Finding inspiration in the gift that keeps on giving

Through life we come across certain people who we connect with effortlessly, understand completely and admire beyond measure. One of those people for me is my cousin Bill Coon. I’ve mentioned Bill in previous articles—and anyone who knows me is aware of his incredible back story. Bill was the eighth newborn transplant in the United States and the fourth in the Midwest. He received a second heart transplant, along with a kidney transplant at age 20 in October 2009. Bill has always done a remarkable job of honoring the life of his donors and has made it his life’s mission to educate, inform and inspire others about the importance of organ donation.

Today is Bill’s 28th birthday. It just so happens he was born during OrganBill Coon Green Shirt 3-4 Body Donation Awareness month. Thanks to the unselfish hearts of complete strangers, my cousin, who is like a brother to me, is with us today.

“By being a donor, you don’t just save a life, you change a life forever and those lives go on to positively impact hundreds if not thousands of others for years to come. At the center of all that positivity is your single, selfless act of generosity,” said Bill.

Bill is a professional motivational speaker who travels across the country sharing his story. This year he’s embarking on a new journey—focusing all his efforts and energy on meeting with medical groups, nonprofits and corporations. There’s one audience in particular he’s targeting—and that’s students through something he calls “Your Legacy Tour.” 17021626_1325978024107066_8995955406101686679_n

“I realized I could do something unique. In recent years I have been asked by high schools in the Midwest to speak to their students about leadership, adversity, handling cyber-bullies and many other topics. I figured while I was traveling, I could very easily bring those same messages to students in different parts of the country. That’s essentially how Your Legacy Tour was created,” said Bill.

Here’s how the tour works—Bill is looking for 12 schools, ideally high schools, in select states. In his presentation, Bill uses his unique life story of overcoming extreme adversity to teach students the importance of leaving behind a lasting, positive legacy in high school. Bill achieves this through his humorous and conversational style that provides students with stories and lessons, which encourage them to care for one another, develop the characteristics of a leader, and strengthen the student body through acts of kindness. Click here to submit your school’s information and to learn more. Bill will provide the selected schools with a 60-minute presentation. There’s no catch—he just needs a large space, a working microphone, a projector and a laptop with PowerPoint. The 12 schools will be selected by June 30.

photo by J Elizabeth Photography www.jelizabethphotos.comAs someone who suffers from Crohn’s disease, words cannot begin to explain how Bill’s outlook on life, advice and perspective has pushed me to see the sunshine and rainbows even on the stormiest days. Through life—we all face challenges that put our strength and will to the test. Find “your Bill” and I promise it will help you get through whatever isn’t going your way.

Click here to learn more about organ donation.



One thought on “Finding inspiration in the gift that keeps on giving

  1. Sherry Gantwerker says:

    You’ve always been an inspiration! I’ve prayed for you since the day you were born. Your parents & the Gianaras family are so loving and I feel lucky to have known them. G-d bless you all. Sherry Gantwerker


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