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September 25, 2009
Cancer 4 College
 
 


A few months ago whenever someone asked me the question "how’s it going?"...my standard answer was always the same..."Well...all the important elements of my life are great...I’m healthy...my kids are healthy...inside and out...I have an incredible girlfriend who I love dearly...I have lots of friends and family who care about me...what more can anyone ask for in life?"

Then on July 11th, I crashed my bicycle while training for a charity ride down the California coast and ended up spending 4 days in the hospital which was exactly 3 more days that I had ever spent in the hospital in my entire life...CUMULATIVELY... 
 
I guess it takes a visit to the hospital for a few days to make one really appreciate all of the hard working health care professionals whose sole job is to make their patients healthy again...
 
Now I’ve been to hospitals before...as a visitor...as an expectant father...as a vendor...but never as a patient...so this unexpected visit was a voyage into uncharted territory for me
 
...but not for my very good friend Craig Pollard... hospital stays seem to be a way of life for Craig...
 
Last Friday night I once again had the opportunity to attend an annual event that I haven’t missed for the last 11 years.  The event was the Cancer 4 College dinner held at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego hosted by my friend Craig with his special guest and good friend Will Ferrell. 
  
Cancer 4 College is a charity organization that provides scholarships to worthy young men and women who have survived cancer and/or have had limbs amputated.  What started as a college project for Craig has turned into a phenomenal organization employing exactly one person (talk about low overhead) and 100’s of volunteers.  College for Cancer has now awarded over $250,000 in scholarships to well-deserving college bound students.
 
Unlike me, Craig has spent way too much of his life in hospitals.  He was only 14 when he was first diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma disease.  He spent several months at the City of Hope near Los Angeles undergoing chemo treatments to fight his cancer.  He was nineteen and a student at USC when the cancer reoccurred.  This time it would take a bone marrow transplant to save his life. 
 
Craig married his college sweetheart Stacey.  The family now lives in suburban San Diego and has grown to include Josh, Jared and Grace.  I am happy to report that been cancer-free for over 20 years.
 
After his second bout with cancer, Craig saw not only the loss of life that cancer exacts, but also the financial ruin that it can bring to families.  After the paying the costs of medical treatment for their children, many of the families could no longer afford the high costs of college tuition.  Upon returning to USC for his own studies, he wrote a business plan and Cancer for College was born.
 
The first fund raiser was a golf tournament for 24 of his closest friends.  That year they awarded one $500 scholarship.  The annual golf tournament and dinner has continued to grow over time but the real boost came when his USC fraternity brother, Will Farrell (and his wife Vivica) decided to join hands and help the cause...with the help of Will, Cancer 4 College has raise millions of dollars to benefit the cause.
 
At this year’s dinner, young men and women told courageous stories of their success fights with cancer as well as stories of those not so fortunate.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the house especially those of us who are parents.  That evening, over $60,000 in scholarships were awarded to well-deserving men and women.
 
Three years ago, another chapter was written in Craig’s story.  Shortly after the birth of his daughter, Craig contracted a viral infection that brought him close to death once again...after 12 weeks of battling the virus, Craig was allowed to leave the hospital to go home to see his new-born girl and reunite with his family...only now both his legs were amputated below his knees due to the infection...
 
I remember the day that Craig first arrived home.  He soon e-mailed friends, family and well-wisher that he had forestalled death again...at the end of his e-mail his had made a list of why it was good not to have legs...
  1. No more toe nails to clip
  2. Prosthetics made him taller
  3. He lost 20 pounds without dieting

He challenged others to complete the list...

So you might ask..."what does this have to do with fuses?"...nothing would be my reply
 
Friday blogs are about hope... perseverance... dreams ...and triumphs...Craig and Stacey Pollard and their Cancer 4 College Foundation embody these ideals...
 
OptiFuse is proud to support the Pollards and Cancer 4 College.

Thank you very much for supporting our company as we turn support others in our community



Jim Kalb
President
OptiFuse
jimk@optifuse.com

 

 
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