Your healthiest New Year’s Resolution? Get Screened for cancer!


COVID-19 caused many Americans to fall behind on screenings.
Getting back on track with regular screenings is essential
to finding cancer early and taking control of your health.
A message from Cancer Screen Week.


By HOWARD BROWN
Author of Shining Brightly

COVID knocked us all off schedule! That’s the nationwide consensus of healthcare providers. All of us need to share the news:

Cancer screening is your healthiest New Year’s resolution!

You can remind others simply by sharing a link to this column with friends and family via social media or email. See those social media sharing buttons at the top of this column? It’s so easy to spread this news.

We all can use this reminder, as a nation. That’s especially true of Americans from our all-too-often underserved minority communities.

If you really understand this challenge—perhaps your family already has struggled with cancer—then you’ll want to take a look at this amazing set of Resources provided for all of us for this year’s Cancer Screen Week. That page has colorful charts, posters and other social-media friendly resources you can share—including some options that highlight stories from minority communities.

As I’ve told the world in my memoir, Shining Brightly, a regular cancer screening saved my life. In fact, I wish I’d gotten around to asking for that screening years earlier. If I had scheduled that test just a few years earlier than I did, my struggle through surgeries and other agonizing treatments might have been avoided. Doctors might have found easily removable tissue, rather than the large tumor they spotted that led to years of treatments and a slow recovery.

Saving a life this way is sooo easy!

Just take a moment and check with your health-care provider. Today, there are easy ways to get screened, so don’t be afraid. After all: You want to enjoy the year-end holidays in 2023 with your loved ones, don’t you?

My New Year’s Resolution is to convince as many people as possible to get back on track with the regular screenings our doctors recommend.

And just maybe, if I’m good at my job as Cancer Screen Week’s Colorectal Cancer Ambassador, this year, I just might save a life or two.

And that will truly ensure a Happy New Year for countless friends and loved ones.

.

.

.

Care to learn more?

This is a perfect moment to become one of Howard’s growing global community of friends by ordering your copy of his book.

Here are other articles we have published, exploring the launch of this book:

Take a look at the book’s Foreword: ‘Shining Brightly’ Foreword by Dr. Robert J. Wicks: ‘Learn anew about the American Dream’

And especially read this story: Two-time cancer survivor Howard Brown writes ‘Shining Brightly’ to encourage others to stay healthy

A Free Resource Guide

If you’re among the millions of Americans facing cancer, you’ll want to download a free-to-share resource guide from Shining Brightly:

.

.

.

What am I thankful for this year? Millions of families like ours that don’t let disability keep anyone from the Thanksgiving table

What’s on your Thanksgiving To Do list?

Don’t forget the wheelchair!

.

By HOWARD BROWN
Author of Shining Brightly

Like most of you, we are checking off our family’s Thanksgiving To Do list:

  • Turkey
  • Stuffing
  • Green bean casserole
  • Salad
  • Pies
  • Brisket (yes, for us that’s a tradition)
  • And, of course, the wheelchair, which I’ll need to pick up Mom from the airport

That last item is on the lists of millions of American families this week—and thank God for that! Our families are not allowing disability to keep loved ones from the traditional feast, surrounded by the warmth of family and friends.

How many American families are affected?

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 13.7 percent of Americans have difficulty walking or climbing stairs—and 2 out of every 5 adults age 65 or older have some form of disability. (The CDC information is presented as a free “printable” graphic if you’re looking for something to share with friends to increase awareness of disability.)

And, then, the Bureau of Transportation Statistics reports:

More than 25 million Americans age 5 and older have self-reported travel-limiting disabilities. 13.4 million are age 18 to 64 and 11.2 million are age 65 and older. And, 3.6 million Americans with travel-limiting disabilities do not leave their homes because they are disabled or housebound.

Does that last number break your heart? That image of 3.6 million Americans staying home at the holidays because they can’t manage to travel certainly inspires me to continue our annual odyssey of helping my Mom—the matriarch of our family—safely reach our Thanksgiving table in Michigan.

