Thank You To Randy Pausch
Watch a video version of PJ's tribute to Randy Pausch, or read her SharePost below:
Hey, Randy Pausch: I’ve only ever read about you; and if I’m pronouncing your name wrong in my mind, well, I apologize, Randy. But just the fact I feel comfortable speaking to you like this—without ever having met you—is a testament to your effect on me, the same effect you had on so many people.
We’re both alums of Brown University, Randy, which is how I first heard of you. The alumni magazine made you a cover boy last Christmas, after you’d become famous for The Last Lecture—the speech you gave at Carnegie Mellon, a year after you were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Your topic that day was "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams." And you said so much worth remembering. Good stuff about life—a life that, for you, was going to end all too soon. A life that ended today: Friday, July 25.
Randy, before you got famous—like REALLY famous—you were already an author, an award-winning computer scientist and teacher. You worked with Google, and Electronic Arts, and Disney Imagineering. You founded the Alice Project, designed to get young people back into computer science by teaching them how to program in a really cool 3D environment. And best of all, you had a great family—a wife and three kids. I mean, your life was GOOD.
And then, pancreatic cancer. Those of us in the cancer community know that when you hear those words, you’d better run for you life. Because it’s a mean son of a gun, a vicious, fast-acting killer. You must have shed tears with your wife, and acted like Regular Daddy for the kids, who were just pre-schoolers. And then, like so many of us, you picked up your feet and moved forward. And boy, did you cram a whole lot of living into the 2 years between your diagnosis and your death.
You started to catch the world’s eye on Sept. 18, 2007, when you delivered the Last Lecture, telling us all how to REALLY achieve our childhood dreams. Your audience that day laughed—a lot. They also cried. And your message was so compelling, it became a YouTube video, and you were on Oprah, and you wrote a book based on it. You testified before the Senate in a plea to increase cancer research funding. Time magazine named you one of the world’s 100 most influential people. And through it all, those who know you well said you were still just Randy; husband, father, one of life’s good guys.
Now millions of people around the world have heard you. And you’ll speak to millions more in the future, a lasting legacy to your faith in some of life’s simple truths. Things you identified as you achieved your own childhood dreams. I don’t need to reprise your words here. The Last Lecture is available online; we can all read or hear it. But I’d like to print one part of it for everyone to see.
"It's not about how to achieve your dreams, it's all about leading your life. If you lead your life in a right way, karma will take care of itself. And dreams will come to you."
Randy, you led your life the right way. Despite dying way too soon, I think it’s safe to say your dreams came to you. Thanks for reminding all of us, especially those of us with cancer, to live our dreams—before it's too late.