Alicia's Big Surprise [VIDEO]
As coaches, we often get asked, "Why did you get involved with Training For Warriors?" The training sessions are amazing and have been proven for many years. The philosophy and messages TFW has are unbelievable. The communities that TFW has grown is almost indescribable since we started. All of these things are great...
But this past weekend at the 5th annual Training For Warriors Summit in Buffalo, NY, the biggest reason WHY we do what we do got cemented by one moment, one person, and one experience that can't be described in words. In this post by head coach of TFW, Martin Rooney, you'll see one of the biggest lessons you can ever remember: TIME IS PRECIOUS.
Three years ago, I was in California to present. To be honest, I was tired from continuous travel and just wanted to get some rest at the hotel before another weekend of non-stop speaking. Then I got a phone call that would change my life.
Justin Lesh, the owner of TFW Huntington Beach called to ask if I could come out to meet his latest group of interns. When I resisted, he pushed stating, “You will understand. There is someone special you have to meet.” Intrigued, I took my things to the hotel and caught a taxi to the restaurant.
I barely got through the entrance and a woman came running. I did not recognize her, but she recognized me. She didn’t have any hair and had obviously gone through some serious medical treatments. Before I could even say hello, she began to cry. My only instinct was to hug her until the crying subsided. This was my first encounter with Alicia Saldivar and her first lesson of many for me about what it means to be human.
I found out that night she was battling cancer. She was a former pastry chef and found TFW and fitness as a result. Since she felt so good from the training, she decided to help more people and become a coach herself. She had just finished the intern program and would start coaching at TFW Huntington Beach. As we talked into the night, I found out she too, like me had four daughters. I also saw a spirit and energy that was uplifting for everyone. She was the type of person that is impossible to forget and we stayed in contact from that moment until now.
Over the years since then, her life has not been easy. Cancer has gone into remission and returned again each time more aggressively than the last. Through all of the devastating treatment and negative news, she has been a positive light to her family and taught the entire TFW Network another lesson: a warrior is ready for the fight. Last year in August, she presented for over 120 TFW Affiliates. It was not only the most powerful speech of the event, but also gave us our mission for 2017: TFW would do something great about cancer.
As the months passed, the pressure grew. What would we do? What event would we run? What charity would we contribute to? No matter what idea I had or was presented with, nothing felt “right.” Every idea was a good cause, but none that would get my entire network on board.
Then in a phone conversation of frustration, I got the big idea.
We would open four 529 College Funds for each of her daughters. We would run events around the world to increase the awareness about cancer and donate to the funds. We would do this for one of our own. And the toughest part? We would keep it a secret until the big reveal at our next TFW Summit!
After research, I found the right funds. After secret videos, emails, and private groups, I got the entire TFW network on board. Then each week, the events started to happen and donation after donation, the funds started to grow. This past weekend and still unaware of any of it, Alicia attended the TFW Summit. She was our guest DJ and on the night of the awards dinner, she again addressed over 140 attendees. Then, it was time to reveal our big secret. Here is a short video from that moment:
Through all the charity events and donations from the students at TFW, we raised over $90,000 dollars for Alicia’s four daughters. As you can see on the video, Alicia was overcome with emotion, but we were the real winners. After the speech, Alicia told us we had given her the biggest gift about her girls beyond money. She had been given peace of mind.
It is my hope that Alicia’s story not only inspires you personally, but also inspires you to come up with a “big idea.” Although the idea may require work and time, I promise it is one of the greatest things you will ever be part of. My challenge to you is to use the energy from the video to be a better person today. Give out a compliment. Help someone in need. Or maybe just simply give someone a hug.
Yours In Strength,
P.S. please share the video and if you would like to contribute to Alicia’s daughters, here are the individual links to each of their Franklin Templeton 529 college fund accounts:
Watch The Full 25 minute “Big Surprise” Video Here