Mom’s Odyssey Will Be Like Millions of Others This Week

Mom—or Bubby to her grandkids—is 76 this year. She’s a high-energy matriarch who is as determined to reach our Thanksgiving gathering as we are to help her join us.

Our story is familiar to many readers. It starts with her overall condition: She’s had joint replacement surgery; she had a slip and fall; she snapped a bone; she hurt her back; she needs another joint replacement. Bottom line: She’s in pain, even when sitting—but she’s in even more pain when standing or trying to walk. She can take steps with a cane or walker, but she needs a wheelchair for longer distances.

So, to reach our Thanksgiving gathering at my twin sister CJ’s house, this year, she and Dad will leave their Massachusetts home and drive to the parking lot where they can catch an express bus to Boston’s Logan airport. That means Dad has to help Mom safely get out of the house and get settled in the car. Then, before parking at the lot, he lets her get out near a bench at the bus stop. He parks the car and walks back to her bench. Then, he helps her climb the steps onto the bus, when it arrives.

The bus drops her near another bench outside Logan, where she sits while Dad goes into the airport and finds someone with a wheelchair to come get Mom and wheel her through the airport to their gate. Then, an airline staffer wheels her onto the plane and helps her into her seat.

When they reach Detroit’s Metro airport, all of that long process is reversed—until they reach the baggage-claim area where I’m waiting with our wheelchair. Then, I push her out to our car, so I can drive them the rest of the way to Thanksgiving.

The whole journey is painful for her, but she’s a tough cookie who would never think of staying home—as long as a few caring people along the way can help her with wheelchairs through those otherwise almost impossible stretches.  In this family—and with some gracious assistance from the airport staffs—we’re happy to help.

But, you know what? That’s not all!

So, Mom has reached the Thanksgiving table and—whew!—we’re done!

Think that’s all?

Hardly! If you’ve got a disabled loved one in your family circle, of course you want them to fully participate in the holiday feasts. But there’s always more to a holiday than a meal.

What comes next for Mom and the four now-college-age grandkids in our family? Like millions of other Americans, it’s hitting the Black Friday sales after Thanksgiving. Mom absolutely loves to treat her grandkids to new clothes. So, they help her into the car, then they wheel her chair into the stores near the fitting rooms—so she can express herself as they select something new to wear.

Does all of this take extra effort? Sure. Is she shouldering a little more pain with the bumps and movements back and forth into the wheelchair and through these jam-packed stores? Sure.

But—she absolutely loves the Black Friday tradition. She wouldn’t miss it as long as she’s still breathing. And we would never enjoy the whole holiday weekend as much without her.

Learn something new this year: How to Safely Make a Wheelchair Transfer

Let me leave you with one final helpful tip: Learn how to safely make a wheelchair transfer. Families who regularly use wheelchairs know this by heart, but folks who volunteer to help only on special occasions like Thanksgiving might not know this.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides this very helpful, printable guide to making A Wheelchair Transfer.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I know we will—because Mom’s at the table with us!

Mom with me and my twin sister CJ at an earlier family gathering when standing wasn’t such a challenge.

.

.

.

Care to learn more?

This is a perfect moment to become one of Howard’s growing global community of friends by ordering your copy of his book.

Here are other articles we have published, exploring the launch of this book:

Take a look at the book’s Foreword: ‘Shining Brightly’ Foreword by Dr. Robert J. Wicks: ‘Learn anew about the American Dream’

And, are you intrigued by that cover? Check out: Thanks to artist Rick Nease, our book covers keep ‘Shining Brightly’

Want a personalized copy of Howard’s book? Howard Brown helps readers personalize their gifts. (Get yours now.)

Babson College shares the news, because this book includes so many inspiring stories about the college’s unique approach to teaching entrepreneurship.

