On January 22, 2002, Louie Bonpua lost his battle with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) after a 4 1/2 year fight. Just two days before he passed away, Louie carried the Olympic Torch in San Francisco with the Golden Gate Bridge as his backdrop. I remember getting up at the crack of dawn to watch him carry the torch – tons of Leukemia and Lymphoma Team in Training athletes and me. Louie wasn’t doing well at that point and there were rumors that he wouldn’t be able to carry the torch at all because the doctors weren’t going to let him out of the hospital. But, that foggy and cold morning he pulled up in an ambulance – straight from the hospital – got out and carried out the torch on his own two feet for the quarter mile trek. He then left in the ambulance, fell into a coma that night and passed away two days later.
I was fortunate to get to know Louie (aka Shrimp Louie) through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training when we were both training for triathlons. When we were working out and things got tough, Louie would come over and ask how you were doing and he’d constantly push you to do more, be better and go beyond your boundaries. One thing I remember Louie constantly saying was “Don’t try. Do!”
By trying to do something, you are implying that there’s room for failure and well, that wasn’t an option for Louie.
This year make a point in your life and in your work to make a difference. If your reference program doesn’t have money, find out ways to make it better without spending money. If the way you are doing things now isn’t working, make a point of changing them.
Don’t just try to make your life and your reference program better this year. Do make it better!
You can view the Louie Bonpua tribute here.