Today is my birthday, but today really isn’t about me at all. I don’t want it to be. Because today is about someone else who happens to have the same birthday as me. No, not Tiffani Amber-Thiessen although I remember being very excited at age 12 that we shared the same birthday. Oh Saved by the Bell, my favorite show. Nope, today isn’t about me or Tiffani. Today is about Paul. His birthday also happens to be today.
The funny thing about the social media community for all the gossiping, backbiting, and just drama that ensues, we do support one another. Personally, I prefer to not participate in much of the drama chain that occurs as we sometimes tear each other down to build ourselves or our friends up. This is not one of those times. Not at all.
Today is About Paul
I met Paul in real life in what seems like a million years ago. It was late 2009 at the first ever HR Evolution. For those of you that don’t know HR Evolution is an unconference created just for the social media HR and recruiting community. It was a chance to meet IRL with some of my social media HR co-conspirators who were talking, pushing, and testing the waters in our space. I was a broke, scared new entrepreneur and new mom. And even then, Paul was brilliant. He seemed to have this entrepreneur thing all figured out. He caused trouble, took chances and said those obvious things that sometimes need to be said but no one does except Paul. He influenced me and continues to do so ALOT. Plus, he was funny, witty, and knew his shit. That’s a hard thing to do in the world of HR.
I admire Paul for a lot of reasons but none more than what he is doing now. Paul is battling bladder cancer and is using a blog to keep folks updated like me and maybe you. Check out PeeStrong to see what Paul calls, “the one-sided conversation about my bladder.” Bladder cancer like any cancer really sucks but it’s relatively small in numbers with only 72,000 new diagnoses in 2013.
I don’t know a person who has been affected by some form of cancer either themselves, a family member or friend. I have a special place in my heart for those that undergo chemotherapy and radiation as I watched my husband’s dad battle throat cancer for three years. Six months after we lost my father in law, my sister in law was diagnosed with breast cancer. After a double mastectomy, chemo, and radiation, she is absolutely cancer free.
So today it’s not about me or my birthday, although I thank you for your kind and warm thoughts. So far, it’s been a mighty fine day. For me today, is about my friend, Paul Hebert and his amazing courage and the family and friends that are supporting him. Plus, the guy is just awesome. He knows his shit. Today is about the social media and technology that brings us together to support Paul even though we are thousands miles apart. Happy birthday, Paul. You are a hell of a guy and I support you. Here’s to many more birthdays celebrated for you and me. And with Tiffani too. There’s always Saved by the Bell re-runs and White Collar.
Just Google “Tim Sackett Day” or follow the Twitter hash tag, #timsackettday to see how & why so many industry folks are singing the praises of Paul.
Article by Jessica Miller-Merrell
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