Inspiration- Plain and Simple

""As I had mentioned last week, I started this blog to inspire folks engaged in small business; if not to answer questions then to inspire you to ask them. How timely  it was that I came across the article below just a few days later. This is a story of inspiration and hope shared by one whose own life was forever changed by the kindness of selfless strangers, those who chose to donate blood, organs and marrow. I hope you will find as much inspiration in Lauren's story as I did. And Lauren I thank you for permission to share this in its entirety.

But for the Grace of God

Last month, I was
scheduled to give a talk in Barcelona, followed by ten days of writing (read:
playing) in Avignon and Paris. I
was hoping to come across an appropriate story- someone interesting with a
personal tie to the blood cause-
for this column while traveling internationally. Turns out, I didn’t have to
wait very long.

Despite my plan to
sleep through the overnight flight to Spain, Brad, my seatmate, and I instead
spent the better part of the
flight in lively conversation about everything from business and travel to
politics and religion (I know, I know-
propriety was never my strong suit).

Ultimately, the
conversation turned to blood, as it usually tends to do when you’re seated next
to me on a plane. A long-time
blood donor, Brad expanded his efforts in this area 12 years ago by registering
as a bone marrow donor. "A
friend’s son needed a transplant, so I signed up immediately. I wasn’t a match
for his child, but shortly after
joining the registry I was told I was a near-perfect match for a 31-year-old
man in Chicago."

Brad underwent local
anesthesia for the surgical removal of bone marrow through his pelvic bone. The
marrow was then flown to
Chicago where it saved the life of the young man Brad has never met, but whom
he’s been told is doing

"I’m not going to
lie, that procedure hurt," Brad confessed, rubbing his hip as if the cellular
memory of physical pain were still
present. "And the recovery period was rough for me, especially when one of my
kids got the flu and I had to be
quarantined from him. It’s not easy being told you can’t even play with your
own son."

"So would you do it
again?" I asked.

"I would and I did.
Five years later, I was another perfect match, this time for a little boy with

"Even though you’d
had such a tough time with the first donation?" I asked, probing to understand
my new friend’s motivation.

Without a moment’s
hesitation, Brad replied, "I figure, ‘there, but for the grace of God, go I.’"
Having already discussed
spirituality with him, I knew that Brad’s reasoning wasn’t based on religious
dogma or duty, but rather an authentic
sense of one human being wanting to help another human being- even if to do so
was a pain in the

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