I was introduced recently to Lynne Sarnoff-Christensen by her cousin, and my friend Jeffrey Cohen. You see, she makes pottery and well, more specifically she make “bowls of gratitude”. So of course, Jeffrey knew that I would hit it off with Lynne because he knows I live a life full of gratitude. Another friend, Keith Spiro said I just had to buy a bowl – so I did. The idea is to put notes in the bowl about things you are grateful for. So it’s my new thing. I’ve long been a fan of Shawn Achor and I’ve gotten into the habit of writing down things that I am grateful for. So this bowl of gratitude will be where I put my notes. And I will encourage my family to also add their notes to the bowl. We have a tradition on Thanksgiving to go around the table before we dig in to our meal, to share what we are thankful for. We shouldn’t just do this at Thanksgiving!
When I called Lynne, she explained her philosophy and I get it: “You didn’t get from there to here without people believing in you. Gratitude…I got a bowlful! Do You?” And of course, she is from my home state of Minnesota, which made it even more fun. Bottom line is that I do live a life full of gratitude. I’m a cancer survivor, so what more to be grateful for than going through that experience and still being here. But more than that, it’s about my family – my wife and my 3 boys – and my close circle of friends. And my colleagues at work, and the families that we help give hope by supporting biomedical research. It’s still my passion to advocate for funding for cancer research. It’s also my passion to advocate for fragile X research. Fragile X is the most common inherited cause of autism and intellectual disabilities.
Me with Jeffrey in Arizona
Becoming part of the fragile X community through my work at FRAXA Research Foundation has taught me a lot about gratitude. There but for the grace of God go I, that I do not have children with disabilities. Yes I had a difficult lung cancer experience years ago, but I have met so many families with children with fragile X who face significant challenges – different than my cancer journey. It’s a lifetime of caring for children and worrying about what will happen to them when the parents are gone. It’s made me a better person being involved in the fragile X community. And it’s another reason I am grateful. So thank you, Jeffrey Cohen, for introducing me to Lynne. And thank you for allowing me to become part of your family. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Arlene, Josh and Alli. Here’s a fist bump to you Josh!