Social media pause button…on.

Over the holidays, something pretty cool happened. I read a book. Amazing, huh?

Allow me to explain.

When I worked at CG&A in Chicago, I directed the agency’s work with Donate Life Illinois and managed an utterly incredible community of organ donation patients, donor families and transplant recipients. In the fall of 2009, I met Bill Coon, who at the time was a Columbia college student waiting for a heart and kidney transplant.

Bill Coon

Bill and I connected over a couple email exchanges as he mentioned that he was maintaining a journal while awaiting his transplants in the hospital. Wanting to help promote donation in any way possible, Bill was excited to have us share his entries on our DLI blog and we even had the opportunity to create a video about Bill’s transplant experience with his sister, Carissa .

Fast forward to January 2011. Bill and I have kept in touch for the past year as he provided updates on his successful transplants. Even more exciting was to hear news of Bill’s book being published, documenting his entire transplant experience.

I finally had a chance to sit down and read Bill’s book. Mind you, I’m a “2-3 books at a time” type of guy. It’s rare that I’m able to find a good book that holds my attention enough for a complete read without distraction. I read Bill’s book over the course of three days – a flat out miracle in and of itself in consideration of my personal track record.

My big takeaway from reading SWIM was to step back and reflect on my own life and actions. Particularly when working with nonprofit clients, it’s all too easy to get soaked up into minute details of our PR/marketing world. Getting a blog post published on time, a status update worded just right, or drafting a perfectly crafted tweet. Step back. Soak it in and never forget the larger goal you’re working towards – the bigger mission you’re helping communicate.

Bill’s book twisted my heart and brought tears to my eyes. I simply had NO clue what he was experiencing and the daily battles he faced on an incredible journey towards receiving two transplants. I don’t want to give anything away, but I do want you to read this book. Selfishly, because I remain a HUGE organ donation advocate and believe that it’s critically important to register as an organ/tissue donor (there, I just made your 2011 resolution pretty easy, huh?) but also because it puts you in your place in this world…and we all need that once in a while.

I’m happy that I’ve stayed in touch with Bill and I’m blissful that he’s alive today. I feel lucky that I was able to help tell his story. It’s a journey no one his age should face and like so many transplant recipients I’ve met, he overcame incredible odds. Bill reminds us all of how important it is to recognize the value of the day. Cheers good sir, here’s to another year of healthy living.

To purchase your copy of SWIM, click below:

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Great post, Scott! As another “2-3 books at a time” guy, I am 3/4 of the way through Swim and have also found it to be an inspiring and incredibly heart-felt read. I encourage others to pick up a copy and follow Bill’s journey.


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