If you had to pick three words to describe the nominee, what would they be?
Determined, hilarious and awe-inspiring
How has the nominee coped with adversity in their cancer journey?
"---- happens, whatever life throws at you, just be the bigger person and be willing to go through with what you want to do, not with what life wants you to do." is one of his living mottos. At age of 16, being a 3 sport athlete in high school playing basketball to 3 days later not being able to move the right side of his body, hearing the dreaded words brain cancer it was just the beginning of his story. Oh how things changed ever so quickly, loosing the ability to swallow and protect his airway, radiation, brain hemorrhage, coma all became reality with in a couple of days. The doctors gathered and spoke in hours not days of how much time on left on Earth. As hours passed the doctors spoke of vegetative state he would remain in again for his very limited time on earth. Fighting to regain his ability to hold his head up, learning to communicate without the ability to speak, to learning to live with the lose of most abilities that you have as a toddler, he did it with his sense of humor. He demanded out of himself he was not going to just sit around and live in the misery that cancer brings. He didn't accept timelines, you will never agains, impossibles that was stated. He fought, he regained, he believed, he dared to dream and dream big, he got busy living not dyeing. Having a front seat view to all the miracles and being able to witness to his heroic battle and will to keep getting busy living was so awe inspiring.
In what ways does the nominee bring the mantra of "get busy living" into their day-to-day life?
Get busy living is what he continues to do in every moment of his life. He may have lost his ability to walk, speak normally but he wasn't going to let that slow him down. Refusing to accept the medical reports he fought his way back to be able to graduate on time and enroll in the University of Kentucky. He accepts no excuses to not to get busy living out of himself. He continues to go to school, to fight to regain strength in his physical body as well as mentally. Never letting the fear of failure overcome going after his dreams.
What is unique about the way the nominee gets busy living?
Busy living this young man never stops. He is busy living his dreams of being a student and manager at the University of Kentucky. Being a manager of the University of Kentucky men's basketball requires a huge time commitment. His ultimate dream is to become a motivational speaker. He recently did a feature story about his journey the last 5 years for SEC Network, an ESPN channel. Speaking to groups of middle school students showing them it is ok to be different, no matter how bad you may have it or you think you have it there is always a way to make your dreams come true. Inspiring others to be a better person and keep laughing and smiling no matter what your circumstance may be.
How has the nominee impacted you directly?
Having a front row seat on this journey, I am in awe of this young man fight, courage, strength, passion to live, tenacity and his determination to help others. His journey has opened my eyes to the bigger picture outside of my tiny space here on earth. On this journey, my son has impacted every breathing moment of my life. He has shown me God is good no matter what. God doesn't promise you life is going to be easy and he will not take away all the pain and suffering that you have gone or you maybe going through but it is going to be worth it in the end.