what if.

Three weeks ago I met Trevor, a 31 year old young man who has brain cancer.

I met him because I saw him, looking super cool and young and outdoorsy, hooked up to an IV for an infusion at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.  I remember him walking in with his buddy (who I now know as the amazing “Josh”), and thinking, “why the hell is this cool dude hooked up to an IV?” and I noticed on his computer screen that he was searching for NIKE running shoes and because I just so happen to work at the Swoosh, I walked over, knelt down beside his chair, and started a conversation.

“Yeah, we got some bad news the other day,” he said.

And I learned a tiny piece of his story in that moment.  He is an avid hiker, and was looking for a specific shoe we made that allowed him to have the right movement/sensation in his toes which had limited functionality.  I didn’t know why, I didn’t know the backstory.


We talked about the shoe he was looking for (Free 4.0 Flyknit for all you running nerds).  He and had hiked the tallest peak in Utah in them (Kings Peak, chalking in at 13,528 ft) with Josh.


Trevor sent this photo to me the day after we met.

We talked a bit more, and I recommended a trail running shoe that would give him a similar freedom of lightweight movement for his toes, yet provide much better traction for his hikes (Zoom Kiger).  “That’s what I was thinking! I was just looking at those!” he said.

I did not know, at that moment, the impact that this man would have in my life.

Wait, no, that’s not the truth.  The truth is some small part of me DID know.  I KNEW I needed to approach him, interrupt his sneaker hunting, and introduce myself.

What if I hadn’t?

Well, then I would have missed out on knowing a person that makes this world spin brighter. That I have learned is someone who draws in love. Who is living moment to moment.

I received an email from him the morning following our encounter, per my ask.  I needed his address and shoe size!

The more he and I became connected, the more he shared his story.  His brain tumor was, in his words, “misbehaving.”

“There are times I can’t lift my right arm at all to brush my teeth, open a door, hold my kids. It sucks,” he wrote.

And then… the most wonderful thing happened, his wife Chelsi hijacked his email and wrote me personally.  This beautiful woman with a very sick husband, two small children, and embarking upon a new job is holding the family down.  She is a superhero in her own right.

Trevor needs a miracle. Something stronger than Kryptonite and more powerful than medicine.

Something that shifts the very foundation of the human condition.

So bear with me here. Let’s just say that our collective human energy could shift this.

Let’s, for a moment, believe it.

And act on it.

Will you join me in Trevor’s fight?  The fight that so many of our loved ones with cancer are facing each and every day?

Will you believe in this moment, that our every day actions of LIVING IN THE PRESENT could actually give Trevor, his wife, and his children the gift of time, if only for moments of the purest happiness this earthy existence could entail?

Here’s how I am going to do it.  I am going to take a moment and recognize being present, on the “what IF.”

_What IF I had never met Trevor?  I would never know that my life IS, today, this moment, richer knowing how incredibly brave and strong he and his family are. With his and his wife’s permission, I would like at this point, to share this. It’s their story in it’s fullest. Please take a moment to read about them.

_What IF I worried less about if my kid would make the basketball team in high school next year and made sure that today, tonight, she truly loved the game of basketball and played ONLY for that reason? Not to make varsity, the starting lineup, a college scholarship, or the WNBA.  Just because she loved getting out on that court and playing.

_What IF I worried less about if I had checked my Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress accounts to make sure I was ALL caught up on the latest chatter of politics, Hollywood, accounts of dreamy vacations on tropical beaches (caught, of course, by the perfectly manicured toes photo on a sandy beach), and instead, picked up a book.  An actual book made of a substance called PAPER.  Where you “flip pages” and “earmark” where you stopped for the night before falling asleep (my current recommendation, “Breakfast With Buddha” by Roland Merullo)!

_What IF we worried less about the spread of Ebola or Cancer or Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis and focused instead on not texting while driving.  On doing a radon test in our home to prevent NSCLC.  On eating well.  Today, we can do all of these and increase the odds of living longer.

What IF we all gave, today, $25 to charity instead of spending it on an item that further cluttered our homes.  Just pick one, any one.  I might recommend, if you are reading this, that you choose helping Trevor and his family. And you can do it here.

What IF, today, we left anger at the door.  We just let it go.  We forgave a person that has been under our skin.

What IF, for every one of us with a loved one suffering a life threatening illness, we breathed in their pain and breathed out healing air for them, connecting the universe with the power of our collective human energy.

Yeah, it may not work.

But what if it does?

To light, peace, and what IF.

And letting that be what IS.


A Postscript:

I would like to thank my friend and NIKE colleague Brett Holts for ordering Trevor and his very dear friend (and hiking buddy) Josh pairs of the Zoom Kiger. NIKE is a special place.


Trevor hanging with his pal and hiking buddy, Josh, in their new Zoom Kigers! Photo credit: Chelsi Linderman

This entry was posted in cancer, chemotherapy effects, nike, Zoom Kiger and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to what if.

  1. laura says:

    no words- too many tears- lest we forget the battle of so many. So often hidden in dark places- but you help to bring a light and remind us of the preciousness of life.

  2. Melinda says:

    What IF I hadn’t read this just now….so glad I did. Sending positive thoughts out to those that need it. Thanks for sharing and changing our focus.

  3. Abby says:

    Funny how just today I was on a solo hike and thinking “AC hasn’t written in a while” and then WHAT IF happened. Amen to living in the present. To less fretting and planning and anxiousness about the “what ifs” in life and just take every day an a gift. Love you and your thoughts in words. Xo

  4. Cameron P says:

    Thanks for sharing this!! I first met Trevor in High School, and always liked being around him. Great guy, heart wrenching situation he is in. If anyone can get thru it with a positive outlook, it’s Trevor!!!! He looks great in his Kigers 🙂

  5. Pingback: Cancer hats. | throughbrowneyes

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