From April 1, 2016:
On our recent trip to Gainesville earlier this month, my wife and I had the very special opportunity to meet some amazing educators at the University of Florida. I was also invited to speak to a class in Entrepreneurship in Tourism, Recreation and Sports on campus about my story and the travel industry. It had been a very long time since I had been in the classroom, but it was a great experience!
My wife graduated from the College of Health & Human Performance and I graduated from the College of Journalism & Communications with an Advertising major. Both of our former schools welcomed us back with open arms and it was quite an honor, we both felt like VIP's which was so cool. We arrived early in the morning and met with A.C. Moore, the Founder of The University of Florida Men's Soccer Club (in 1953) who is now retired but still very active and connected with the school.
We met Michael B. Reid, Ph.D., Dean & Professor of the College of Health & Human Performance and Michael Sagas, Ed.D., Department Chair & Professor, Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management. We went to the class of Joshua Roe, M.A., Graduate Student, Ph.D. Student and former mountaineering guide and linguist. Tatjana Chenoweth, Senior Director of Development for the College was our guide ... and to my surprise during our visit, she reached out to her counterpart in the College of Journalism & Communications Margaret Gaylord to extend our visit over there after lunch.
At my former school, we had a very cool meeting with Andy Hopson, Executive Director of The Agency - a fully-functional on-site advertising agency within the College. We sat with him and his team of top students as they presented their focus on Millennial research and several campaigns they were working on. It was so cool that I could have stayed all day, rolled up my sleeves and gone to work with them. I was very impressed with everyone there and I only wish that this would have been in place back when I went to UF! It is awesome to see how UF is pushing the envelope with new technology and we were able to tour the on-site Newsroom and Studio Broadcast center, a model example that many schools only can dream about!
What a great day overall and I already look forward to going back next year and they have invited me back to speak again and also participate in an advisory capacity for Tourism. I can't thank everyone there enough for the hospitality extended to us and for how special that experience was for both of us!
What do you do when your kids are too old for the backyard Easter Egg Hunt? You venture out for a hike and hunt for rocks in the desert! I was able to work off some of our Easter brunch with my son Alec this afternoon on a little trail right out behind where we live. Enough activity for the day, time to chill and enjoy the rest of the day with family!
This morning I took a little time to brush up on my skills and what a great day here in Arizona! Getting ready for the big trip to Gainesville for the annual Agin' Gators Soccer Society alumni match against the current University of Florida Men's Soccer Club! Every year players from many decades make the trip to relive their few minutes of glory in this special friendly event. I was a regular player most years leading up to my heart issues and this year will mark my first return since my transplant! This is a big milestone for me and a very emotional one, so stay tuned for updates from the big event...more to come!
Went to the Capitol today for Donate Life Day to help for the event and it was a perfect day! The Donor Network and Donate Life Arizona holds this event every year and includes meetings with the legislature to reinforce the importance of organ donation and how it helps save and improve lives! It was also very touching to see donor families present along with living donors, transplant recipients and other caring people. It was a showcase for the Wall of Life where my name and story have also been posted along with many amazing individual stories. It feels so great to participate in this effort and to pay it back in honor of my donor and donor family to help others!
What a great morning at the Phoenix International Raceway volunteering with Donor Network of Arizona and Donate Life. We had a small booth set up in the vendor area and helped register new organ donors. It was cool to be next to the U.S. Air Force tent and we had a nice crowd. I had my first opportunity to use the donor registration app to sign people up. I would just swipe the person's license and it would pull in all their data and register them in just seconds. On my swipe device alone, I was able to register and verify 43 organ donors at the event. Just this small effort has the potential to save up to 344 lives and improve the lives of 2,150 others. Overall we signed up more than 100 and I have to say that it was a very rewarding experience! Thank you to all the amazing NASCAR fans who signed up and were so nice to us right before today's race.
Unfortunately I did not get to meet him in person today, but special thanks to NASCAR Nationwide Series driver Joey Gase who drives the Donate Life car - pretty awesome! Click here to learn more about Joey's story on taking up the cause.
If you see this and are inspired to register, I invite you to register in my honor on my Donate Life Arizona story page here. If you live outside of Arizona, please visit www.registerme.org to sign up today. I've included a few pictures from the event and a short video of some warm up action on the track.
I recently submitted my story to Donate Life Arizona through their liveonaz.org website and am excited that it is now live and I invite you to check it out here. If you live in Arizona, there is a link where you can register to become an organ donor in my honor and I hope you will! For those living outside Arizona, please register at the Donate Life America National Registry here.
Today I started a new personal training program through Back to Health of Anthem. I will participate in three one-hour sessions each week with my new best friend Chad to build my core strength, mobility/flexibility and overall fitness. I have been seeing my Chiropractor Brian here for years since we came to Arizona and he just moved into this new facility. I had not been to see him in almost 3 years as I dealt with all of my heart issues and am excited to be back! Now that I am able to do more they are building a program specific to my needs and pace, which is awesome! I am really excited about this and while I am already sore from today's workout, I can't wait to get back at it! I highly recommend Back to Health and here is their website if you want to learn more: http://www.myanthemhealth.com/
Stay tuned for more updates as I progress in my program and it just feels so good to be able to do this!