As I first learned on Ted Kennedy's Presidential campaign in 1980, the cause is everything. Win or lose, be a true believer. Spend yourself completely. Leave nothing on the table. It may be tough, but it is what I love to do. And today, I celebrate another year of it.
For too many years I've taken my birthday for granted, dreading this sign of getting older (and yes, I'm getting older). But birthdays are so much more than an "over the hill" Hallmark card. They are a celebration of life. A chance to reflect and hopefully look back and say, yes, I've done something meaningful with my life that made a difference. And birthdays are also a chance to spend more time with the people we love - for me that means more time with my wife and kids.
So, rather than groaning about aging another year, I've decided to do something meaningful to mark this birthday - I'm declaring the American Cancer Society the official sponsor of my birthday.
Why? Because I want to do everything I can to help build a movement for more birthdays. A world with less cancer means a world with more birthdays. And that's what the organization is working for every single day - to create a world where cancer never steals another year from anyone's life.
This admittedly is not your typical celebration. It's a simple act honoring 11 million cancer survivors across the country and the countless other millions who know someone who has been affected. And what better way to celebrate life than to remember those who've fought to see another birthday?
So this year I'm telling my friends and supporters: no gifts. And please no Facebook wall posts. If you want to do something meaningful declare your birthday (whenever it is). And then maybe tweet about it. Help build a movement of people to fight cancer, to stay well, and to find cures.
A campaign lifestyle may be taxing. We may age about three times as fast as the average person and give everything in the moment. But after that day of reckoning, when the ballots have been cast and tallied, I know that I left nothing on the table, Kennedy-style, and look to my family. No matter what the outcome of the election, I feel full again.
That's what this movement is all about. It's about building a massive grassroots community so we all can have more time with our families. So join me and declare the American Cancer Society the official sponsor of your birthday today. It doesn't have to be your birthday for you to join, and you don't need to be a cancer survivor to understand just how important birthdays really are.