The longest absence yet

Hey everyone,

Surprise! It’s me, your long lost email buddy! So long for me to be away you are probably wondering what happened to me. Well take comfort I’m here and doing fine, thriving even!

I hope you have all been well and that 2004 is treating you fantastically.What have I been doing, where have I been, how have I been? The answers to these questions and many more to follow.

The truth is that for some reason I have not felt like writing an email. Many times I thought it was in me and when I got to the computer, nothing was there to come out. A very strange phenomenon for me as usually I get this urge to say something without knowing specifically what it is, then when I get to my computer it flows out.

We’ll I’m here and I do have something things that I specifically want to say, and I’ll start by recapping a little.

Since you last heard from me with a full message in November ‘03 I have been busy, sometimes more than I should be, but generally I have a pretty good handle on that. In December I was extremely fortunate to attend the National Cancer Leadership Forum (NCLF) in Aylmer, Quebec. It was one of those “TSN Turning Point” weekends as I was elected to Chair a Public Engagement Team and sit on the NCLF Leadership Team. Did you know that a “Canadian Strategy for Cancer Control” exists? Well you aren’t alone; most Canadians don’t. And that is largely because it is a document without the necessary action attached to it, at present. The NCLF and the Leadership Team have undertaken the mandate to get this essential national strategy implemented. Really exciting and important stuff that I have been working on and I promise to keep you updated there.

Back in October ‘03 I had one of those amazing days when I spoke to the Canadian Student Leadership Conference at Mile One Stadium in St. John’s. There were about 3,000 students there and it was a pretty exceptional experience. However since then I haven’t done much speaking. Actually I don’t think I was in another school for the rest of 2003.

I committed myself to finishing a strategic renewal process I started in June of last year. I spent a lot of the fall working to finalize the future direction of RealTime Cancer (RTC). It was an extremely rewarding and challenging process for me personally, which I feel was compounded by my very close emotional connection to RTC. And the work and effort of many different people has produced a strategy that will see RTC be the #1 Canadian Cancer resources for young people in need of inspiration, non-medical information and support.

The major tool in that strategy is a new website and that really is the reason I’m back in your inbox today. Today we are bringing the new RTC website to the community and I wanted you to be among the first to see it. The new site isn’t just a website; attached is a portal, the RTC Portal, which is a very interactive space with discussion forums, weblogs for patients who want to share their story (all my emails are there in my weblog since November 1998) and also a collection of other sections that relate to RTC’s core message of positive attitude. In short now that we have created the portal our focus will switch to building a community of young people who have faced or are facing a Cancer Challenge. We will provide the environment in which they connect, interact and get the information they need.

I’m sure it’s going to be a long road to build this community but it’s a challenge I’m definitely up for tackling and I know it’s doable. I encourage you to check out the new site, have a look around the portal, and register as a user if it’s of interest. You can count on hearing from me again through this email group and if you wish you can always check my weblog to read messages I’ve written.

Switching gears…

I’ve written a collection of times about the fact that many of my docs expected my Leukemia to return last fall or early winter. The belief was that usually my first remission (the period without detectable cancer) will be my longest. My first remission was about two years to two years and three months long. So for arguments sake we’ll say it was 27 months, which means that about a month ago my second remission became longer than my first! So far my blood continues to be pretty good, a couple of things going on that we are keeping an eye on and working to correct but generally I’m feeling great. Like many I know I’ve had a flu that won’t go away completely but I’m working through that too.

I have to tell you that while we all know the future is uncertain I do have a heightened awareness of that fact. And as this major milestone approached my mind raced in many different directions and reaching this point has brought a pretty cool feeling inside. Another step in the journey of beating the odds that I am keen to continue.

I will be here more often going forward, that’s a promise, as I have some really interesting discoveries and realities that I want to share. Hope you are doing well, check out our new website and count on hearing from me again soon.

Always…
Live life. Love life.

Geoff

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