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|Published: Dec.10.2005 @ 12:50 pm
| Last edited: Mar.14.2006 @ 8:36 pm
|To bring everyone to the same playing floor in regards to Jimmy V., I am including a little history.
James Thomas Anthony Valvano (March 10, 1946 - April 28, 1993), nicknamed Jimmy V, was an American college basketball coach. While the head coach at North Carolina State University, he won the 1983 NCAA National Championship.
He accepted the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the ESPY award dinner on March 4, 1993 shortly before he succumbed after a 10-month courageous battle with an aggressive bone cancer on April 28, 1993. He was only 47 years old. He knew he was very ill when he accepted the award and made his historic speech in which he set up, with the help of ESPN, the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. He said the motto of the foundation was to be, "Don't give up! Never give up!" He lived true to his words.
He was so weak, he had to be carried from the wheelchair in his room tothe stage where he gave his speech. Dick Vitale, his good friend, helped him stand at the podium. He is so strong throughout his
speech, one would never know how near death he truly was. He mentioned his body was full of tumors and he didn't know how much time he had left, but that night he was going to take as much time as it took because he had a few things he had to say! To heck with the timer!
He planned on coming back the following year to award the Arthur Ashe Award himself. That was not to happen, but he fought his dread disease until the very end. He didn't give up. He never gave up!
To read his speech in its entirety, go to:
I watched my young but beloved Jayhawk basketball team lose another very close game at the Jimmy V Tournament in New York City. Afterwards, instead of changing the channel, I got caught up in
watching the between game chit chat about this coach, Jimmy V. "I know about him," I thought to myself. They aired his speech and I was struck by the profundity of it. Later, I Googled his name on
my computer's browser and found out more about this amazing man, so near death, who gave a coache's speech of a lifetime. Don't give up. Never give up! That was so ME. Some might call that stubbornness, but that is what makes up my spirit, my strength! Jimmy V 'n Me.
I was diagnosed with cancer just about a year ago. It was caught early with routine mammography and through surgery and treatment, which I completed in April of 2005, I have an 80% chance of no recurrence.
My other disease, Parkinson's disease (PD), IS catastrophic, and after 23 years of living with it, I can acknowledge that I have it; that it is incurable and degenerative. But I'm fighting it, too. Just because I have it doesn't mean it will dominate MY life. I have told others with PD there is always hope for a cure as long as you don't give up. Never give up. Yeah, Jimmy V 'n me.
There were several quotes he said throughout his lifetime that struck my fancy because they reflect my beliefs. I have discovered another kindred spirit who, though already done with his mission in
this life, I know I will meet again on the other side?, or in Heaven. It is the place to which we all return. I like to call it HOME.
To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two--spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think, and cry, that's a heck of a day."
Now I feel I'm okay, I'm normal! I seem to have no problems shedding a tear, and it's usually something on TV or a song verse, but Jimmy V would say that was a good thing. I laugh at a lot of
things, too, having a family full of wise-crackers. I have my prayer time in the morning when I thank our Creators for granting me that day. I can talk over my latest reading or surrender a burden unto them. I seem to wake up at sunrise or just before. They are telling us good morning with the lovely colors at sunrise. I can breathe a sigh of relief. It's okay to be an emotive person. Jimmy V would say it's a requirement for having a heck of a day! Yep, I agree! Jimmy V 'n me.
Our souls chose to come back here for the experience and so we should experience life to the fullest, every single day. He was described as being an emotional, passionate person. Jimmy's way is a very
emotive formula. It's ME! It is so me, that's for sure. Yeah, Jimmy V 'n and me!
Cancer can take away all my physical ability. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.
I feel the same way about Parkinson's. It may make my voice disappear, my body too weak and imbalanced to stand, and I may get to the point when I am fed through a tube in my stomach because the muscles in my throat can't swallow any more. But I will not give up. I will never give up. The spirit of my hope for a cure will remain long after I am gone. My fighting spirit! No matter what happens, that will remain here! Jimmy V 'n me!
