Author of over 75 books, latest, The Difference You Make (2013)
Senior Vice President, NBA Orlando Magic
Co-founded team in 1987 and helped lead to NBA finals in 1995
Served in the NBA as general manager for Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia teams, including the 1983 World Champion 76ers
Featured in Sports Illustrated, Readers Digest, and others
Completed 50 marathons in the past 13 years, including the Boston Marathon 12 times
Bachelors degree at Wake Forest Univ.
Master’s degree at Indiana Univ.
Doctorate in Humane Letters from Flagler Univ
Married to Ruth
Father of 19 children, 4 birth kids, 14 by international adoption and 1 by remarriage
Pat Williams: How Anyone Can Change the World
YOU MAKE A DIFFERENCE
Pat Williams says everyone has influence, whether we realize it or not. Everything we say and do, we are influencing those around us – good or bad. Through the course of a lifetime we are influencing hundreds of people. True influence is not about what you want – it’s about serving others. In using your influence wisely you can change the world for the better, one relationship at a time. People usually think that you’ve got to be important, rich or famous to have any real influence but Pat challenges that way of thinking. He says that every one of us has influence, whether we realize it or not. Every day, through everything we say and do, we are influencing those around us. Pat invites people to consider “What if you became more aware, more intentional, and more strategic about your own influence? Well, you just might change the world.”
An area where you can be more intentional is being more specific in the words you say. For example, when giving encouragement to someone talk about a specific occasion. You don’t want to overdo compliments in a meaningless situation. Save accolades for the times that matters.
A NEW AREA OF INFLUENCE
In 2011, Pat was diagnosed with multiple myeloma (cancer of the blood and bone marrow). He spent time thinking back to those who had impacted his life. Faced with his new challenge, many people contacted him to say how he has influenced their lives. Reconfirming his belief that we all have the ability to positively influence others, he has used his fight with cancer as another way to make that connection. Pat says “In many ways, the diagnosis of multiple myeloma has turned out to be a blessing – and an opportunity. We all have influence, we all have an impact on the people around us – and we have all been shaped and impacted by the influencers in our own lives.” Hopefully, people will be inspired to build a positive legacy in the lives of others and take the role of influencer to heart.
THE MISSION IS REMISSION
In January 2011, during an exhaustive, eight-hour executive physical made mandatory by Orlando Magic human resources, some abnormalities were discovered during Pat Williams' exam. Despite the warnings, Pat ran the Disney Marathon two days later. After additional testing a month later Pat was diagnosed with multiple myeloma which is a cancer of the blood plasma in the bone marrow. While the cancer is incurable, recent medical developments have resulted in MM patients living prolonged lives as long as they are able to force the cancer into remission. Immediately, Pat adopted a new slogan: The mission is remission.
While participating in an aggressive treatment program that consisted of both oral and intravenous chemotherapy, Pat vowed to not let the cancer control his life. He continued to work in full capacity, slotting in chemo treatments as his schedule allowed. Because the first rounds of treatment did not force the cancer into remission, Pat received a stem cell transplant of 4.9 million of his own stem cells in February, 2012. Although this type of treatment requires a three-week hospital recovery, Pat was out in ten days to participate as Orlando hosted the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend. Pat recently learned that the stem cell transplant has forced his cancer into remission, that his prognosis for survival is extremely positive and that his goal to live to 100 is still very much attainable.
Pat's positive attitude and optimism may be the reason he has reacted so well to the cancer treatments. He decided early on to use his public battle as a platform to encourage and inspire others. Instead of asking, "Why me?" Pat thought, "Why not me?" Pat has heard from hundreds of people touched by cancer. He answers each and every email and phone call, encouraging patients to stay positive and keep battling the disease. Whether he is speaking to doctors and nurses at a national convention or to cancer patients at treatment or in a local support group, Pat has influenced thousands of lives and inspired others to continue dream and to achieve.
Today, with a new form of chemotherapy and his oral medications, Pat is doing well. He is keeping his medical appointments and doing everything his doctors tell him to. He is able to exercise, but he isn’t running anymore marathons. The doctors told him to live his life. Pat is doing just that. He is still writing more books, speaking, and enjoying his family.
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