Students of the Year Messages

Steve podiumLast week I had the honor of being the mission speaker at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Students of the Year Grand Finale in Philadelphia. It was an amazing event raising over $200k in the fight against blood cancers. Fox 29 and Penn Medicine’s Dr. Mike Cirigliano was the evening’s emcee.

My talk touched on a number of personal connections, experiences, and impacts  with blood cancer and included the following key insights that I wanted the students to walk away thinking about:

PASSION – Find something that you are passionate about, give 100% to it, and savagely devour it.

HUMILITY – You can be proud but still humble if you just focus your energy on the size of your footprint and not the sound of your footsteps.

KINDNESS – Yea, it really does matter. It’s easy. It costs nothing and it can change two lives at a minimum. Yours and the recipient of your kindness. And sometimes the smallest acts can have the biggest impacts.

CHOICE – AHHHH yes. CHOICE. The one thing that every single person has that can create, define, or destroy depending on how you use it. Use it wisely.

And lastly – LIVE BOLDLY. ALWAYS sign up for tough and scary things in life because they better prepare you for the toughand scary things that WILL come your way that you DIDN’T sign up for.

Steve with Dr Mike

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Who’s Left

As some of you may be aware, on March 4th, my brother in law Lefty Snyder suffered a brain aneurysm that ruptured three times, requiring three emergency surgical procedures. He remains in Bryn Mawr hospital’s ICU. He’s in and out of pain and in and out of sedation but is miraculously making ever so small steps towards recovery. This will be a long haul but I feel optimistic that he is wired to fight the good fight. I can see it in his eyes and I can feel it in his grip.

But today, I feel the need to talk about Lefty the man, not David Snyder the patient in bed 5.

I have had the honor of calling Lefty a brother in law for almost 32 years. But from here on out, we will lose the term “in law” in describing our relationship. In reality, Lefty, and all of his siblings, have always made me feel like a blood member of the family when I married Mary Grace and not an in law connected by a marital dotted line.

Prior to becoming his brother, I was well aware of who Lefty was through our mutual baseball connections and having both grown up in Ardmore. In fact, my house on Malvern Road had a basketball court and was pretty much a magnet for the neighborhood to gather. And I have sharp recall of neighborhood friends like Paul, Woody, Reds, Gal, (and Gal) spending many hours in my driveway. Given Lefty’s friendship with all of these guys, there is little doubt that he was there as well. That means I’ve crossed paths with Lefty since about age 10 ish.

As we got a little older, our baseball paths started to cross. Lefty is two years older than I and when you’re a kid playing baseball that puts him in the “big kid” category. We never actually played on the same team. But we played on cross town rival teams Ardwood & St. Denis in cadet ball and then later both played Ardmore Manor American Legion but just missed being teammates by a season. Ardmore was a baseball mecca loaded with some amazing talent. And Lefty was right at home. He, along with his teammates were fun to watch. And there were some legendary battles between St. Denis and Ardmore Manor every 4th of July.

When I first met Lefty’s sister Mary Grace at a five star upscale fine dining & drinking establishment beautifully nestled between Orsini’s and Boulevard TV repair on Haverford Road, it took a few conversations of her referencing her brother “David” for me to realize that she was referring to LEFTY Snyder. And like many people I had my “WAIT, YOU’RE LEFTY SNYDER’S SISTER???” Moment. Which she has obviously heard her entire life.

I was actually more concerned about winning Lefty over than I was their parents. I felt pretty good about meeting the parents. I knew how to engage and carry on a respectful conversation while selling the fact that I’m a good guy who is worthy of dating their daughter. Sure we needed to get past my earring and the fact that I was raised Presbyterian and not Catholic but after that I was home free. But getting big brother approval seemed much scarier.

Big brothers look after little sisters. So when Mary Grace and I went out on our first real date, guess who accompanied us? – None other than Lefty.

But it didn’t take very long before Lefty and I formed a bond and he realized he could trust me with his little sister and stop going out with us. It also didn’t take long for us to realize how much fun we all had when he WAS around.

While baseball and the neighborhood was one of the first connections I made with Lefty, a music connection was close behind. Not to imply that I can play a note of anything on anything… but my in depth music geek factor is greater than average and Lefty shared a similar passion for wanting to know who played what on who’s album which was recorded when and where. In fact I think listening to Money for Nothing by Dire Straits while Lefty and I drove to Avalon to see Mary Grace may have been our first music connection. The album? Fittingly it was Brothers in Arms.

Every once in a while, the world blesses us with someone who is so special that there aren’t enough adjectives to describe them. – That’s Lefty.

Everyone once in a while we are blessed with someone whose heart is so full of love and compassion that he will do anything for anybody at a moment’s notice whether he knows you or not – That too is Lefty.

Don’t stop believing

Don’t stop praying

Don’t stop Living Like Lefty


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Diagnosis Anniversary

steveriver2/24/2006. It’s been 12 years since I was initially diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. That’s 4,383 days. I’ll admit there have been a few of those days where all of the emotions associated with cancer may have gotten the better of me and I felt like throwing something in the Schuylkill River. But the majority of those days have been lived positively, relentlessly, and triumphantly. I’ve been blessed with an amazingly supportive family and crew. It takes a village. A strong, positive, united village. And a little Merlot. Below are a few excerpts from my family from my book Relentless Mettle; My Cancer, My Rules.

“My dad can make any crappy situation okay, but this wasn’t just a crappy situation. News that seemed like a mountain to me, was merely a bump in the road for him. I admired him for that. The way he reacted to his cancer diagnosis was nothing short of inspirational and maybe even a little crazy.”