It was reported during the broadcast that the middle daughter, Jamie, has had her own cancer to battle at age 33. She has had breast cancer. It had not spread, so I would imagine they caught hers in time, similar to my experience.
How do you go from where you are to where you want to be? I think you have to have an enthusiasm for life. You have to have a dream, a goal and you have to be willing to work for it.
The state of Missouri is having a referendum vote ayear from now to allow federally allowed stem cell research in their state. The pro-side of this issue is making a valiant effort to educate the public of the benefits of supporting this citizen-based referendum that would prohibit any anti-stem cell research state legislation from being passed. There already is a multi-billion dollar lab in Kansas City involved in stem cell research. It employs many intelligent scientists. I want them to keep their jobs in next-door Missouri, Too many of America's brightest and best have jumped ship and are doing research for foreign companies. A Kansas City youth recently returned from China after receiving
embryonic stem cell implants in his spine. He is already having tingling in his legs and expects to be walking in a year's time, with a lot of physical therapy and work.
Know that I have a dream of being healed, completely cured. I believe in saving lives “my life!" I believe the cure will be found in embryonic stem cells, while they are young, malleable cells and not identifiable yet as skin stem cells or toenail stem cells. They can extract stem cells from 20 cells in a Petri dish. The brand new stem cells can learn from the remaining old cells in the Substantia Nigra, deep in the brain, how to produce lots of new, fresh dopamine, the neurotransmitter that my body needs so desperately. My first neurologist from the University of Kansas Medical Center believed there would be a cure found for Parkinson's in his lifetime. Unfortunately, his life was cut short in October by a heart attack.
I've been told I have a LUST for life, and I've read that about Jimmy V over and over. There you go again -- Jimmy V 'n me!
I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can't trust em.
This is where I have a laugh the day! This is so funny!! What more can be said about a couple of smarts-a****. Jimmy V 'n me!
My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.
I recently had a friend who thanked me for believing in him. He thought my memory of how he used to be as a young man in college was rememberedthrough my rose colored glasses. It wasn't until he listened to
some audio tapes he had made in college which were like journal entries that he heard a young man who was pretty happy-go lucky, much like the one I had been insisting I remembered. I kept reassuring him I remembered the good side as well as the grumpy side he called the warts but that over all, he'd been a sweet person. After a few months, he started to believe what I remembered of him was true. He was an all right guy. I believed in him then and I believe in him today. It helped him figure out he was a nice guy after all. Now he know just who he is. Jimmy V 'n me -- we've got that part down.
No matter what business you're in, you can't run in place or someonewill pass you by. It doesn't matter how many games you've won.
Isn't this the truth! My husband and I earn our living by owning our own photography studio. My husband struggles with this concept of putting on his business running shoes? every day. Jimmy V 'n me would agree that you can't rely on the statusquo. There IS no such thing. If you're not moving ahead, you're falling behind.
6 quotes that I find very inspirational and so ME. One way I identified with them was how I used to
coach Cheerleaders and Pompon girls. It meant choreography, technique, team work and demonstrating what it was you wanted from them. During the summer, we used to have practice every morning, M-F, at 5:00 a.m. to accommodate everyone's work schedules. Thegirls got there on time. All of us loved what we weredoing. We watched the sun rise together every day that summer.
I have a feeling Jimmy V and me told the young people we coached a lot of the same things to
motivate and support them.
We believed in what we did, heart and soul. We worked with high-strung athletes, hand chosen and culled from the crowd. They responded to positive, firm, and high expectations. It worked! Our Pompon Squad beat out over 50 other squads to win the Best of the Best trophy one year at camp. I know it was not the NCAA Championship, but for us, it was. We had that as our goal and we won it. No, we earned it. It took a lot of work and early-bird mornings. Our motto had been, "Don't quit. Don't ever quit."
