Dropping Our Pebble in the Pond of Humanity

After 60 hours in a plane over the last two weeks and the privilege of speaking at TEDxWeldQuay, TEDxTrastevere and TEDxTallaght, I just returned home to Austin, Texas and to a big hug from my beautiful wife, Maureen. On the way home from Dublin, I stopped in San Francisco for the Nike Women’s Marathon, where a good friend and key part of Kethan’s Story, was running 26.2 miles to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

1383761_10153349306390524_1027466525_nIt was a tough weekend, not just because of the jet lag from Dublin (8 hour time difference), but because it was quite clear who was missing at the event in San Francisco. Kethan. Although I felt Kethan’s presence throughout my TEDx World Tour and had him watching over me on every stage, the tears in his mom and dad’s eyes, as well as mine, were as warm and damp as the day this “human rainbow of one” left our world for the next. The harsh reality of cancer is quite simply, still too harsh. Continue Reading →

My Tribute to Kethan | TEDx World Tour Ends in Magic at Tallaght

Thursday night in Dublin, Ireland was nothing short of magic. As I flew into the Emerald Isle on Thursday afternoon from Rome, I felt the rich hues of green reaching out to embrace me. I have wanted to travel to Ireland all my life. I listen to “trad music,” as my cab driver called it, or to the sounds of bag pipes on St. Andrew’s Day at our school, and my soul moves. It is as if the sound is within me, being heard not through my ears but through my soul.

BWzmFiXIUAArPy0.jpg-largeMy soul moved in Tallaght Thursday night at the Civic Theatre. It is impossible to describe what it feels like to walk out on stage, on to the red dot of a TED stage. Yesterday, I was privileged to make that walk for the fourth time, however, last night was different. As I write this post, I am listening to the same album from Nabiha, Mind the Gap, that I’ve listened to throughout the journey. I met these artists at the airport as I left Austin almost 2 weeks ago. They had just played at the Austin City Limits (ACL) Festival. Their music has moved my soul throughout this TEDx world tour. I listened to it in the green room and in the hallway backstage at TEDxTallaght. It made me dance, move my feet and lightened my heart. Continue Reading →

My Tribute to Kethan | Rainbows, Light and Love at TEDxTrastevere

The image posted to the TEDxTrastevere Facebook page during their TED event last evening captures perfectly the essence of this journey for Kethan. There I am on stage, with my friend, my honored hero, my “little brother,” my angel right there with me, looking over me and the audience for “Drops of Life.”1374234_373259959472807_148909140_n

Over the past five years, I would do anything for Kethan, riding my bike to fundraise, engaging in cancer charities, like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, fighting for access to treatment, but as I look at this picture, I am struck by a deepening realization that I have had since his passing on July 11. I was never his angel; he was mine. From the stage in Rome, I reflected on the impact of this angel on my life, “about the power of one, the power of another human being to completely and fundamentally transform another.” It was in talking with Patrick Rochon, another of the TEDxTrastevere speakers, that I came to realize how Kethan was capable of changing me and others so much. It was his rainbow.

1383063_373325459466257_1945424582_nPatrick is a light artist from Quebec, Canada. He is quite an artist, and he has a deep and beautiful soul. He shared both from the stage, and we shared even more light during a thoughtful and moving conversation as the evening came to a close. I have included an image of one of his works during his performance at TEDxTrastevere to provide just a glimpse of his provoking art. When we turn out the lights and turn on a different lens, it is amazing what we can see. It is our conversation that made it even easier for me to “see” the connection I shared with Kethan and to better understand the connections we each share with others in our lives. Continue Reading →

My Tribute to Kethan | From TEDxWeldQuay to TEDxTrastevere

Sitting aboard Thai Airways on my flight from Malasyia to Rome, I am looking both ahead and behind me. On Saturday, my TEDx world tour reached its official start as I took the stage of TEDxWeldQuay. The Artistry Within of this event capturing every aspect of my time in Penang itself.

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I was greeted by Mee Quin Ooi from their TEDx committee at the airport on Friday and was then whisked off to a wonderful lunch in the Georgetown area. Not only did I properly learn how to use chopsticks, but I discovered a plethora of amazing tastes. Malaysians love their food, and I now understand why. Either they love their food because it is so good or it is so good because they love their food. Either way, this lunch was a spectacular gift.

On Saturday, I awoke with great anticipation. Although I am deeply grateful for the chance to take the stage of each of the three TEDx events at which I will speak, this one in Penang was special. I was in Malaysia, where Kethan’s story started. Although he was born in Austin, his family is Malaysian. This is who he was, where he began and where his Appu and Appachi; his Appu and Amamma still live. Continue Reading →

My Tribute to Kethan | Walking on the Other Side of the Street

As I fly from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, Malaysia, I am in great anticipation of this historic city and the privilege of taking the stage of TEDxWeldQuay tomorrow at the Whiteaway Arcade. Above the clouds, it is easy to forget what is below. From the other side of a cloud, everything below it can look the same.IMG_0576

Just like I came down from the clouds on Tuesday and landed in Kuala Lumpur, I know that in a few short moments I will come down from above these clouds and land in Penang. Just like I was greeted by Kethan’s family in KL, I will be greeted by the extended TEDx family in Penang. I am excited to meet Mee Quin Ooi, who will greet me at the airport, as well as Yee Ling Neoh, the curator for this, the first TEDxWeldQuay. Continue Reading →

My Tribute to Kethan | Arriving in Malaysia

My beloved Kethan lost his fight to leukemia on July 11 this past summer. It is why I am here in Malaysia, and it is why I am traveling to Penang on Friday to speak at TEDxWeldQuay on Saturday. In many ways, this is a very private story, which is why I am so thankful to the family to be able to tell it so very publicly. I speak so loudly for Kethan, because I know that what he taught me can inform us all…  Continue Reading →

My Tribute to Kethan | Making a Difference

As I shared in my recent post about my TEDx world tour for Kethan, this journey is sparked by the deep impact that Kethan and my wife, Maureen’s, cancer have had on my life, my work and my soul.

It is my deep belief that the “Power of People. Connected.” will be vital to finally dethroning the “Emperor of all Maladies,” as Sidhartha Mukherjee calls it in his book of the same name. As I make my journey from Malaysia to Rome to Dublin, it is my hope that my TEDx talks will spark a desire in each of us to follow our souls and our hearts to be inspired like I have been by Kethan. That inspiration can and will take many different forms. We can each be a pebble that creates our own ripple effect in the pond of humanity.

For me, there are a few causes or ponds into which I am throwing my pebble in the fight with cancer. Continue Reading →