An inspiring story to share: Howard Brown shows us the power of mentors to pay it forward, generation to generation 

Don’t miss: Howard Brown ‘Shining Brightly’—The Surprising Joy of Sharing Hope Each Day

And you’ll definitely want to see this video: Howard Brown appears on ABC 15 in Phoenix on Nim Stant’s Go All In.

Download (and free-to-share) resource guides for discussing Shining Brightly:

What can these three lists inspire in our lives?

You’ll find lots of ideas you can use! Here’s one example from Detroit, where friends gathered to plant trees in honor of a friend.

.

.

.

.

‘Shining Brightly’—Let’s get out there, join with friends and make our world a little greener!

Babson College alumni and friends from Michigan gathered for a Day of Service in Detroit, planting trees through the Greening of Detroit nonprofit.

.

Making memories every day!

I live every day as an affirmation of my own resilience—something I take very seriously after two near-fatal bouts with cancer—and as an opportunity to give back gratefully to my community and our larger world.

There are lots and lots of ways you can do this from simply mowing the lawn of a neighbor who’s having trouble getting around—to organizing larger efforts with friends.

Recently, I coordinated a special tree-planting day in Detroit for some Michigan members of the Babson College alumni association. Every year, we commit ourselves to at least one Day of Service. This time, we wanted to honor Ellen S. Solomita, a 1989 Babson graduate and long-time friend who died last year. We all knew she would love to know that trees were planted as part of her legacy.

In doing so, I drew on at least 4 of the “Keys to Resilience When Confronting Cancer,” a part of the discussion guide to my memoir Shining Brightly:

  • Do not isolate yourself. We all need the help of others.
  • Keep moving, stay active and exercise.
  • Volunteer / mentor (Lifting-up others will lift yourself as well!).
  • Keep making memories with family and friends.

Want to see what we did?

Enjoy this mini-gallery of images.

Karen Dietz, class of ’09, brought her 2-year-old son NJ, who we are sure will one day help to lead the class of ’38.

Acheampong “Nicholas” Johnson, MBA ’22, showed us all how to swing an old-fashioned adze.

Here we are getting one of the trees ready to plant. My long-time friend Alan Bakst, who you’ll read about in my book, is to my right.

This kind of community service FEELS SO GOOD!!!

.

Want to see my entire list of “Keys to Resiliency When Confronting Cancer?” 

Take a look at the following links, a list that includes a free-to-share PDF of those keys to resiliency.

.

Care to learn more?

This is a perfect moment to become one of Howard’s growing global community of friends by ordering your copy of his book.

Here are other articles we have published, exploring the launch of this book:

Take a look at the book’s Foreword: ‘Shining Brightly’ Foreword by Dr. Robert J. Wicks: ‘Learn anew about the American Dream’

Want a snack as you read? Howard Brown and Jennifer Bass: Shining Brightly 1 cookie at a time

Want a personalized copy of Howard’s book? Howard Brown helps readers personalize their gifts. (Get yours now.)

Babson College shares the news, because this book includes so many inspiring stories about the college’s unique approach to teaching entrepreneurship.

An inspiring story to share: Howard Brown shows us the power of mentors to pay it forward, generation to generation 

And don’t miss: Howard Brown ‘Shining Brightly’—The Surprising Joy of Sharing Hope Each Day

Free Resource Guides

Download (and free-to-share) resource guides for discussing Shining Brightly:

What can these three lists inspire in our lives?

You’ll find lots of ideas you can use!

Here’s one example from Detroit, where friends gathered to plant trees in honor of a friend.

.

.

.

.

Howard Brown ‘Shining Brightly’—The Surprising Joy of Sharing Hope Each Day

In one word, the central message of my memoir Shining Brightly is:

Hope.

“We’ve got to get out there!” That’s what I told  many of my friends throughout the pandemic. It’s not easy to play basketball with a face mask—but we need to keep stepping out there to share “happy places” with others. For me, that means shooting hoops with my buddies!

Wherever life takes you—even to a death sentence like the one I received twice in my life with diagnoses of advanced stage IV cancer—there’s always the possibility of a surprise around the corner. After a lifetime of experiencing such surprises, I’m so full hope that I now work with others on a daily basis in encouraging a similar resilience in their lives.

