Friday, September 23, 2011

FRED Friday...Meet Amy, the Miracle Fred

FRED Friday…Meet Amy, the Miracle Fred
Left: Becky Springer...Right: Amy Otto

Last week Mark Sanborn received an email from Mr. William (Bill) Mulcahy regarding a FRED Friday nomination - Amy Otto.   Mr. Sanborn forwarded it to me, and I immediately wanted to share it with the OneMoreStepRevolution community.

Attached to Mr. Mulcahy’s email was a newspaper article from the Dunwoody Crier, a Dunwoody, GA newspaper that printed a full story about how Amy Otto, our featured Fred, saved her friend, Becky Springer’s, life.

While I’ve never met Mr. Mulcahy, I’m glad to hear that he reads the OneMoreStepRevolution blog, and I’m even more thrilled that he and Mr. Sanborn reached out to me with what is a very touching Miracle Fred story, to say the least.  I hope it inspires you as it has certainly inspired me.

First, meet Becky Springer…

Becky Springer became very ill in February of 2008 as she contracted a rare bacterial infection, Haemophilus influenzae Type b, a disease for which adults are not commonly at risk.  The terrible infection caused Becky’s organs to shut down and eventually led to septicemia, a serious, life-threatening condition caused by bacteria in the blood.

Becky’s kidneys went first, she suffered a stroke, and doctors were forced to amputate her hands and feet just to keep her alive.  She later spent six weeks at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she regained her strength and learned to walk with prosthetic feet.  Her twenty-four hour kidney dialysis was eventually reduced to three times per week, which she continued after returning home to Atlanta. 

The Dunwoody Crier newspaper article talks about Becky’s amazingly positive attitude even after her amputation…she said, “When I woke up and learned they had cut off my hands and feet, God had instilled in me peace, comfort, and patience.  I felt calm and at peace in my heart.”

By early 2009, adjusting to her “new normal”, with prosthetic hands and feet, Becky was placed on the kidney transplant list through the Piedmont Hospital Transplant Institute.  Time passed…more time passed…and still no suitable donor was found among Becky’s family, friends, or anonymous potential donors…

Then…Amy Otto joined Becky’s book club…

Amy Otto met Becky Springer when they both joined the same book club just outside of Atlanta.  Amy told the Dunwoody Crier newspaper what motivated her to consider donating one of her kidneys to her friend Becky, “She’s everything I am – a wife, a mother, a sister…but she has all those challenges.  She’s smart, funny, and a go getter.”

After extensive research and with the support of her husband and two teenage children, Amy made the decision in April of 2011 to pursue the opportunity to be Becky’s donor. Amy told the Dunwoody Crier newspaper, “I made up my mind…I’m going to do this.  I could enhance someone’s life.  I didn’t see a downside.  I tell my kids, ‘If you can enhance someone’s life it’s a wonderful thing’.”

She confided in Paul Springer, Becky’s husband, and together they forged ahead with the series of health and physiological tests necessary for potential donors.  (To avoid potential disappointment, Becky was kept out of the loop during the testing.)  In order for transplants to work, living donors not only have to be in excellent physical health, but their blood types must also be compatible with that of the recipient’s; in addition, the recipient must test negative for antibodies in their blood that may reject the donor kidney. 

Despite the odds, Becky tested negative for antibodies and Amy’s blood type was a match…doctors at Piedmont Hospital were optimistic, and on June 3rd, earlier this summer, kidney transplant surgery was performed with donor (Amy) and recipient (Becky) in adjoining operating rooms.  Each friend now has one fully functioning kidney. 

Becky’s touching quote in the Dunwoody Crier newspaper article read, “I prayed for someone to give me a kidney…I believe God picked Amy and said this is what you’re going to do…it literally was a miracle.  The doctors couldn’t believe someone just walked in to be tested and it was a match.”

The cool part…

Amy says that when she sees Becky it warms her heart.  When people call her a hero, Amy insists that she is not…but Becky is the hero because, “she’s taken lemons and made them lemonade.”

This story opened my eyes in a couple of ways. 

1)   Of all the OneMoreSteps and OneMoreStep Moments…what could be more impactful than sacrificing something of your own to save another’s life? Amy gives new meaning to my OneMoreStep mantra – “when you think you’ve done enough, go OneMoreStep”.  FREDs like Amy Otto prove that we can always do MORE…we can always go OneMoreStep.

