Hands to the Plow
I vowed, quite a few years ago now, to never go back into the corporate world or enter again the world of business, it was causing me to spiral into depression. I railed against turning a blind eye, to some of the fecklessness, duplicity and the lack of dignity, courtesy and imagination that was apparent to me and at the inertia in some quarters, not all – there were a few fine, bold, imaginative souls not merely worried about their own position, however it did lead me to believe that this environment was not for me. And it wasn’t.
I was an artist in a business world, I had no right being there in the first place. It took me a while to realise it but once I did I embraced the artist in me. I embarked on a road trip to clear my head and to get my bearings, I wrote songs and played my music in pubs and on streets and I retreated to the mountains to start writing my book.
Then three years ago I discovered that I had a brain tumour. I was now a brain tumour surviving artist, or an artistic brain tumour survivor, or some other derivation. I got involved with the brain tumour community, became a leader of a brain tumour support group, wrote articles for magazines, purchased a piano to try and reintroduce my hands to my brain, designed an online Patient Reported Outcomes programme to give patients a greater voice, became a committee member of the national brain tumour support organisation. It was there that I saw things that could be improved upon, where my knowledge and expertise, firstly in the area of IT and then in the area of communication, could be put to good use. To my astonishment I was not becoming depressed with designing systems or writing code, it was, ironically, exciting me somewhat, I knew that what I was doing was making a tangible difference in peoples lives.
I then set about creating a monthly e-News, sent to many hundreds of subscribers across Australia, designed to engage with the brain tumour community, providing information to help them in their journey. It fuelled both my creative and my analytical brain. Twelve months on and the results have been astonishing, even I’m surprised – we’ve seen a 50% increase in readership, three to four times the industry average, information that tells us what people are interested in and what their concerns are, across a broad range of subjects, giving our subscribers a voice. I believe it communicates a kind and generous spirit, something we all need, regardless of the journey we are on. Maybe it goes some way to fulfilling the most important measure of a nation’s prosperity – how we look after each other. This is where true prosperity lives.
I’ve been fortunate. Many, if not most, brain tumour patients never work again, there are many deficits to overcome, unseen wounds to heal. Surviving a brain tumour is not the end of the journey, it’s just the beginning of a new life, with a new definition of normal. If you are involved with a not-for-profit organisation and you think I could do something similar for the people you represent, get in touch. Maybe we could talk.