Why I’m Participating in Movember and Need Your Help

ImageSome people have asked why I’m growing a mustache and raising money to support awareness and improvement of men’s health this year. After all, Movember has taken place annually for ten years now, but I’ve never participated. What motivated me to jump in now?

In July 2012, my stepfather, Fritz Triebold, was diagnosed with bladder cancer. He subsequently received a series of six injections of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) vaccine to kill the cancerous areas on the wall of his bladder. BCG treatment is a form of immunotherapy that involves flooding the bladder with live tuberculosis bacteria, which have been found to kill cancer cells in the bladder in 67% of all cases. Immediately following each of the treatments, he would come home and sleep for a few hours, then endure several days of pain related to the insertion and eventual removal of the catheter he was required to use. Not much fun.

My dad was retested for active cancer earlier this year. Unfortunately, the first series of treatments did not fully eradicate the disease, so he underwent another course of six treatments. While the experience wasn’t easier the second time, Dad was both more tolerant of the pain and more positive in his outlook. Hopes were high that he would be cancer-free when he was retested at the end of the second intervention.

And he was.

Dad’s bladder has been clear of cancer since last month. However, his doctors want him to undergo three more BCG treatments, just to be sure. This is standard procedure, but it means that there will be more pain and queasiness for my Dad to deal with, probably early next year.

This ordeal will always be remembered by our family. One way for me to do so is by participating in Movember, which aims to raise awareness of, and funds to combat, mens’ health issues. Bladder cancer may seem like an egalitarian disease, but statistics show that men are three times more likely to develop it than women. Approximately 23,000 American men will contract bladder cancer in a given year and about 5,000 of them will die as a result.

I hope you will join me by making a generous donation to Movember. Your gift will help our family celebrate Dad’s victory over bladder cancer and fund related awareness and treatment efforts for others. Please make a donation, in whatever amount you can afford, on my Movember page today. Thanks!

It’s Movember

Happy Movember!Happy Movember! No, that’s not a typo. We are in the month of Movember.

Ten years ago, the Movember movement was begun to raise awareness of mens’ health issues. Thirty men in Melbourne, Australia shaved on November 1, 2003 and let only their mustaches grow for the rest of the month. The attention generated by the appearance of a new patch of hair under their noses gave these men (Mo Bros in Movember vernacular) an opportunity to start conversations about mens’ health concerns and to raise money to help address them.

This ritual has since spread across the globe and grown to include women (Mo Sistas) who officially register for Movember, support men in their lives who are participating and actively fundraise for the cause. Initially, the Movember movement focused on diseases that are unique to men, such as prostate and testicular cancer. Over the years, the scope has broadened to cover any physical or mental illness that may afflict a man. You can learn more about Movember by checking out the movement’s website.

I have decided to join the Movember movement this year and have a six-day old mustache as proof. I’ll detail the reasons why in forthcoming posts. For now, let it suffice to say that 2013 has seen some bouts with poor health suffered by both me and a family member. If you’d like to follow my adventure, hit my Movember webpage once a week for updates.

I’m asking you, and anyone else who would like to help men improve their health, to make a donation today to the Movember movement. I’ve primed the pump by giving $500. Should you wish to join me, you may make a donation here  It doesn’t need to be large; even $10 or $20 gift helps by showing that you care about the health of one or more of the men in your life. Of course, your donation will be tax deductible, and the Movember movement will send you a receipt for use with your 2013 income tax filing.

Please join me in elevating the conversation about mens’ health and giving money to combat physical and mental diseases that degrade the quality of mens’ lives. I hope you will be as generous as you can. Thank you!

In Memorium Carl Frappaolo

Carl_FrappaoloLThe Information and Knowledge Management worlds suffered a devastating loss this week. Carl Frappaolo died on Sunday, March 17th after suffering a series of strokes over the previous days. Carl’s untimely passing (he was 59) has left me stunned and in pain, but also deeply appreciative and grateful for having had the chance to work and enjoy life with him.

I first met Carl in 1999, when I interviewed for a job at the Delphi Group, which he had co-founded a few years earlier. Our initial meeting, which was scheduled for an hour, expanded into a conversation that lasted well over five and a half hours. When I left his office that day, I had no doubt that I very much wanted to work for and with Carl. Such was the immediate and overwhelmingly positive effect of his large personality.

I reported directly to Carl during just my first two years at Delphi, but he mentored me throughout my employment there and beyond. In fact, on separate occasions within the last month, I sought out Carl’s guidance on a professional matter, and he presented me with a potential business opportunity. I knew I could always turn to him for not only advice, but also for active assistance.

To say that Carl was a mentor is actually an understatement, because he treated me almost as if I were his son. I was always overjoyed by the pride he displayed when I performed well. On one occasion, I failed a potential client (and Carl, by extension), leading to Carl being so intensely disappointed in me that neither he nor I ever forgot the incident.

After hours, Carl was a delight to be with. I have many fond memories of eating, drinking and laughing with him , mostly while we were on the road serving a client or working a Delphi event. Carl nearly always had a joke or an entertaining story to tell. I will forever remember the two exhausting, exhilerating weeks we spent together in Western Europe, where we worked very long days on behalf of our client, but found time to have fun later in the evening or on a rare day off. Perhaps the best stretch of that trip took place in Milan. Carl always openly and enthusiastically celebrated his Italian heritage, and he was literally in his element while we were in Italy.

Carl was a remarkable man, in the truest sense of the word. The purpose, commitment and tenacity he exhibited in his professional life were exceptional, as were his compassion, caring and desire to help. While the intensity with which he thought, spoke and gestured could be almost frightening at times, few doubted his good intentions. Those who had the privilege of knowing Carl well also saw the other end of his emotional spectrum. Although he was usually boisterous, he could also be very calm, quiet and contemplative.

In fact, Carl was a bundle of contradictions. High strung and easy going. Profound and vulgar. Deeply serious and (more frequently) smiling and laughing. A very active and competent speaker, but also one of the best listeners I have ever encountered. Someone with many insightful answers, but also an unparalleled ability to ask the right questions.

I have learned so much from Carl over the last decade plus. Anyone who is at all concerned with Information or Knowledge Management has. His too-soon passing leaves an enormous hole in those fields and an even bigger void my life. Goodbye, Carl, and thank you for the genuine concern and compassion you displayed to me and everyone you encountered. Thank you for teaching me so much about consulting, business and being a good person. Rest in peace.

If you knew, met or were otherwise impacted by Carl, please consider remembering him by making a donation in his name to the Italian Home for Children, located in Boston.