So, let me ask you, right now:

Want to discover more hope this week?

Want to share more hope this week?

Let’s start by considering the many pleasant “surprises” in our lives. We all encounter terrible surprises, too, don’t we? Believe me, after two bouts with deadly cancer, I understand those surprises that feel more like shocks.

But, in addition to whatever traumas we encounter, we all experience surprises that make us smile as we recall them. I’ll bet the stories you’re starting to recall, as I write this, are spreading a smile on your face. That’s how this process works.

Let me illustrate from my own life. Here are five of the many surprises I have discovered in my life:

First: Like fans of the movie Dirty Dancing, I learned a lot about life and about loving family relationships at those classic summer resorts in the Catskills that today mainly live in nostalgic memories for countless families.

As you’ll read in the book, I explored those resorts with my sister and cousins as children, hosted by our grandparents. For us, those trips modeled the central importance of spending family time together every year.

All I have to do is pause and recall those adventures with my sister and our cousins in the Catskills and I’m smiling.

Second: I love the Atlantic shoreline, but not where you would expect. As the Catskills faded, the annual cross-generational outings in our family transitioned to the Atlantic shoreline. There are many spots along the ocean that are popular to millions of Americans—and are jam packed as a result. Instead, our family found a favorite resort area way up in Maine that we claimed as our family home away from home for decades.

In my book, I risk letting readers in on our little slice of Atlantic heaven. As a result, I realize I may be adding to the crowds along our favorite stretch of shoreline.

I’m risking it to spread a little joy into readers’ lives.

Third: Everything I needed to know about working with customers in my career as a successful entrepreneur, I learned from a traveling shoe salesman.

That’s my father, who supported us by loading up old-fashioned carrying cases of shoes and boots and then crisscrossing New England to sell his wares. In my memoir, I write about my love of my father and his marketing adventures. There’s a lot we all can learn about the power of personal networking from those independent entrepreneurs who tirelessly build loyal customers nationwide.

In fact, as my book is launched, Dad still is out there beating a path to some of his oldest customers like many other salespeople who form a backbone of our country’s economy. In the pages of my memoir, you’ll likely gain a whole new appreciation for these daring entrepreneurs.

Fourth: My brother Ian was never supposed to be my real brother.

Let me explain that puzzling line: In this memoir you will learn how I agreed to a carefully monitored mentoring arrangement with little Ian through a program that was known as Jewish Big Brothers.

Then, all of us were surprised at the solid relationships that formed between Ian, his mother and my existing family through the years. If you want a true testament to hope that lies just around the corner for all of us, then read the story of my relationship with Ian.

But a word of warning: After reading those stories in my book, you may decide to become a mentor yourself.

Fifth: Basketball is my happy place.

Again, I need to explain that line. Part of successfully building up your resilience is becoming aware of the places that sap your strength and raise anxiety, as well as those places that are guaranteed to make you happy and rebuild your energy. I discovered basketball as a child and play it to this day.

In fact, as you will discover in the pages of Shining Brightly, I even promote interfaith peacemaking on the basketball court.

How do I do that?

Well, you’ll just have to discover this and other surprises in the pages of Shining Brightly.

 

.

Care to learn more?

This is a perfect moment to become one of Howard’s growing global community of friends by ordering your copy of his book.

Here are other articles we have published, exploring the launch of this book:

Take a look at the book’s Foreword: ‘Shining Brightly’ Foreword by Dr. Robert J. Wicks: ‘Learn anew about the American Dream’

Want a snack as you read? Howard Brown and Jennifer Bass: Shining Brightly 1 cookie at a time

Want a personalized copy of Howard’s book? Howard Brown helps readers personalize their gifts. (Get yours now.)

And: Howard Brown shows us the power of mentors to pay it forward, generation to generation 

Download (and free-to-share) resource guides for discussing Shining Brightly:

.

.

.

.