Wednesday, April 9, 2008

One Man's Life Lessons

Last fall, Wall Street Journal columnist Jeff Zaslow wrote a piece about Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch's last lecture to his students. Just 46, Pausch was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and wouldn't be teaching anymore. Zaslow's column resonated with me for many reasons but I was mostly touched by his message: Follow your dreams. What an important reminder to all of us.

And what an impressive legacy -- one that reminded me of my friend Laura Schmidt, who died of pancreatic cancer just a few years ago. Laura's legacy was a Nightline report chronicling her efforts to make sure her end-of-life care wishes were honored and respected. Laura started writing a book about her experiences; her husband finished the project, A Good Death: A Couple's Journey, after her death.

And while Laura never saw her book published, Randy has -- he and Jeff co-authored The Last Lecture: A Love Story for Your Life, just released this week. (It's already #3 on -- how cool is that? It will absolutely be my high school graduation gift of choice this year.)

Randy will be interviewed by Diane Sawyer Wednesday night, April 9, on ABC-TV at 10 p.m. Eastern. I won't miss this program -- I need to experience and absorb Randy's positive attitude -- and I hope you won't either.

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