2)   Hearing Becky’s story…realizing the challenges that she faces and the life-threatening obstacles she and her family have overcome since February of 2008…I realize that my challenges, my “lemons” not only pale in comparison to hers, they really aren’t challenges at all.  I’m reminded this week that rather than complain, worry, and dwell on circumstances or people that frustrate me, I should focus on the good stuff.  Philippians 4:8 comes to mind.

Thank you, Amy…for proving that no matter what the situation, we can always do MORE…we can always go OneMoreStep to “enhance someone’s life”.

Thank you, Becky…for inspiring us all to have faith, stay positive, and to remember that if God gives us lemons, we should make lemonade…we should all be more like you.  You truly are a hero.

Thank you Mr. Mulcahy…for sending this story to our friend Mark Sanborn, whose best selling book, The Fred Factor is not only the inspiration for this blog, but also inspires so many of us to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary…and thanks to both you and Mr. Sanborn for reading and spreading the magic of the OneMoreStepRevolution...

Have a great day.


What is FRED Friday?

In my favorite book, The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn tells an inspiring story of how a man named Fred goes OneMoreStep after OneMoreStep in his role as a Postman for the United States Postal Service.  I love this book.  Since my mom sent it to me in 2004, I've purchased the book for friends, coworkers, and girlfriends...I've even purchased and hand delivered copies of the book to several executives at both Wynn Las Vegas and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. 

Fred Friday is a series in which the OneMoreStepRevolution blog will showcase a real life "Fred" on select Fridays.   Reading The Fred Factor definitely leaves us with a desire to to be more Fred-like ourselves, but I also love looking for FredsFreds are everywhere. I love it when I experience a real life Fred.  I'm inspired just as I am every time I re-read the book.  I thought it would be fun to spread the magic of Fred to our OneMoreStepRevolution community. 

Mr. Mulcahy lives in Atlanta, GA, and he is President & CEO of Mulcahy Consulting, his own firm that provides internal auditing, accounting, and risk management services to their clients.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

OneMoreStep Moments

One More Step Moments

It’s easy to say the right thing, do the right thing, and put in the “extra effort” when bosses, coworkers, partners, clients, students, friends, or acquaintances are around.   

What about those me, myself, and I moments when we’re the only ones around? 

OneMoreStep Thought for the week: Who are we when nobody’s looking?  What do we do when we’re all alone…do we do the minimum, just to get by or go through the motions so we can merely check things off the list?  Or do we go OneMoreStep, put in the extra effort, and nail the details, so we crush it for our boss, our coworkers, our clients, our guests, our students, and/or our family?

We all have them…those moments when we’re all alone in our office, classroom, living room, at the gym, in the car, or when we're by ourselves…yet we have what seems to be a little black cloud hanging over us.  That little black cloud represents the project our boss just gave us, the email we know we need to write or phone call we know we need to make that will likely be met with certain levels of consternation by the receiving party; maybe it’s when we're on the second set of an exercise at the gym – do we stick it out and finish strong with the third set or mail it in and quit early?  

Do we pick up the phone, face the music, and have difficult conversations when opportunities present themselves or do we take the easy way out and hide behind a vague, ambiguous email?  These are what I call OneMoreStep Moments. 

Often times, others may not even recognize when we go OneMoreStep, but should that stop us from doing so?  We could just as easily skip the third set of an exercise or the last five minutes on the treadmill at the gym, and nobody would ever know the difference…but we would know.  

In a pinch, we can send a quick, impersonal email versus planning for a well thought out, in-person and meaningful conversation, but which would be best for the relationship?  Our bosses may not tell us to get in early and prepare the extra ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes for our meetings, classes, or projects…and if we don’t put in the extra time will they ever know?  Maybe not, but should that keep us from going OneMoreStep?

OneMoreStep Moments define us.  These moments separate the leaders from the followers.  Often times it’s not what we do when others are around – in the meeting in front of the boss, in the classroom in front of the students, or at the kitchen table in front of the family.  Instead, what we do behind the scenes preparing, studying, training, practicing, perfecting, learning, and sacrificing our own time for the betterment of the team, the group, the community, or the family can be the very OneMoreSteps that make the difference. 

In school those OneMoreStep Moments were the difference between getting a “B” and getting the “A”.  In sports those OneMoreStep Moments, sacrificing and preparing when nobody else is around, win championships.  In life those OneMoreStep Moments, taking the extra time to plan, prepare, serve, and lead others simply because it’s the right thing to do rather than doing so for personal gain or recognition can be the difference between merely making a contribution and truly being an inspiration that could change someone's life or career…

So next time you find yourself alone…at your desk, on your couch, in your car, or at the gym…with a decision to make – to go OneMoreStep...or not…do the right thing.  Embrace OneMoreStep Moments, and think of them as your chance to play like a championget the “A” in life…make a difference that matters for somebody…and make yourself an indispensible part of your team in the process.

