Never Afraid to Face a New Challenge

In Breast Cancer, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

Shortly after the New Year, my husband, Kirk, decided that it was time to take on a new challenge. For a long time, he had been eyeing the world of karate and after much research, he found the group that seemed to be perfect for him. As always with any project that he takes on, he jumped in with both feet and after a few months, he decided to attend the American Amateur Karate Federation’s National Seminar. Needless to say, he was honored when asked to write about his experience and immediately agreed to do so. But as I sat down to write about his article, I was struck by something so much bigger than the outcome from his writing. It was about the essence of a man who continues to challenge himself for the purpose of improving himself on a personal level and/or in order to do something to help others. But, let me explain.

It was about the essence of a man who continues to challenge himself for the purpose of improving himself on a personal level and/or in order to do something to help others. Barbara Jacoby

Kirk had studied music and with the coaching of a super teacher, Doug Decatur, had carved out a great name for himself in venues around the Los Angeles area. In fact, that is actually how we met. After one of his performances, I introduced myself to him and wanted to talk to him about a project on which I was working that I thought would be perfect for him. But, our true connection in the music came about when Kirk decided to take some of my poems and put them to music and vocally record them with a fantastic group of musicians and present me with the ultimate outcome of a 15-song CD titled “Let Life Happen”.

As I continue to reflect, I remember Kirk’s interest in comedy, both improvisation and stand up and true to his very nature, he pursued training in both of them just for the sake of doing them and perhaps coming away with a better understanding about the very nature of human beings. But, the journey was far from over. After being diagnosed with breast cancer for a second time, knowing how much I enjoyed writing, he encouraged me to do something in that arena with the promise that he would find a way to create a way to display and share my work. With absolutely no background in computer programming in web design and social media, he set a course of action that has resulted in the Let Life Happen site which has undergone 2 complete updates over seven years, the When Breast Cancer Happens site and a third site that was abandoned after nearly a year as a result of nothing that had to do with his work and efforts.

And the story continues! Kirk decided to create a new physical workout program for himself that included running. Over the years, he not only continues to run 6 miles every other day (maximum run is 14 miles to date) but also has participated in two 10K’s to raise money for cancer research while wearing a shirt that carried the names on his back of those who have dealt with cancer and honoring them in this very special way.

I guess what is most surprising to me is that for the vast majority of people who undertake learning something new or a new challenge, it is usually with the intention of advancing their career, creating a new career for themselves or finding an avenue to make more money as their goal(s). But, such has never, ever been the case with Kirk. He undertakes learning to either better himself as a person or to do something for someone else. Added to all that he has done for me, there are so many other things that he has done for others. A great example was his creating an awesome campaign for Project Fit America when they needed help to get votes in a contest to get a grant award.

And that brings us full circle back to his first nationally published article. Just as with everything else, he was asked to do something that was new to him and he just attacked it with the effort and time and dedication that he gives to everything that he does. He is never afraid to try something new and always gives everything that he has and everything that he is to his life every day. For that, all of us who are fortunate enough to interact with him in our lives will learn such great lessons from him. Most importantly, we learn that there is always a way to do something better, that nothing ever turns out as you anticipate, that listening is more important than talking, that there is nothing greater than helping others and that giving your best is always more than enough. Thank you Kirk for all that you are and all that you do. Everyone who knows you is better for having had that opportunity.