What I Learned About Leaving A Legacy | Jamie Valvano | TEDxCaryWomen


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In this captivating talk, Jamie Valvano, daughter of legendary basketball coach, Jim Valvano, shares her ideas on why embracing your own legacy is imperative, and how everyone has the power to be extraordinary. Jamie uses her voice as a cancer advocate, teacher, and writer always pushing others to create and embrace their personal vision. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx <br> <h3>Auto Generated Captions</h3>

I thought I had lost everything and so I
set up camp in a crowded land called
victim ville perhaps you’ve heard of it
and I wasn’t just visiting I had
completely unpacked and planned to stay
a while I lived beside the broken the
mistreated the depressed now before you
go running for the nearest exits we
blocked the doors so you might as well
get comfortable here and ask yourself if
you’ve ever experienced something
perhaps you’re facing something right
now and that’s okay oftentimes we get
stuck in those places of despair because
we as humans seek to connect with
someone who has gone through our same
kind of suffering after about a decade
and victim Ville whew my neighbors were
really starting to bum me out and I was
no ray of sunshine either and so I
started to seek out life-giving people
and experiences I drew inspiration from
stories of over comers from yesterday
and today like Olympic torch bearers
these individuals had run ahead and they
had provided a path of hope and light
for us all to follow one man stood above
the rest he had left a detailed game
plan for how to triumph over adversity
for a time I had rejected his plan but
eventually embracing his lasting legacy
would enable me to discover my own
sports was in my heroes DNA teams and
players practices and games wins and
losses at the age of 13 he participated
in his very first organized team sport
and he knew this is what I’m gonna do
for the rest of my life
I want to be a basketball coach while
attending a summer camp one year he
heard the words that forever changed him
there was a motivational speaker by the
name of Reverend Bob Richards and he
ignited a flame of passion inside this
young man that changed him Richards
uttered God must have loved ordinary
people because he made so many of us and
yet every day and every walk of life
ordinary people accomplish the
extraordinary at the age of 17 he took
out a plane index card and he wrote down
everything he wanted to accomplish in
his professional career he wanted to
play basketball in high school go on to
play basketball in college he wanted to
become an assistant coach a head
basketball coach he wanted to win a big
game in Madison Square Garden being from
New York and then finally he wanted to
cut down the nets after winning a
national championship this ordinary
young man would grow up to become my
father Jim Valvano and he would indeed
live an extraordinary existence at the
age of 34
the year was 1980 I don’t know if you
remember that time well my dad could
take out his index card and he could
check off every single one of those bold
audacious visions been there done that
except for winning the elusive national
championship and so he enthusiastically
accepted the head men’s basketball
coaching position at North Carolina
State University now I was shocked
when my dad told our family that we were
moving to a place called scary North
never heard of it everybody I knew and
was related to lived in New York I was
led to believe it was illegal to leave
the state well upon our arrival to the
South immediately it became apparent
that my dad was gonna garner attention
wherever he went at his very first press
conference he proved I not only can talk
X’s nose but he also was a born
entertainer and he could leave a crowd
roaring with laughter I have to tell ya
I got to be truthful here I had never
heard of the religion known as ACC
basketball I was completely unprepared I
didn’t know about the historic rivalries
in this area at all what is a Tar Heel a
Wolfpack a Blue Devil completely
clueless and then I would go to these
things called basketball games kind of
like friendly competitions that you guys
have here and I was horrified there oh
my goodness
grown men and women standing up faces
read with perspiration and emotion veins
bulging in their neck and they would be
hurling insults and obscenities at my
dad and his players this was normal
behavior because nobody was shocked I
was to them he was coach B and that was
their team but to me he was my dad I
never could understand or participate in
the intensity of athletics that engulfed
my family for so many years until that
magical unforgettable moment when it all
seemed to make sense I was in the arena
in Albuquerque New Mexico on April 4th
1983 when with two seconds left on the
clock Lorenzo Charles dumped the
basketball at NC State became the number
one team in the country do you remember
this my dad lost his mind then that
image of him cutting down the nets and
waving it victoriously over his head it
would come to symbolize to so many that
anything is possible and with the sound
of a leather ball going through an iron
hoop my dad could take out his net hard
and check off that final bold audacious
vision ten years after winning the
national championship a stranger in a
white lab coat informed my Superman that
he had met his kryptonite adenocarcinoma
would be his toughest opponent my dad at
the age of 46 was diagnosed with
terminal cancer and given one year to
live almost immediately he took out
another index card and he wrote down one
final bold audacious vision find a cure
for cancer now I knew our time was
limited and so I left college NC State
and I moved home and I attended medical
appointments with my dad and I traveled
all around the country to basketball
games as he worked as a sports
how did me what just wanted to go home
and deal with this in private
surrounded by loving friends and family
but my dad felt compelled to share this
painful journey with the public I was