When you think you’ve done enough…go OneMoreStep…

Have a great day.


Friday, September 9, 2011

FRED Friday...Remembering 9-11 Ten Years Later

FRED Friday…Remembering 9-11 Ten Years Later

In lieu of FRED Friday today, I wanted to take a minute to remember 9-11-01…ten years later. 

OneMoreStep Thought for the Week:  Take time to stop, smell the roses, and embrace the relationships that mean the most to you.  As we learned on that tragic day ten years ago…life has no guarantees.   

What we have today can be taken away from us tomorrow without a moment's notice.  So live for today, and embrace the relationships, friendships, and people that mean the most to you, TODAY; and every day.

This weekend Americans as well as citizens of the world will be reminded of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.  We’ll all reflect on where we were that day, what we were doing, and the array of thoughts, feelings, and emotions that shot through our hearts and minds like a bolt of lightening.  September 11th is a day unlike any other day.  Some lost family, friends, and love ones who were working in the towers.  Others in the NYFD and NYPD lost their lives trying to save the innocent people.  Friends, families, and loved ones of those caught up in the fury at ground zero were left in shock…and our hearts went out to all involved as we watched and listened to the news.

Remember where you were…remember the thoughts that raced through your mind…remember the people you immediately thought about…remember the relationships that instantly came to mind…

I was in my first week of training as a Front Desk Manager at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  At around the 9am hour, I was with one of the Bell Services Managers, learning that operation.  I remember being in complete shock, as both Guests and Cast Members were slowly but surely realizing the magnitude of what had just happened.   

I was 22 years old, fresh out of college, and a bundle of nerves as it was.  I remember the feeling I had as a coworker and I were asked to lower the American flag to half-mast.  The iconic, storied Disney’s Contemporary Resort was always one of my favorite resorts of all time (with the monorail running through the middle of the A-framed structure)…and here I was lowering the American flag on September 11th, 2001.  It was surreal to say the least.

I remember the flood of thoughts, feelings, and emotions as I began to realize the impact of the events that just transpired.  I first thought about my family in Kentucky – were they ok?  I remember stepping backstage to call my dad…confirmed my family was ok.  Check.  Next, I thought about my friends…from high school, college, and several that I had met only a few months prior.  Were they ok?  A few emails internally to the Disney folks and some close friends from college confirmed that they were ok.  Check. 
Been wearing the Old Glory cuff links every day this week

I think I’ll remember that evening of September 11th, 2001 as well as the days/weeks that followed, for the rest of my life.  Remember the feeling?  The people you thought about when you first heard the news and the people with whom you surrounded yourself in the days and weeks following were certainly the most important people in your life.  At least they were to me.   

The night of September 11th, I can remember hosting several people to my apartment.  We were inseparable for weeks, months, and in many ways we still are to this day.  My friends and I were close to begin with, but from that day forward we shared thoughts, feelings, and emotions with one another that brought us even closer together.  We wore American flag pins on our lapels at work, at home, and each night we went out together…for the remainder of 2001. 
These guys are FREDs - Late September 2001...we were inseparable

Remember the relationships that either formed or were strengthened ten years ago when those planes hit the towers.  I often think about those very relationships and friendships that meant so much to me then, and how fortunate I am to still have those people in my life today.   

I think I’m so close with so many of my friends to this day because we all realized just how much our relationships meant to each other on September 11th.  As the darkest of thoughts crept into our hearts and minds, we began to think – What if something happened to him or her?  What if all of a sudden they were gone?  How much would we miss them?

It sounds deep, but isn’t that the beauty of relationships and friendships that matter?  We care about them.  We laugh with them.  We love them.  We are there for them, and they are there for us.  As we all go through this weekend, Remembering 9-11…remember the relationships that matter to you…TODAY.  If we look at the big picture, we can quickly set aside petty differences and focus on the good stuff.  Embrace the relationships that matter to you.  Love them.  Show them.  Tell them how much they mean to you…and simply enjoy every minute.  As we learned 10 years ago, there are no guarantees…who knows what can happen tomorrow…

So live for today…embrace the people and relationships that mean the most to you.  When you think you’ve embraced them enough…go OneMoreStep, and show them just how much you value their friendship. 

Remember…Never Forget…9-11-01

Romans 8:28-31


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