Bucket List

Peanuts, Cracker Jack and a Bucket List Experience

Crossed another item off my bucket list this week.

I threw out a ceremonial first pitch at a game between the Tennessee Smokies and the Mobile Bay Bears. The teams are the AA minor league baseball affiliates of the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals, respectively.

I was at the game, with the lovely Sarah and our friend Adam Schultz, in my capacity at State Lead Ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. We were asking people to join the One Degree campaign in support of a one billion dollar increase in federal cancer research funding over two years. We asked people to sign a banner, which will ultimately be delivered to Sen. Lamar Alexander to show how many of his constituents support the funding increase.

I was asked if I would be interested in throwing out the first pitch and I jumped at the chance because, well, it is on my bucket list.

It was a bit of serendippity for the opportunity to open up. And, I’ve been talking about the importance of bucket lists in presentations I’ve given over the last couple weeks about my cancer experience. During lunch celebrating a colleagues birthday, we shared some of the items on our respective lists.

Bucket lists are important. If you don’t have one, I recommend you create one. Whether you write it down or keep it in your head, your list is a catalog of dreams, that list of things you would like to do “when we have time,” even a plan for the future. Mine is a bit of all three.

Here’s my list, with a new item moved to the “completed” list.

To do:

  • Sing a role on stage in Les Miserables — Any production, any role.
  • Go on a book tour — With my book about to come out in print, this will soon be possible.
  • Learn to play guitar — I have a guitar. Youtube has lessons.
  • Visit Antarctica
  • Bike tour of the Florida Keys
  • Spend a week in silence
  • Vacation on Mackinac Island
  • Help develop an environmentally friendly pouching system
  • Be in a clinical trial for use of laboratory-grown rectal tissue
  • Get back the weight I was before cancer — the resurgence of neuropathy since the marathon makes the necessary exercise a challenge, but this will happen.
  • Go to seminary
  • Run with the bulls in Pamplona — With Zane in Spain running from bulls on the plain. A conversation over drinks got the whole bucket list thing started.
  • Get out of debt
  • Buy a larger house
  • Own a Land Rover
  • Get an audience with Pope Francis
  • Shake the president’s hand
  • Have a dish named after me — I know the owners of several restaurants, and I like to eat.
  • Cook with Tyler Florence
  • Visit Paris — Because Paris
  • Swim with Michael Phelps
  • Participate in the Empire State Building Run-Up
  • Run in New Year’s Eve Midnight Run in Central Park
  • Have dinner with Steve Martin
  • Bungee jump from a bridge in Mexico
  • Become a personal trainer — When I get it right, I want to help others.
  • Get my ear pierced
  • Run a sub-30-minute 5K

Completed bucket list items:

  • Throw out a first pitch  — Completed May 28, 2015, at game between Tennessee Smokies and Mobile Bay Bears.
  • Donate books for cancer patients — Completed March 26, 2015
  • Write a book — Completed February 20, 2015, when my book, It’s Not Harder Than Cancer on Kindle.
  • Meet Ann Voskamp, author of one thousand gifts — Completed December 12, 2014.
  • Give a motivational speech to a ballroom full of people — Completed July 14, 2014, when I spoke to the first national sales meeting of Exact Sciences.
  • Meet Kevin Conroy, CEO of Exact Science — Completed July 14, 2014.
  • Get a tattoo — Completed June 2014. Now I have two, and am thinking about a third.

So, what’s on your list?


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