The Ride for the Roses weekend would not have been complete without meeting, and thanking, Doug Ulman. ?Doug is the President of LiveStrong and a three-time cancer survivor – and he is only one year older than me. ?He had all of his battles with cancer before he was 20! ?His reach is global but what is more amazing is how personal he is with everyone he meets. ?Not only did we get to meet Doug Ulman – we got to converse with him several times. ?The first time was during the kick-off event for the Ride for the Roses, when I went right up to him and gave him a thank you and a big hug. ?We were then greeted by a cheering Doug at the end of the LiveStrong Challenge 5k where he gave Jen and I high-fives in the aisle between the Survivor and Supporter finish chutes. ?We chatted with him after lunch at the LiveStrong HQ that afternoon – giving him a Team Shields band as well. ?And then on Sunday we were greeted by his smiling face after the Ride and then one last time on a rooftop in Downtown Austin at Lance’s bar “Six.”
While it was amazing to get to interact with him so many times, what was more amazing was how his face lit up with recognition before you said a word. ?His connection to this team goes way back – he is a friend of our teammate Jessica from their hometown in Maryland. ?He and Jessica have a special bond and it was through that relationship that she decided to to inform Doug of my second battle with cancer last winter – prompting him to send me this email the day after my surgery. ?You can imagine my surprise when Jen came over with her iPod telling me I had a message from Doug. ?It was quite an uplifting moment and I vowed that I would one day thank him in person – I never thought I’d get to do it so soon and so many times!
Below is the message I received from Doug – much love to Jessica! ?The subject read: A note…
I wanted to drop you a note and let you know that I heard about your recent battle. Everyone at LIVESTRONG is thinking of you and we are here to help in any way possible.
I know you are dealing with a lot of issues right now and facing an uphill battle but I know you will do well.
If I/we can do anything for you and/or your family please let me know.
Keep living strong and know that there are a ton of people pulling for you.