At Jen's service last July, I held on to every word, every recollection, and every beautiful story. And, I found that I was touched by the love that came through in every brave syllable. Through my uncontrollable tears, I remember being particularly struck by the words that Alicia Sands, Jen's dear childhood friend, shared with everyone. As I heard her humor through her pain and felt her genuine love, I thought that all girls should only be so fortunate to experience the depth of true friendship that Alicia and Jen shared. To not only have a friendship that stood the test of time from childhood to adulthood but for it also to be so heartfelt is truly an extraordinary gift.
And so, it came as no surprise that Alicia found many very special ways to remember Jen - including the genius of developing a custom nail polish color with Opi to raise funds for Cycle for Survival. Here is a very special blog post from Alicia, whose friendship with Jen is a true inspiration to us all...
Dave introduced me to Larry and Anne Zimmerman at a kick-off event for this year's Cycle for Survival back in the Fall. Larry and Anne are the parents of Perry Zimmerman, whose book report was featured here a few posts back. Perry is currently undergoing treatment at MSKCC for osteosarcoma and is an amazing example of being fearless! At this year's event, I felt very fortunate to get to meet Perry in person and tell her how special she was to me. I had emailed with her parents and thought of her often, but it was so meaningful to meet her. When I talked to her at the Cycle event, I asked her if she would consider writing a post for You Fearless, never imagining it would work for her busy schedule.
And so I share with you here the reflections of a beautiful 11-year old girl on this year's Cycle for Survival.
Cycle for Survival is here! This weekend, events will be held in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Island! And next week, it's New York, DC and Chicago! Dave already packed his bags and is on the ground ready to go for the first ever Los Angeles ride.
Today, we have a special YouFearless blog post from Dave...
While I’m fired up and ready to have a fantastic 2012 season, there have certainly been moments over the past months where I’ve been challenged by fear. From stepping into the Cycle spotlight, to doing TV interviews (not as easy as Jen made it look!), or to returning to the business school campus where Jen and I met to speak about Cycle to a group of YPO members, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being somewhat fearful at times.
As you all know, Cycle for Survival is around the corner. The remarkable fundraising effort that Jen imagined and developed together with Dave will raise millions of dollars this year - ALL of which will go straight to cancer research. Every single penny. I don't think anyone reading this blog needs inspiration around the importance of Cycle, but it never hurts to remind us all why Jen's mission, OUR mission, to eradicate fear and ultimately cancer from the equation is so important. At the kick-off for Cycle this year, Dave Linn introduced me to a lovely couple - the Zimmermans - and told me about their 11-year old daughter, Perry.
Perry is a shining example of the reason we must all redouble our efforts to raise money for Cycle and support research at MSKCC. A student at The Cathedral School, she often reads the You Fearless blog, spending time with the latest posts and also deriving strength from Jen's original words and videos which fortify Perry during her more challenging moments. She knew and LOVED Jen. Perry is currently being treated at MSKCC for Osteosarcoma, and her story is nothing short of inspiring.
During this holiday week, no matter what your traditions, I hope you have A moment to cherish THE moment. The beauty of the holidays for me is a chance to slow down, think more, and appreciate. It is my privilege to share this post from Andrew Stern, a close friend of Jen and Dave from business school.
Dave Linn appeared on CBS News 2 in New York this morning to talk about Cycle for Survival. As we all work to expand our teams, reach out to new participants and fundraise for Cycle for Survival, there is probably no better explanation than Dave's appearance today. It is so apparent how much Jen touched the reporter and the CBS News team over the years they have covered her story. You can find the link here....
Fearless stories. The mission of living life fearlessly is one we share, as a community of people inspired by Jen. As I mentioned in previous posts, YouFearless.com will become a place where we inspire each other and find new people who can benefit from eliminating fear from the equation. Some posts will focus on one fearless person, while others (like today’s) will include a few more opportunities to check in with fearless people and stories, including Dave Linn!
You have to be fearless to share, and I challenge you to do so. I hope you will email me (Janet Balis Allen) at firstname.lastname@example.org with any stories you might want to share. Everyone reading this post has a story to share, and I hope you will.
You Fearless embraces one of Jen’s core beliefs: that we all can get more out of life and from ourselves, if we eradicate fear from the equation. In Jen’s case, it was a mindset that emboldened her on many fronts. Jen very much wanted You Fearless to continue to embody that mission long after she left us. And so, we honor that wish here by starting to collect and share Fearless stories that can continue to inspire people to push past their fears to build confidence, achieve more and ultimately find more happiness.