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Owning The Cure

The Plenty Team
February 3, 2014

We recently spent time with JDRF where we heard their CEO talk about the important work the organization is doing. It was inspiring and uplifting to learn about the groundbreaking research they have been funding that has them so close to a cure for Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). The determination in his voice was refreshing “…we are closer today than we’ve ever been to curing T1D!”, he said as he held up a tiny, paper thin membrane that is one of the several promising treatments in clinical trials for T1D funded by JDRF. These medical discoveries are amazing! They actually simulate a cure until a cure is found allowing someone with T1D to actually get a break from the daily struggles and worries of managing their disease. As someone who cared for a diabetic cat for 8 years, I’m somewhat familiar with what that entails – it is all consuming. I was extremely excited to hear about the progress they’ve made and their determination to reach their mission, “type one until type none”.

It reminded me of a recent visit to MD Anderson. We talked with many staff members and what was remarkable about those interviews is that every single one of them said, “We will cure cancer.” Not as part of a script, not to tow the company line, not to regurgitate something they were told to say, but with all the matter-of-fact-ness, stern absolute belief you want to hear. We will cure cancer. It was clear they all believe that with every fiber of their being. It almost brought tears to my eyes to witness such confidence, such resolve, such dedication. Whether they cure it in my lifetime or not, if I, or a loved one, ever get struck with that diagnosis, I know where I’m going. Where they believe.

The first time I ever heard such resolve was during an interview several years ago with the Michael J. Fox Foundation. The woman I was speaking to said, “Our mission is to one day close our doors.” They too, had that same confidence and unflinching dedication. I remember thinking how refreshing it was to hear such selfless commitment to an end game. Her goal in her career is to see the end of Parkinson’s. How can you not want to get on board with that?

I share these examples because while the missions of these organizations are commendable and hopeful and world-changing, it is the people I interacted with that made me believe in the ability of those organizations to actually achieve their missions. People change the world, not missions. Believing in and supporting those people are how we become part of that change. The question I’ll leave you with is this: does your organization have people with such infectious, unwavering commitment to your mission to make others believe in their ability to make it happen?

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