I’m gonna apologize now as this may be a rambling post, but it is an important one. You see, I have this friend, Oren. He was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer back on May 30th. While that is important to why I am writing, that’s going to be the last time I mention it. My tale about Oren is more than a battle with a disease- it’s about a man that has helped so many of us unite and succeed.
I “met” Oren about two almost three years ago when I started blogging. He was one of the first dads to ever reach out to me. He actually read my stuff. He commented on my stuff. He even tweeted back and forth with me. Not too long ago he quipped at me “Remember, I was reading you before it was cool to read you.” Hilarious – except that it still isn’t cool to read me, but I appreciated the sentiment. But that’s the kind of guy Oren is- he celebrates and supports so many.
Oren has always been big about advocating for dads. Uniting dads. Empowering dads. Not in a dad versus mom way, instead, as a “us dads trying to be the best WE can” way. I have always appreciated that from him.
He created a group, a haven, an online lounge for us dad bloggers to congregate, share tips, and blow off steam. When I joined the group there were maybe 30 of us. A few days after I joined, I met Oren for the first time at the Dad 2.0 Summit. His demeanor was as low key and cool as his writing intimated. He seemed to be every where and speaking quietly, or laughing and joking with everyone.
Well that group he created grew. There were a hundred of us. Two hundred. Three.
There are now over 800 of us dads. And it is awesome.
From the beginning, Oren has been our captain – welcoming people, engaging people, and fostering the growth of the group. He is respected and appreciated with good reason.
Not to mention that he is also a great dad and writer.
One of my favorite movies is It’s A Wonderful Life. At the end of the movie, Clarence, the Angel, leaves an inscription for George that reads, “Remember, George: no man is a failure who has friends.”
Want evidence of Oren’s success? Of his character? Well, his friends put together a Giving Forward page to send he and his family on a vacation. The original goal was $5,000.
Less than 48 hours from the end of the fundraising, the fund sits just under the new goal of $35K.
The most touching part ofIt’s a Wonderful Life, to me, is seeing all the people who were touched by George Bailey and happily came to contribute in his honor. It hits me every year I watch it, but it’s also a movie.
This is real life. Oren has influenced real people in real ways. And for that we are grateful.
The money raised in the fund will now go to help defray medical costs and other expenses that Oren and his family will incur.
He is the real life George Bailey, and I am proud to call Oren a friend. I am even more thankful for the impact that he has had on me personally.