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  • Writer's pictureH. Rick Goff

"I Wouldn't Change a Thing"

James Conner, a rookie running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers, is also a cancer survivor. I recently saw James doing an interview in which he was asked, if he could change anything about his journey to the NFL including his cancer diagnosis, would he? James very matter of factly answered, "I wouldn't change a thing".

What a tough answer for someone who went through what James went through. He survived a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a treatable but deadly form of cancer. James not only won his battle with cancer, but he thrived. He had a successful college football career, was drafted by his home town team, and is now an NFL running back.

I watched the rest of the interview but never got past his casual response to the question. James answered with strong conviction and no hesitation. It made me wonder to myself, how many people would really say they wouldn't change a thing about their lives, even without a cancer diagnosis. I think many live their lives wanting "do overs" for something that happened to them in the past. Some are so disappointed in their lives that if given the chance, they would go back and change everything. They feel a second chance would allow them to somehow get it right. They say to themselves, if I knew then what I know now, I never would have made that decision.

I contend the beauty of life is that we only get one chance to live it. That one chance must be valued, respected, and most of all lived. Second chances are rare, and we must live our lives with all the consequences that come with it. We must live with the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of our lives. It's not a matter of changing something that has happened, but more a matter of accepting it, learning from it, living with it! Adversity, uncertainty, and surviving hard times round out the circle of life.

James didn't let his cancer diagnosis change his dream of one day playing in the NFL. He saw the challenge that life put in front of him and didn't ask, "Why me?" Seems like he asked, "Why not me?" and chose life. James knows that without his cancer diagnosis, and his successful battle with cancer, he wouldn't be who, what, or where he is today!

As for me, like James, I wouldn't change a thing.

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