October 21, 2009

Remembering Guen

One of the great things about sport is that it often reveals the character of the athletes involved. Time after time this season, the Angels have shown tremendous fortitude and heart. They’ve tried to overcome the loss of their teammate – Nick Adenhart and now find themselves on a national stage playing for something more than just a victory.

Monday’s come- from-behind Angels win against the Yankees was one for the ages. It was incredible. It was the latest chapter in an inspiring story of hope and in many ways reminds me of the courageous story of Guen Molloy.

Who, might you ask is Guen Molloy?

On April 12, 2009 (Easter) Guen passed away after a brave battle with ovarian cancer. Unfortunately, her story did not have a happy ending.

Guen was a colleague; more importantly she was also a mother, a wife, and a daughter. She left behind her husband Dave and her daughter “Libby” who just turned two in September.

Why bring this up now?

As I was riding the train to work Tuesday morning, I kept thinking about the Angels ability to overcome adversity and triumph in the face of incredible odds stacked against them. I thought about how a nation was able to witness their determination to succeed (of course, all of this was before Tuesday night’s debacle).

I was also thinking about Guen.

The reason Guen was on my mind is because I’ve been asked to say a few words about her passing at a conference for a professional organization I belong to this coming Friday. The organization will be honoring Guen’s memory by naming their conference scholarship award after her. The scholarship is a terrific tribute to Guen, who was also a member of this group.

As I road the train Tuesday morning I kept thinking about the play-offs and about Guen. I was excited about the games ahead, but I also needed to focus on Friday. My head felt like it was spinning with thoughts about both. What will I say this Friday? How do I put my arms around it all? What about these Angels? Does baseball and Guen some how tie together? How do I put it all into perspective?

And then it hit me.

Heroes don't always appear in the lime light; sometimes they fly under the public radar and never receive the accolades they deserve. Unfortunately, there are times when heroes actually die and those who carry on in the midst of their loss end up becoming heroes themselves. Life doesn't stop for anyone and people have to move forward.

As I thought about this some more, I found myself drawing perspective from the Angels' experience.

When Nick Adenhart passed away – the media was all over the Angels club house. When Angels' manager Mike Scioscia was interviewed, he said, “The perspective is that it was never about us, about how we’re dealing with it. When a tragedy like that happens, it’s very simple to see that it’s not about us losing a friend or a teammate. It’s about the Adenhart family losing a son. . . .

“That’s the perspective that we have. We played all year with a heavy heart, and we’ll continue to play with a heavy heart. But we need to understand that it’s not about us; it’s about their family. We’re here to support their family, and that’s what we have to do,” he said.

Those words have provided me with some direction.

On Friday, I will try some how, some way to show support for Guen’s family; to honor her memory and applaud Dave for his courage and determination.

Deaths are often tragic. Those impacted by it often give us encouragement when it should be the other way around.

Dave continues to carry on without his best friend while doing his best to raise their daughter. Dave is truly a hero. Even though he’s not going to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated or be applauded in front of a stadium full of adoring fans – he (like Guen) is truly an inspiration.

Dave is working on projects to raise awareness about ovarian cancer and is working to keep the memory of Guen alive in our hearts.

One such project is called Operation: Guennie Blue. This is a new ovarian cancer awareness campaign that is being developed. Its purpose is to promote ovarian cancer testing, and to provide moral support and shared experiences to families who are going through their own struggle with ovarian cancer and for those who will encounter it in the future.

There is also a book being written. It will tell the story of Guen and Dave's journey through their struggle with this horrific disease. I understand it is a true story of courage, hope, faith, determination and love.

Inspiration comes in many forms. We often expect it to come by way of something like a baseball game; we don’t always see it coming in our day to day lives. I’m sure Guen and Dave never set out to be heroes and yet – they are. You may not have known Guen, but you may know someone just like her and her husband. Every day people do incredible things; only their stage is their home or a hospital room or some place away from public view. It is up to us to make sure they're recognized, honored and supported.

It's easy to stand and applaud for a team that's just done something special on the playing field. It should be even easier for us to stand and applaud those who do the miraculous in every day life. Every-day-heroes don't do things for applause, but we should cheer them on just the same.

Sport is best when it imitates life. In both there is struggle. Hopefully, there is also joy. At times there will be conflict and sometimes there is victory. There are also times when we also have to face defeat and then move on. Life happens. We just need to remember to embrace it one pitch at a time; one day at a time.

To read more about Guen Molloy’s story – please visit the Guen Molloy web site.

1 comment:

  1. I just saw this. God bless you, and thank you so much.

    Dave Molloy (and Libby)