seated next to him at the inaugural
kind of the Academy Awards of sports if
you will when he received the Arthur
Ashe Courage Award without any
preparation or no cards or a
teleprompter he took
the stage and he gave the speech he was
born to deliver I need your help
we need money for research it may not
save my life it may save my children’s
lives it may save someone you love we
are starting the Jimmy V foundation for
cancer research and its motto is don’t
give up don’t ever give up
a short time after that my dad would
pass away on April 28 1993 I thought
that was gonna be the worst thing that
ever happened in my life but I was wrong
33 years into the future I was sitting
in bed one night and at the age of 33 13
years into the future
I discovered a lump in my right breast
after a multitude of tests another
stranger in a white lab coat informed me
that I not only had breast cancer but I
had inherited a genetic mutation the
Branka 2 gene which made me more
susceptible to many forms of the disease
my dad had unknowingly carried this gene
and passed it on to his daughter my
doctors were hopeful but I wasn’t as
news of my diagnosis spread throughout
our close-knit community well intended
and loving people would come up to me
and they would scream don’t give up
don’t ever give up and I would want to
punch them in the face
you see they had me confused with my dad
but I’m not a fighter I lost my hair my
womanly figure I lost my health my
ability to be a wife and mother and
finally came the moment I never saw
the moment I gave up sitting in the
kitchen holding my bald head in my hands
I mentally decided to throw in the towel
I was done and it was if my dad was
sitting at the table next to me he
whispered in my ear we’re starting the V
foundation for cancer research it may
not save my life it may save my
children’s lives it may save someone you
I had heard those words a million times
I could recite that speech to you but I
had never absorbed the full meaning
instantly those prophetic words changed
everything as I realized I was the
someone my dad loved he’d been talking
about me I had watched my dad the last
ten months of his life pack
every day with an overabundance of love
and passion and humor my doctors were
telling me I could survive and yet I was
willing to give up because the battle
was just too difficult my sisters and my
mom and my family and close friends
watched as I gave in to the despair my
sweet sweet five-year-old son in an
effort to lift my spirits drew me a
picture amazed he presented it to me
with the help of my other sister he
wrote on the bottom happy love mom and I
didn’t know how to look in his precious
little face and tell him that she was
long gone and I didn’t know if we were
going to be able to get her back you see
where once a vibrant young woman had
stood now I looked in the mirror and all
I saw
with hollow eyes void of any emotion and
so I took that picture I took happy love
mom and I taped her to the mirror where
my face would have been and I looked at
her every single day well thought popped
into my head one day what if I adopted
my dad’s game plan and I discovered my
extraordinary life well that thought
sent me searching for an index card
I couldn’t copy my dad and put anything
about sports cuz I can’t dribble a
basketball walk at the same time it’s
big disappointment to the family so I
had to dig deeper and I realized that my
greatest fear was leaving my children
motherless and so with shaking hands I
wrote down on that note card that I was
gonna survive 13 years and see my son
graduate from high school I folded that
note card I took hold of my dad’s
imaginary hand and I decided together we
were gonna rewrite my story my ending
was gonna be different
On June 2nd 2018 I was invited to speak
to my son’s graduating class and their
families I just was so overcome with
emotion I blacked out I don’t even know
what I said it was probably a complete
disaster but you see this was my cutting
down the moment next moment this was
what I had been dreaming about I finally
knew what my dad felt like in 1983 and I
wanted to leap from the stage and jump
on the back of some people in the
audience and high-five I knew that was
inappropriate so I just stood there and
I breathed in the miracle my dad had
more of an impact on just his daughter
he left a lasting extraordinary legacy
and not for anything that he did on the
hardwoods or any titles that he won or
awards but because of how he lived every
single moment
an early age he was able to identify his
bold audacious visions that would
breathe life into his existence he used
his talents and his gifts to inspire
other people and he refused to allow the
ever-changing circumstances of this
world to change his divine path quite
simply he never gave up we’re all just
ordinary people and yet everyone has the
same opportunity to create extraordinary
lasting legacies as I now walk in my
dad’s footsteps I leave a path for other
people to follow and so do you we might
never know the depth and the scope of
the legacies that we leave behind but I
want to ask you a few questions today to
get you thinking about how you’re living
today have you identified your bold
audacious cutting down the nets moments
can you close your eyes and see those
victories are you living in victim ville
or another place of despair surround
yourself with overcomers that push you
along your divine path and finally are
you a torch bearer lighting the way for
others to follow it’s not too late to
ignite your flame I stand before you
today as a 14 year cancer survivor and
and indeed a happy love mom I’m alive
because I accepted the invitation to
walk and another man’s footsteps
to follow his legacy I will be forever
grateful for the path that he created
and I can proudly stand before you
without any hesitation for the first
time in my life and publicly say I am my
father’s daughter and it’s my turn to
pick up the torch and walk forward to
create my own lasting extraordinary
legacy will you come with me

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