The Live For Others Foundation And The Inspirational Story Of Tim Vorenkamp

The Live For Others Foundation And The Inspirational Story Of Tim Vorenkamp

Life is a journey and despite battling cancer at a very young age, Tim Vorenkamp found his purpose in life by living for others.

As I sophomore in high school, I remember looking around the classroom and observing the tiny amount of students I would be spending the rest of the year learning geometry with. Being more of a serious student who also constantly craved conversation, I found instant relief in the discovery that the two boys who sat behind me also enjoyed a good joke between the breaks in our oh-so-intelligent and serious teacher's lessons. The best part about these two boys were that they too were serious about acing every assignment and test we received.

Except one of the boys was especially impressive. He always had a smile on his face and his presence exuded respect, maturity, and optimism. Little did I know that he had been battling cancer for years.

Tim Vorenkamp, an alumnus of JSerra Catholic High School and a sophomore at the University of California at Berkeley was diagnosed with cancer at age 13 while he was playing for the USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championship division. He had noticed a lump growing on his leg. He was soon diagnosed with a very rare form of cancer called Synovial Cell Sarcoma. Only 500 people are diagnosed with it annually. Despite receiving the news that it was already in stage three, Vorenkamp recalls smiling because he knew it at least wasn't in stage four.

In a recent article by the Orange County Register about Vorenkamp states, "He spoke about his past goals – continuing to compete for the USA Volleyball junior national program, getting a major college scholarship, maybe making the U.S. Olympic team and having a pro career, plus a college education and a career in business or sports.

Then he spoke of his new goals.

'My first goal was to get recruited to a top five school and the Olympic team,' he said. 'Then it was just to get back on the court.'

'Now, it’s to turn 80.'"

On January 10, 2016, Tim passed away at age 18. A few months previous, he started a non-profit foundation called the Live For Others Foundation. This foundation was created to raise awareness of Synovial Cell Sarcoma as well as fund further research on finding the cure.

The most inspiring part about Tim Vorenkamp was his attitude. He celebrated all of life's journeys and considered this to just be one of them. He cherished everyday and every moment. Vorenkamp states that in finding the journeys in his life, he discovered that it is "just to be with the people I love and enjoy every single moment of it. Living for others is kind of the most important thing in my life."

For Tim, his passing is just a new journey with Jesus.

Support Tim Vorenkamp and his family's mission in helping find the cure for so many others by donating to the Live For Others Foundation and raising awareness about this form of cancer and the necessary research.

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The Undesignated "Designated" Smoking Spots On A Smoke And Tobacco Free Campus Have A Culture Of Their Own

Smoking on campus provides a different meaning than squeezing in a smoke break.

The University of South Florida declared a tobacco and smoke-free campus on January 4th, 2016 - about two years ago. As many of Bulls know, that is not exactly the case or in which some of us deviate from or prove ignorant to these declarations that are aimed to encourage the health and the wellbeing of the students and faculty of USF.

Though I am very proud of my school to take this initiative and promote the awareness or the need to encourage the adoption of healthy habits, there seems to be a division between that of the “smokers” and the “nonsmokers.”

Despite my rare engagement with cigarettes, my viewpoint has not drastically changed from the time before I had my first cigarette - cigarettes are not the best for you and it would most likely benefit you in the long run to trash the habit altogether. However, I have observed the culture that is derived from the habit. Smoking on campus provides a different meaning than squeezing in a smoke break.

For some people smoking cigarettes is a form of a stress free act and could curve certain feelings like that of depression and anxiety. Others do it socially. Whatever the reason it may be, I am grateful for these spots. I rather enjoy watching people laugh and enjoy themselves. Yes, there is a myriad of other things to get that relief, but I rather there be more smoke breaks than stories of trips to the hospitals. I rather there be coffee breath cigarette talks amongst friendships than surrounding yourself with four cold walls of confinement.

There are cultures that are bursting along the side of USF’s library, on the steps outside of the Social Science building, and benches underneath whistling trees. It is not particularly easy to make new friends or come to a new place entirely and building yourself from what it seems to be the beginning.

USF is a stained glass window of cultures and human beings making this campus a home away from home. Leaving what they know best to pursue an education they believe in. These spots allow for sparks of conversations among people of different backgrounds that have something in common.

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How To Find Success In Failure

Successfully failing starts with finding failure successful.

None of us want to admit it, but let’s be real. We all fail at some point in our lives. We’re all introduced to failure when we’re trying to take our first steps, and it haunts us for the rest of our lives. We don’t want to fail, but it’s part of life. Our parents have failed, our grandparents have failed, our friends have failed, everyone has come face-to-face with failure more than once. It’s what you do after those failures that provide you with success. And let me tell you, it’s not easy, but there are ways to find and create success for yourself from your failures.

Ask “Why?”

If you get rejected from say, a job or a university, don’t just take the L. Find it within you to reach out and ask why you were rejected. Never ask “Why not me?” Unless you have a great answer if they ask "Why you?" that you didn't give them before. You won’t learn anything about yourself if you hide away your rejection letter or email and ignore it. You need to provide yourself with closure and figure out why you weren’t accepted to or wanted for said school or position.

Learn from each failure.

You know the saying “you learn something new every day”? Well, it’s true, even if it’s learning something new about yourself. If you fail or make a mistake and you don’t learn from it, you’re going to make that mistake again. Once you’ve figured out why you failed, figure out ways to fix that failure and achieve your next goal. Don’t make the same mistakes over and over again because you can’t take criticism.

Do not degrade yourself.

Just because you failed, does not mean you should beat yourself up about it. Telling yourself you’re a failure will only cause you to have lower self-esteem come to the next opportunity. Tell yourself “I can do this” instead of “I can’t do this” because you are your own best friend and your own worst enemy. You have to keep yourself motivated to succeed, no one’s going to do it for you.

If it’s meant to be it will be.

Cliche I know, but really, if something is truly meant to happen in your life it will. If you went into that interview and completely made a fool of yourself because you forgot to do some research on the company, did you really want to work there? You shouldn’t want to be in a situation because it’s convenient for you, you should be in a situation because you’re meant to be in that situation.

Just because you failed does not mean that you’re doomed to being a full-time failure, and just because you succeed doesn’t mean that you don’t have room to grow. We’re all trying to avoid failure, but why not embrace it? There is one thing that requires failure to find success and that one thing is life.

You are going to fail, there is no doubt about it. It’s what you take and learn from that failure that makes you successful. Don’t take failure with a grain of salt because it’s, and I exaggerate this, it is not the end of the world. Just take it as it is and move on, everything will fall into place and if it doesn’t then keep working for whatever it is that you want.

Don’t give up because of a few bumps in the road.

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