I put my life on hold for five years.
I had Stage IV lymphoma twenty 24 years ago when I was 24 years old. While the chemo and radiation were grueling, the emotional aftermath was even harder. My doctor told me that I was “touch and go” for a year after my treatment – the cancer would probably return. They said that if I made it to the “one year mark”, I was essentially cured. And if I made it to the “5 year mark”, I was definitely cured. The chances of the cancer returning after 5 years would be the same as anyone else – cancer patient or otherwise.
I was an emotional wreck. I used to be embarrassed to admit this. The sword of Damocles loomed large. I was so freaked out that the cancer would return. I stayed in school to avoid accountability and stress. I chose law school over business school because it had an extra year. I took it easy. I put my life on hold. And, eventually, I was cured.
Five years ago, I shot a video with cancer patient Rhett Krawitt. It was awesome and heartbreaking at the same time. He was 5 years old and had an aggressive form of leukemia. We did a fundraiser to raise money and asked many of my VC colleagues to donate their time to raise money towards the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). It was a great success and raised a lot of money. I didn’t see Rhett again. Until now.
Five years later, Rhett is now 10. He is a strikingly cute boy with a great head of hair. He is like any other 10 year old – he has his hobbies (tennis and sailing), loves to play with his friends. There is one big difference – he went through 2.5 grueling years of chemotherapy and radiation to enjoy the everyday ups and downs of being a ten year old. He is 10x tougher than I ever was and many others will ever be. He got on with his life. He’s now nearly 5 years in remission.
I’m thrilled to announce that we are getting the band together. Today, Notable Labs is announcing the 2018 VC Master Lunch Auction Series to benefit the LLS. (Notable Labs is a Refactor portfolio company). For this project, VC colleagues and friends are donating their most precious asset – their time. People bid for a meeting to meet a VC. It’s not a pitch meeting, per se. It’s a chance to meet a world-class investor and have a casual meeting. And all proceeds go to the LLS. Please look here for more details.
This is a great cause and a great idea – literally, service for philanthropy. People who bid and win will get some time to meet some of the best businesspeople in the world. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society generates more resources to tackle blood cancer. And more patients like Rhett and me will hit their “5 year mark.” And it’s something Rhett, I and the LLS won’t ever forget.