As I tour the country, I often have the opportunity to visit children in the hospital as part of the community outreach efforts of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®. These hospital visits always serve to remind me to be thankful for my physical health.
The event has increased in size, awareness, donations and celebrity attendance, but it still remains all about family: those families impacted by childhood illness and seeking care from the incredible doctors and team at Children's Mercy.
It's amazing how a piece of music can take you in a place so totally and completely that it's as if you are physically back in that moment again. Those songs carry with them the weight of remembered feelings and can emotionally kidnap you at the most inopportune times.
A couple of years ago I was on a work trip in California, and while most of the country was still in the economic doldrums, I noticed quite a bit of new construction taking place. Upon closer inspection I realized that many of these buildings were going to become new hospitals.
My 11-year-old son spent five days and three nights at UCSF Benioff' Children's Hospital Oakland and its affiliate research organization CHORI (Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute. Fortunately he is much better and I am happy to have him healthier in 2015 than he left 2014.
One of my wife's dearest friends, Cidalia Luis-Akbar, is about to do a crazy, amazing thing: In two weeks she and her sister Natalia Luis are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise $500,000 for Children's Hospital in Washington DC, and to mark their own victories over personal struggles.
Operating on the TOMS Shoes model--for each backpack bought, a backpack is donated to a child in need -- STATE Bags was born out of a desire to help provide children in need with healthy snacks, school supplies, a reliable carry-all, and a group of positive role models.