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Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

It’s the Village that Matters: Word on the Street — Oct. 15th thru Oct. 19th

October 21st, 2012 11 COMMENTS
It's the Village That Matters: Word on the Street -- Oct. 15th thru Oct. 19th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Never have I hoped and prayed that a statement was truer!

You would have had to live in a cave not to hear the news this past week about Lance Armstrong. And those who know me well, know that I have always been a very passionate supporter of LIVESTRONG as well as Lance. To put it plainly, he is a hero of mine. But the reason, as the title of one of his book says, It’s Not About the Bike. Sadly, I am not sure he necessarily believes that statement, but that is another story. For me, it never was about the bike. It was about LIVESTRONG and the community of support within LIVESTRONG and all the work they do and have done over the years.

I received countless emails and phone calls over the past week asking if I was OK. Listen, I am disappointed in the man. But with age comes wisdom as they say. And especially in the past handful of years, I have come to realize that you can’t and shouldn’t ever put too much faith in Mankind. You will always be left with some disappointment and/or hurt.

But the organization, LIVESTRONG, has become more than Lance. Better said, it became more than Lance a longtime ago. Evidenced by Nike’s decision to drop Lance but maintain their unwavering support of LIVESTRONG. Kudos to Nike on both counts.

One particularly bothersome email to me read, “Have you received any flack for all the fundraising you did all those years for that cheater’s organization?” I decided not to respond, but let me say this, “No, you freaking idiot!”

The truth is, I am not only proud of the nearly $100K I have personally raised over the years, but also honored and thankful for the vehicle that LIVESTRONG provided me to raise money that went directly towards helping those who are and have been affected by this dreaded disease. Every year from 2002 through 2011, I was blessed to have the health and opportunity to ride “In Honor of” and/or “In Memory of” many friends and loved ones — and many of yours too.

Whether Lance, the man, ever comes to grip with this or not, he inspired something much greater than he even ever aspired to be personally. Unfortunately, as is often the case, it appears his own pride and strive for personal greatness caught up with him. My only hope is that the humility he felt back in 1996 when he was first diagnosed is something he can still find inside himself. It would help him on a human level more than he might remember.

But the organization, the Village that is LIVESTRONG still stands strong and hopefully will continue to.

In the end, YES I am disappointed like anyone who lifts another person up to a very high pedestal only to see them fall in disgrace. It does suck, but it’s only to be expected when you think about it.

To the other 40 or so who sent me messages last week,  thanks for “getting it.”

LIVESTRONG! And thanks for reading something entirely non-trade show related. 🙂

Kevin Carty

Club 815 for Cancer: Word on the Street — June 11th thru June 15th

June 17th, 2012 2 COMMENTS

Riding for One of Our Own

Every year, I embark on a 100 mile bike ride to raise money through the Livestrong Foundation for Cancer Research.

Well, this year I recruited some friends and together we have decided to help one of our own: Mike Swartout, Director of Design at Classic Exhibits Inc. Most know Mike, are friends with Mike, and some even call him family.

This September, employees from Classic Exhibits, Optima Graphics, Creative Dimensions, and Greg Garrett Designs will go the distance for one of their own — literally.

Dave Brown, Kevin Carty, Mel White, Tony Ricci, Betsy Ricci, Greg Garrett, Charlie Shivel, Joel Roy, and others will bike 100 miles (The Century Ride) in Oregon’s Eschelon Gran Fondo of Hood River to raise money for Mike Swartout and his family.

According to Dave Brown, VP of Sales at Optima Graphics, “Mike has been there to help Optima and its customers many times over the years so when Kevin suggested we do this ride to raise money for Mike’s family, we immediately said yes.”

I am approaching my 12-year cancer-free anniversary next month, and in that time I have been very impressed with Mike’s selflessness, courage, and attitude since his terminal diagnosis.

Unfortunately, I have known too many people who have been affected by cancer, but none have personally moved me quite like Mike. He decided, very early on, to become a research patient after his diagnosis of Advanced Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. He was not going to sit back and just take it. He wanted to do something for others.

