAntonio10/LRichmond

Please do.

Update from Lori ...

"Surgery went from lasting a projected one hour to over three and a half...I'm just THAT interesting I guess! ;-) . Biopsies of 3 areas were taken. Now waiting for the results, which may take 24-48hrs. A bit sore, and very tired, but otherwise, it's all good...now to find that pink glittery wheelchair to match my pink glittery wig!!!!! ;-)"

Next one ...

"Super awesome good news of the day...the "tumors" they biopsed yesterday...NOT CANCEROUS!!!! Woohoo!!! Anyone who questions that prayer works...let me have a chat with them. :-)"

Wow, some good news!

More info on Light the Night here - http://www.lightthenight.org/

Tina Fey was the national celebrity spokesperson but Lori Richmond is their heart and soul.

Update after not being in touch with people for awhile ...

"Oh for crying out loud everbody...I'm just fine...chillax already!!! Hanging for a bit at a friend's house from church for a little recovery time. Back to work by end of week cuz there's training to be done!!!"

Next cause to support ...

"This weekend was Halloween, for many children though, they cannot go have fun with their friends today because they are ill. They are in desperate need of a bone marrow or blood stem cell transplant. YOU can help, YOU could be the next one to be a lifesaver and help save the life of someone in need of a life-saving transplant..."

Check out the Gift of Life - Bone Marrow Foundation

Next updates ...

‎"God didn't promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but He did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears, and light for the way."

"Our Team Members at Homewood Suites San Antonio North ROCK!!! The Housekeeping Supervisor, Yvonne, and her crew are all amped up to cut their hair for "Locks of Love", who makes wigs for cancer patients. More to come... :-)"

If you have good hair, consider donating it to Locks of Love. A simple act of caring can have an amazing impact!

Next updates ...

"Six days and counting til my next chemo treatment of cytoxan (aka-ethyl methyl nastiness). It's about time for a haircut anyways...I mean, seriously, I have 1/4 inch of hair on my head and my eyebrows grew back. we can NOT have that!"

"BALD is BEAUTIFUL!!! and pink wigs are pretty cool, too! ;-)"

"Hospital yesterday, classroom set-up today, teaching class tomorrow, giving a meeting Wednesday, and CHEMO on Thursday! What a week! (hey...at least I get Friday off) ;-)"

"We both know what happens when the mindset drops to anything below positive, so time to :-) smile and "embrace the suck"! Only way to go ;-)"

"Starting to track what REALLY happens during my chemo treatments..."

Watch her video ...

Leukemia Ninja...Fighting Like a Girl!!!



and the second installment ...

Leukemia Ninja - Fighting Like a Girl!!!

 

More updates ...

Do you have courage? Lori does.

"My inspiration - The Spirit & all it's fight against fear & uncertainty. The willingness of total strangers to go out of their way to do something nice for another & the ripple effect that happens after. Laughter every day. Fear less and live more. Being present to appreciate what I have right now. Look for my blessing..."

Do you have a positive attitude? Lori does.

"Don't worry everyone...on the way to Cancer Care Center of South Texas today, Santa told me and my awesome lil roommate Kathryn that the cure for cancer will be in my stocking...just one more month!!! ;-)"

Are you grateful? Lori is.

Leukemia Ninja - My life from November 2009 to November 2010 in pictures.

"Over the past year, I have had more to be thankful for than any year of my entire life.  Please find below the link to the video that shows a little about what my Doubletree Family and my Church Family have given me to be thankful about.  Thanks so very much to all of you, and I truly hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving Day!"

 

A few inspiring quotes from Lori ...

‎"When you are dealing with cancer, there is so much chaos going on in your life. I think that you have to always be on the lookout for that bright, little shining star in the midst of all that chaos because it IS there." - Anna Marie J.

"The day which we fear as our last is but the birthday of eternity." - Lucius Annaeus Seneca

‎"A friend is someone who knows the song in your heart and sings it back to you when you have forgotten how it goes." - Author Unknown

‎"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

This is from Lori ...

I will be TRUE, for there are those that trust me.
I will be PURE, for there are those that care.
I will be STRONG, for there is much to suffer.
I will be BRAVE, for there is much to dare.

Wow! What a caring, courageous and special young lady!

And thank you to the Doubletree San Antonio Downtown hotel for supporting Lori through her challenges. You have a huge heart.

More about Lori at CaringBridge.org .

Thank you for reading this so far. It's my little way of acknowledging Lori and supporting her good work and hopefully making you aware of what you can do to help find the cure.

What I would like you to consider doing is this:

  1. Support Lori's cause, specifically the Light the Night walk. That will help her get the research and care she needs to live well. You can donate here -
    http://pages.lightthenight.org/sctx/SAntonio10/LRichmond

  2. Support the other initiatives that are so meaningful to those in need - Gift of Life - Bone Marrow Foundation and Locks of Love.

  3. Share this article and her videos with your friends to raise awareness and acknowledge Lori's courage and caring.

  4. If you believe in prayer, please pray for Lori's recovery. Our world needs her.

  5. If you don't believe in prayer please take a minute of silence on her behalf to help sustain her courage.

  6. Please donate as you can to your local Leukemia and Cancer research agencies.

  7. Appreciate and cherish what you have and where you are.

Oh! Her latest project:

You could be the one to SAVE A LIFE!

Imagine this...just by doing something as simple as swabbing your cheek, you can be on your way to saving the life of person battling leukemia, or another type of terminal cancer.  The person you match may be a 10 year old child, a mother, grandfather, or even me.  As most of you are well aware, in December I was placed on the National Bone Marrow Transplant Registry.  Without a bone marrow transplant, my leukemia is incurable.  Be The Match and the National Bone Marrow Registry are searching potential donors for me daily.  A match has not yet been found.  There are over 7,000,000 people on the donor registry, ready to save a life right now. It will take only one to save mine.  One of you may very well BE that one!

Over the next several months, I will be kicking off a personal project along the lines of what we did with Light the Night.  Myself and several other CARE Committee Presidents volunteering to help will be contacting as many Hilton Family properties as we can, inviting them to join us in raising awareness for Bone Marrow Donation by holding Be The Match Registry informational meetings and sign-up drives for their Team Members, and for their Communities.  In the last week, we have had 4 Doubletrees, 1 Embassy, 1 Homewood, and 1 Hilton Garden Inn come on board.  2 of the Doubletrees have already had Team Members send off and complete their donor registrations! Doubletree Keywest was the first of these.  All of these properties also participated in the Light the Night Leukemia Walks.  Asking those who are so naturally in the mindset of service to others to continue their service to SAVE LIVES just makes sense!

The US Postal Service has been responsible, as an Organization, for bringing nearly 48,000 people into the registry as donors.  I fully intend to rival their numbers by the end of this project.  As this progresses, I truly hope that we can again count on your spirited support of our efforts as with Light the Night.  I also invite you to personally participate by becoming a donor!  Please go to www.bethematch.org , and a donor registration kit will be sent to you.  Please, should you have any questions at all, do not hesitate to contact me.  Knowing that the person who may be the match that saves my life could still be out there has given me a great deal of motivation to make sure that we do this right, and get as many people into the registry as we possibly can.

Wow!

Thank you Lori.

We are not done with you.

Be brave, be strong!

Ninja

Take care.


       
   
 
       
   

The Author

Rick Sidorowicz is the Publisher and Editor of The CEO Refresher and Minister of Culture of High Performance Retail. Contact information is here - www.refresher.com/ceorefreshercontact.html .

 
       
   
 
       
   
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