The news shocked us all — “Pat Williams Diagnosed With Multiple Myeloma.” In fact, when NBA.com published the breaking news, our lead Web developer saw it and sent it around via urgent email around 11pm.
By 9am the next morning, the entire Growing Bolder staff had come together to express our concern, our sadness and our empathy for Pat and his family.
He didn’t need it. Any of it. And we’d find that out in person soon enough.
First, a bit of a backstory. Pat Williams is an Orlando legend. He’s credited with bringing the city its first NBA franchise (the Orlando Magic.) He written a book for every year he’s been alive (70 and counting) and a devoted family, including 19 children, 14 of whom the Williams adopted.
He’s a walking inspiration who has more humility than he should, given his success. He’s quick to share the secrets to success that others have found (Michael Jordan, John Wooden, Bear Bryant) and equally fast at fostering ambition in up-and-coming leaders.
Pat is also a member of the Growing Bolder team — we spent hours with him in early 2011, working on a series of videos for Season 2 of Growing Bolder TV, shooting behind-the-scenes photographs and more.
And just weeks after wrapping our final video shoot, Pat visited his doctors for what he expected to be a normal checkup. In fact, it was.
But when he had a second doctors visit, a more throughout corporate physical, doctors found something abnormal in the bloodwork.
Pat, who says he “thought his body was krypotine,” was about to find out that he was among the hundreds of thousands of people around the world that have faced or are facing cancer.
What is multiple myeloma?
- a blood cancer related to leukemia and lymphoma
- may be treated by drugs, chemotherapy and other procedures
Incurable is, of course, the word that stopped all of us in our tracks. But when we sat down with Pat, after his diagnosis, he was honest and open with us about the fears he faced when first hearing the news, and how he’s turned that around.
“I remember getting the first news and my thought was, ‘wait a minute, Lord. I’m on your side here. I never drank, I’ve never smoked, my eating habits are good, I work out aggressively every day, I’m in good health every day, I’m writing books about you and speaking,’” says Pat.
“Then I said ‘why?’. And then a little bit later it was ‘why not?,’ and finally I came around to ‘what.’ I went from why to why me to what. In other words, I’m teachable, I’m moldable. There are lessons being taught here, Lord, and I want to be a good student. It’s part of the great adventure of life. I don’t know his this is going to turn out but I’m praying for remission and I just feel that the Lord has more for me to do here on this Earth.”
You can watch the video — embedded below, or available at this link — to hear Pat talk about his new mission…remission. And leave us a comment to let us know what you think. We’ll be sure to pass on your kind words to Pat!
And remember — you can get his inspirational words of wisdom in special video segments throughout Season 2 of Growing Bolder TV. The season debuts on April 2, so be sure to find local listings now!
Pat Williams is the author of more than 70 books, is a motivational speaker and Senior Vice President of the Orlando Magic. You can learn more about Pat and his work at http://patwilliamsmotivate.com/.