The 2010 Lisa Awards
Heroes who exemplify The Power of One.
By Tom Karlya
May 2010 — Last year I decided that each June, in honor of my friend Lisa Carlinsky, I would bestow my Lisa Awards. These awards are kudos to people who understand "the power of one person"; people who, in their own way are changing the world, just like Lisa did.
My friend Lisa passed away in 2009 at the young age of 36. Her husband Mark is as close to me as any brother could ever hope to be, and I love him and his family dearly. Lisa was as beautiful as she was smart, strong as she was gentle, and battled cancer longer than any doctor thought she would. Through her life I learned a hugely powerful phrase that will live inside me forever, along with Lisa's memory: The Power of One Person.
Lisa showed that the power of one person could make a difference in so many ways: her strength and courage to face incredible odds; her ability to share the good and the bad with a twist of humor and compassion; her love for her family and her friends; and an incredible zeal for living even when her body said no more. She chose to enroll in scientific study after scientific study even when she couldn't be helped because, she said, the doctors would learn to help someone else.
Lisa and Mark shared their writings with a hundred or so friends and family members, all of whom were inspired with each word. And then something happened.
People who were not part of the inner circle started reading the blog posts, and those people became inspired. The hundred readers became five hundred. In no time the number of readers rose to 1000, then 1500, and soon 3500 people were following Lisa's story. Both Lisa and Mark were so inspiring in the face of incredible tragedy that they inspired others to do the same. And then something else happened.
A TV station found out about Lisa's story and they ran the story on the evening news. Now millions heard her story and were inspired by the magic she possessed - the determination to live life and taste every last drop. Sadly, Lisa's valiant battle was lost, but not before millions heard about it and were inspired.
This column, which will be up all through June, Lisa's birthday month, pays tribute to those who understand Lisa's philosophy of the Power of One Person. These people don't do it--whatever it is--for themselves; they do it because they think it will make a difference in the lives of those with diabetes. Lisa's words live in these special people.
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