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|Published: Jun.27.2005 @ 11:07 pm
| There is a song that has always spoken to me and the way I used to live.
â€śStop and Smell the Rosesâ€ť
You got to stop and smell the roses
Youâ€™ve got to count your many blessings every day
Youâ€™re gonna find your way to heaven is a rough and rocky road
If you donâ€™t stop and smell the roses along the way.
Iâ€™ve met a lot of people who have been diagnosed with Parkinsonâ€™s
Disease. Many of them have said, rather vociferously, â€śWhy
ME?â€ť I answer that question every time with, â€śWhy NOT me?â€ť
Itâ€™s turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It forced me off
the fast track I was on and made me slow down to enjoy life. The
choices I had on down the road had just been limited by what was real
-- Parkinsonâ€™s. There is no cure and it only gets worse.
How do you manage that: exercise, medications, knowledge of what
the enemy is and how to fight it, and most of all, a positive mental
I am the eternal optimist and tend to look at the world through
rose-colored glasses. My biggest problem used to be seeing the
real roses go by as a blur because I was living life in that fast
lane. My real roses were my children and husband, my career and
push to better my education, and my time spent in prayer and meditation.
I began using my left hand to hold my right hand still because of the
tremors. But I was too busy to do any more about it. I had two small children to raise, a full-time teaching
career, a masterâ€™s thesis to complete and a husband to keep happy.
I was serving as president of the teachersâ€™ union. I was on the
churchâ€™s worship committee, singing in a gospel quartet as well as our
church choir and directing the childrenâ€™s church choir while singing
solos. I played piano for the schoolâ€™s choir and yearly musical.
I sewed my daughterâ€™s red velvet dress she wore at
Christmas. I cross-stitched a nativity scene and framed it
as a small ornament which the children hung on the churchâ€™s fellowship
Christmas tree. Where did I fit in aerobics class, nurturing my
husband and our children, feeding the dogs and the cat? I'm not sure, but I DID get it done. I even
lost all the baby weight Iâ€™d gained (when did I EAT?) and got down to my college dress
size again. I seemed to be doing it all. It was the days of
the Super-Mom. I think I was president of that club, too. Did I
mention that my husband and I were building an Amway business as
well? The ladies around the block wanted to know how I got my
little boyâ€™s socks so white! I bought an album one night from a
Christian singing group at an Amway Rally. My favorite song of
the night was, â€śYouâ€™ve Got to Stop and Smell the Roses.â€ť The words in
that song really spoke to me. â€śHey, you, thatâ€™s right, you, the
Super Mom.â€ť It made me ask myself , â€śhow was I to do it all AND stop
and smell the roses, too?â€ť
What was I missing out on?
The next line in the song says, â€śYouâ€™ve got to count your many
blessings every day.â€ť I started taking time out of my busy day to
do just that. The nicest thing that happened was that I had more
blessings than I could get through during my prayer time. As my
list of Godâ€™s good graces grew, I started taking more time out of each
day to pray.
It was also at this time I got some other news. I was diagnosed
definitively as having Parkinsonâ€™s Disease, that
old-personâ€™s-slows-you-down-disease. I must have been flaunting
my capacity for "doing it all." God was using this as a bigger
message to me. I needed to s-l-o-w way down before I wore myself out.
The song continues with, â€śYouâ€™re gonna find your way to heaven is a
rough and rocky road.â€ť So why NOT me? If I had to
have a neurological disorder as the gravel on my road to heaven, I was
lucky enough to get one that research was gaining on finding a
Thereâ€™s so much research going on to find medicines and surgery to
better treat the symptoms, that having Parkinsonâ€™s could be viewed as a
blessing. It could have been a much worse disease!
When you have Parkinsonâ€™s, you DO slow down. You move, talk, eat,
and react slower than you used to. It takes longer to get from
point A to point Z. You may be forced to slow down because of
balance issues. Parkinsonâ€™s Disease makes you stop and smell the
roses. Hopefully you wonâ€™t topple over into the rose bush and you
still have some sense of smell!
