Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Last Lecture - Dr. Randy Pausch (DAY 55)

In my blog on April 8 about the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, I ended with a video clip of Dr. Randy Pausch meeting with members of Congress to discuss the importance of increasing funding and awareness for pancreatic cancer. A few days after I posted the blog, ABC did a special about Dr. Pausch and his story has reached millions of people in the last few months. I first learned about Dr. Pausch a few months ago when I was starting up the Nosmokeathon and was doing research on the PanCAN website. Since then, I have spent hours online watching testimony and lectures given by Dr. Pausch, which have really inspired me. I want to share some of what I have found with you.

It all started back in September when Dr. Pausch, a professor at Carnegie Mellon, gave his "Last Lecture," a university tradition giving professors a chance to speak to their students as if it were the last time ever. For Dr. Pausch however, this was no hypothetical situation. As a pancreatic cancer patient, the idea of a "Last Lecture" took on a new kind of reality with him. The lecture, titled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," inspires people to have lofty dreams, like playing football in the NFL, and then to overcome any obstacles that may stand in your way. One lesson from the lecture that particularly stuck with me was, "Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things." The lecture ultimately found its way on to YouTube and has since been viewed by millions, making Pausch a self described overnight celebrity. With this celebrity status, Dr. Pausch has done a great job of making awareness for pancreatic cancer, through testifying for PanCAN and other organizations, to the ABC special, and finally coming out with a book recently, called The Last Lecture, which expands on the lessons talked about in his speech.

Nothing I can write will do justice to this great story. I highly recommend that you take some time and watch the full lecture. It is about 75 minutes long, but well-worth every second. I guarantee you will be glad you watched. I know we are all very busy though, so in addition to making a link below to the full version I am also putting up links to some highlights from the lecture as well as some other video I have found of Dr. Pausch online. If you are not sure you want to watch the full version, watch the clips first and you might just be intrigued enough to do so.

The Last Lecture - Highlights

Dr. Pausch Special on ABC - Full Version

Dr. Pausch on ABC - Highlights

PanCAN Public Service Announcement

Dr. Pausch for the Lustgarten Foundation

Dr. Randy Pausch's Homepage (has many of these videos and more)

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