Since his diagnosis, Mike has opted to undergo countless experimental treatments. Treatments that are solely intended to benefit people diagnosed with this dreaded disease in the future.

Optima Graphics, Classic Exhibits, Creative Dimensions, and Greg Garrett Designs certainly have a great working partnership, but within our companies, the relationships run much deeper. We are friends. So, when thinking about participating in this event, I naturally wanted to take the challenge with my friends and Mike’s.

EDPA Foundation

Special thanks to The EDPA Foundation! Dave Walens and Jeff Provost stepped in right away and allowed us to raise money through the foundation for Mike, thus allowing any and all donations to be fully tax deductible for individuals and businesses.

Visit our team’s page to learn how to donate to Mike’s family and how to help alleviate the severe financial hardship they are experiencing. In particular, Mike does not have life insurance which is a future hardship for his lovely wife Janet.

Mike is a huge proponent of men having regular prostate exams; prevention and early detection are the keys.

The team, “Club 815, Powered by The EDPA Foundation” will ride on September 22, 2012. If you are interested in riding with us, email me and I will send you all the information (  There is a 30 mile, 80 mile, or 100 mile ride. So take the challenge . . . I dare ya! 🙂

Please consider supporting us. We would appreciate it.

Hope you all have a great weekend and be well.

–Kevin Carty

Patient Recovery: Word on the Street — June 20th thru June 24th

June 26th, 2011 COMMENTS
Getting Healthy

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

On Getting Healthy

As we climb out of the recession, the trade show industry as a whole has bounced back. Albeit slowly. From the manufacturing side, we have witnessed budgets increase and align with the design hopes of end users. All good things.

But as many of you would agree, not unlike the economy at large, the slow to moderate recovery (healthy growth as it has been called) is a key component to actual recovery. Let me draw a personal comparison if you don’t mind.

Some time ago, 11 years to be exact, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 cancer. Like many others who have experienced cancers of many kinds, I was given chemotherapy as my primary treatment. And chemo is designed to essentially kill you from a cellular level. Good and bad cells alike are destroyed in order to hopefully get all the cancer out of your system.

Afterwards, your body (regardless of age) is essentially back at the starting line. Not just from the chemo, but also from the fact that you have been without physical activity for a long period while recovering from surgery and from being out of commission during treatments.

Now, as much as I might have wanted to, I could not just go out and run a 10k, ride my bike 30 miles, or play a game of tennis. Actually walking around the block was like running a marathon. I constantly had to remind myself or be reminded that I needed to take my time and that it would take time to recovery from essentially 4-5 months of inactivity. Atrophy is an amazing phenomenon. It happens so fast, yet it takes so long to build your body back up to where it once was.

VK-5076 Island Exhibit

VK-5076 Island Exhibit

The reason I am sharing this is simple. Currently in our business and industry, like other industries in the US market, we are still recovering from the recession of the past 2-3 years. And in all reality, that recovery did not really start until about January of this year. At least that is when we really started seeing consistent, positive economic changes. And I, like others, have to keep reminding myself or be reminded by others that we are still early in this recovery process. Lest I forget that some even think we might slip back into another recession. I personally doubt that, but I have to admit that nothing would surprise me.

However, I/we need to continue to remain patient. Just like the muscles in your legs and arms that go unused for a long period of time and take awhile to gain their strength back, our economy and businesses will also take time to truly bounce back to peak health. So rather than focus on the length of time the recovery is taking, we should be focusing on the leaps and bounds we are making daily and weekly. Much of which is a direct result of the hard work we did to clean up our own houses during the lean times so we all come out of this stronger and healthier than before.

I know this may seem a bit off topic as you review the latest Island designs in Design Monday, like Ginsana (VK-5076) introduced this week, but it’s really not. It reflects some of the hard work we have been doing during the recovery process as we create high-end and multi-functional designs for you and your end users.

I guess what grandma always said is true, “Patience is a virtue.” Or as my grandad said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

Have a great weekend!

–Kevin Carty