God loved me so much he knew what it would take to make me slow down,
and wipe some of the film off my rose colored lenses. Parkinsonâ€™s Disease
did make me take time to stop, and smell lifeâ€™s beautiful roses,
counting my many blessings every day.
It was a lesson I had to learn. Maybe others, even without the
help of Parkinson's, will stop now and smell their own beautiful roses
and give thanks for their many blessings received today.
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|Published: Jun.24.2005 @ 11:01 am
is something Iâ€™ve always felt is Godâ€™s radiant light spilling out of
each of us. It blazes out from our eyes, seeps through our teeth and
mouth like the sunlight shining through an old barn door with big
spaces between its aged wooden planks. It softly filters out the very
pores of our skin. Is this the aura, Godâ€™s light, that perceptive
people can see surrounding we other beings?Some people are too
angry at the world to give Godâ€™s radiance any space in their head. They
are convinced He is nothing but a fairy tale. What a loss! We dreamers
who see things in a positive light, canâ€™t keep it contained. His light
is too bright to be bottled up by one human being, so by smiling, you
release it -- His awesome power -- to others. I am often accused of
being the eternal optimist; of looking at the world through
rose-colored glasses. An incident at Wal-Mart the other day that
supports my view of the world: that people are basically good and
I had to go to the pharmacy to pick up the expensive
drugs I have to take for Parkinsonâ€™s Disease. I had stopped by the bank
to withdraw the amount of cash needed to purchase my medications plus a
little more to cover a few needed household items. While shopping, I
thought of how we could finally give my nephew a birthday gift I had
been lugging around in the car for 6 months.
We were going out
of town in a little while to visit family that included my
sister-in-law, niece and her two little kids from Texas. It suddenly
occurred to me that I couldnâ€™t very well show up with just one birthday
gift. I picked out some nice gifts for my other two little angels. I
had also picked up a get-well card for my only uncle and a couple of
sheets of butterfly stickers. A few extra items not on the shopping
list, but I honestly thought I had enough cash to cover everything.
I got to the checkout line and the bill was totaled, I was short by
$2.00. Iâ€™d left my checkbook in the car so I started hunting for spare
change. My change purse contained only 4 quarters. So I had the checker
deduct one of the packs of butterfly stickers. Even with that, I was
scrambling for the last forty cents.
I could sense the line was
growing behind me as I dug deeply into my billfold for the last few
cents. I heard a voice behind me ask the checker, â€ťHow much does she
need?â€ť I murmured that I was going to have it, and I did, down to the
penny! I picked my things up to hurry out of the way and the voice
said, â€śHow much were those butterflies? Iâ€™ll buy those butterflies for
you.â€ť I finally stopped hurrying, turned around, and there was the
kindly face of an older man that reminded me of a short version of
Buddy Ebsen, the actor who played the Beverly Hillbillies millionaire,
Jed Clampett. I got a big grin on my face, and just thanked him for the
ever so kind offer, but that I still had one packet of butterflies
left, which was fine enough, and then I just stood there smiling at him
for a moment. He smiled back, a crooked little grin, just like Buddyâ€™s!
I had felt Godâ€™s awesome power at that very moment, in a smile
exchanged between two strangers.
In todayâ€™s world, there are
still reminders that people are basically good and worthy of being
smiled upon by all of us. Just open your eyes and take them off
yourself for a minute. Look around. This is how I saw that man. He
wasnâ€™t just some impatient customer, trying to get this lady on her
way: he was genuinely going to help me out. Maybe he was an angel, sent
here to test how I would respond to a random act of kindness from a
stranger. Or maybe he was just an angel here to help me out of a jam. A
nice older gentleman, a generous person, is what he really was.
He had said to me, â€śI will buy you butterflies.â€ť
What he gave me instead was a smile.