I was in shopping in K-mart Sunday afternoon when my phone rang. (You are probably assuming I was shopping to update my wardrobe, but actually, I was simply buying paint.)
It was my close friend Jerry Fowler calling. We hadn’t talked in several weeks, but over the last few years, we’ve stayed in touch quite regularly, working together on matters of business, marketing, politics, networking… you name it.
Jerry is well-known here in the Midlands for his real estate brokerage, as well as his weekly radio talk-show. He has boundless energy, and one of the most-positive attitudes of anyone I have ever met. He’s an achiever.
Years ago, I knew his name, like many others, from his aggressive marketing. His name seemed ubiquitous. (“Ubiquitous,” incidentally, is our Big Word of the Week.) My first personal contact, although indirect, came in the late-1990’s when Mom and Dad had a much-too-large home on the market for the better part of a decade. Finally, after almost giving up on ever selling it, they called on Jerry Fowler, who did what no one else had been able to do: He sold their house!!!
Fast forward to 2003: I, along with others, helped talk Jerry Fowler into running for a seat on the Lexington-Richland District 5 School Board. As it turned out, Jerry was a natural vote-getter, and turned out to be one of the positive forces on that board.
His campaign for school board is when I really got to know him. Since that time, we’ve worked together on a number of projects.
Turns out, we have a lot in common. He’s a successful businessman, and I’m a businessman; he usually starts working each day early in the morning, and I usually finish working early in the morning; he has lots of friends, and I have lots of relatives.
Actually, I’m constantly amazed at the sheer numbers of friends and acquaintances he knows personally. In addition to his thousands of loyal radio listeners, Jerry touches hundreds of local businesses each week through the local networking organizations he has fostered.
In short, Jerry Fowler is just a first-class, top-notch, full-of-life, super-positive person.
Which is why it stunned me to hear him tell me on the phone that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer… advanced lung cancer which appears to have spread from elsewhere.
It seemed like bad news… but Jerry didn’t sound like he was delivering bad news. Instead, he sounded full of positive energy, as usual.
“I know it’s going to be a big challenge,” he said, characteristically. “I want to face it with a positive attitude.” Then he took it a step further.
“More importantly, I want to use this opportunity to do something positive for other people,” he explained. “I want to tell my story, step-by-step, as I face these upcoming challenges, and maybe it will somehow help others overcome obstacles they face.” He asked if I would help him put it into words. I told him of course I would, because, frankly, his positive attitude is contagious. It does seem like a good idea.
So this is a beginning. Starting today, we’ll be helping Jerry tell this new chapter in his story, along with, I’m confident, many other newspapers, magazines, publishers, etc. who will join in spreading this valuable lesson: facing a challenge with a positive attitude.
And I’m certain we’ll be updating you regularly on Jerry’s progress for many, many years to come.