“This was unfamiliar territory to us, and I was just a kid trying to read my parents the best I could to help me decide how I felt about the situation. My dad was eerily calm, my mom was supportive. Maybe it was because he always promised me he would live to be 200 years old.”

steveoverhead“We next told Steve’s Sister Chris, who immediately stopped over with a bottle of Merlot. Then we talked to Steve’s mom, as well as my parents and then had a meeting with my siblings. I am the last of 7  children. My brothers and sisters decided to have a combination birthday and cancer fighting party, as Steve’s chemo was to start the next day. It was a great day of feeling united, supporting Steve and resolving to fight this together.”

I’m grateful for my village.

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Do it Quietly & Humbly

What I’m about to say might ruffle a few feathers but I’m going to say it anyway. I think I need to say it to clear my head. Hell someone needs to say it. I don’t like to use the word hate often so let me just say that I very much dislike how social media has become a public bulletin board for the weekend warrior and age group triathletes/athletes to humblebrag about themselves.

I am so tired of the posts about “sufferfests” and “paincaves”  with details about how far or fast you swam, biked, or ran…. or how much weight you threw around or how early in the morning you did all of the above. If you are lucky enough to be able to spend a day doing what you love, I would hardly call that a “sufferfest”. And if that is your definition of suffering, you need more adversity in your life.

Posts that begin with “well it wasn’t my best race but….”, or “another (fill in the blank) is in the books, or “15 miles on the dreadmill…. check” are nothing more than an attempt to fish for accolades and comments to boost your egos. You know it, and everyone reading knows it. I know it will never happen because I feel outnumbered, but can we just get back to a more humble existence that isn’t so “self” motivated and all about I, me, and mine?

Sure, I love to post pics of racing and training. But most often they are the efforts or accomplishments of others. Or a post about some unique and amazing experience that happened during an event. Or information about the charity behind the event. Or, admittedly, the occasional obligatory product sponsor post. Those motives are much different.

How did people survive in the days before social media when you just raced and trained because you loved to race and train? And bought a finisher photo for a scrap book or frame. Now it feels like it’s more about the image, presentation, and perception than the accomplishment itself. By being self absorbed with posting just the right workout pic, you’re missing the boat. Or maybe you’re in the boat but you can’t be enjoying the ride.

Be awesome but for God’s sake be humble. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves. You don’t need to buy a billboard to announce to the world that you are a real athlete. The world will notice. I promise. Just be.

Rant over. I feel better. Thank you for reading. Apologies to those I may have ticked off.

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25 Random Acts of Kindness

25 Random Act of Kindness:

1. Give a genuine compliment
2. Choose forgiveness
3. Grab lunch with a new coworker
4. Give up your seat on public transportation
5. Treat a friend to coffee
6. Lend an ear to someone who needs it
7. Pay for a stranger’s parking
8. Visit an elderly relative
9. Donate to a non-profit
10. Send a thank-you note
11. Hold the door for someone
12. Leave a quarter in a laundromat
13. Send a care package
14. Ask a friend about their day
15. Share an umbrella
16. Offer words of encouragement to someone who needs them
17. Support a local business
18. Send a friend or relative a “thinking of you” card
19. Leave a generous tip
20. Call a loved one to check in
21. Let a stranger cut you in line or on the road
22. Host or organize a gathering for your community
23. Offer to take a task off of a coworker’s plate
24. Share a funny or uplifting video
25. Cook a meal for a friend

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Bendeka & Teva Pharma Video

Here is the link to an info piece I did a while ago for one of my treatment drugs. The manufacturer, Teva Pharmaceuticals, has been using this video internally for a while, now it’s available for broader public consumption on their website.

Click to view.

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Student of the Year Grand Finale Gala Mission Speaker

I’m both honored and excited to have been asked to speak at this year’s Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Student of the Year Grand Finale Gala. Many of you know my story and my ties to this great organization. Looking forward to a terrific evening.

SoY Finale

Details HERE

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Two Ways to Help Save Lives

Just sending a reminder to folks that you have two ways to help me in the fight against blood cancers. I’m currently registered for two different events, both of which benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. And both of which help save and improve the lives of people living with these cancers. Any support of any amount to either effort would be greatly appreciated. Event links are as follows:

Broad Street 10 Miler –

Big Climb Philly

Thanks very much for your continued support.

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Broad Street 10 Miler

steve run chemoSo….. here’s the deal. I decided to jump into the Broad Street 10 Miler with Team in Training and could use your help. This year marks 12 years living with chronic lymphocytic leukemia and 12 years working with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society on multiple campaigns. I figured it was time to jump into another event in support of blood cancers like my own while continuing to coach the TNT triathlon team. I know there are many worthy causes out there but I’m asking that you might consider a modest donation to this one. Thanks in advance and thanks for reading.

CLICK HERE for my fundraising website.

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HOKA ONE Shoe Review

hoka-one-one-clifton-4-men-s-running-trainers-in-black-black-a443-600I decided to make the switch to HOKA brand running shoes a few months ago. I wasn’t disappointed with my previous shoe brand, but I was coming off of torn meniscus surgery and wanted to make a switch to a softer and more cushioned ride. And that’s exactly what I got with HOKA. I opted for the HOKA ONE Clifton and admittedly, this transition took a little bit of getting used too. The shoe had a much thicker sole than I had been used to. But in an effort to get back on the road post-surgery as quickly as possible, and hopefully help prevent future injuries, thicker and more cushioned is exactly what I needed. I was immediately impressed with the comfort and fit of the HOKA ONE. I was equally impressed that although HOKA had designed an extremely well cushioned product, they did so without the use of heavy, rigid materials. They added durable cushion without compromising performance. The shoe is also designed to create a “rocker” effect for your feet which propel you forward as you complete your gait and foot strike. In short, I’ve found a comfortable shoe that cushions and protects that is performance focused and competitively priced. That’s a win all the way around. Well worth a look in my opinion. Check them out at

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