Saturday, March 17, 2012

The story behind STOP THE BLEEDING!

Pacing in my bedroom practicing rally speeches before my beleaguered team took the court for the second half against Heavy Favorites, it never crept into my mind that I would one day share NYC stages with Broadway legends or play poker internationally against some of the most successful players to have ever lived.

Then again, I was twelve & speaking to a mirror. What did I know?

Life has been funny that way. Always intense, always "all-in," yet somehow ever-changing.

Such was the case again last April when online poker was banned from the U.S. I'd given up the actor life to pursue this lucrative, competitive & mentally-perplexing game. It invigorated me & satisfied the athletic competitor born into a hemophiliac's body. And once given platforms to blog about my poker experiences, the artistic instincts in me were satisfied as well.

Life was good. And then it changed. Now what?

I spent most of last summer transitioning out of that life and into a more...let's call it "scheduled" existence. But I didn't have a clue big-picture wise. Poker was taken away. The acting life I'd left behind. Basketball coaching was no longer realistic. All I seemed to have were vacancies.

Then around August of last year, I began spitballing creative ideas to industry professionals of the BD community (does anyone abbreviate "bleeding disorders" this way? 'Cuz I'm thinking we could use some abbreviations here & there and "hemo" is the best we got thus far. Let's get on this people!). There was interest, but not involvement. Something creatives run into a lot of is enthusiastic passiveness; people that express interest & may even believe in a project's value, but aren't ultimately intending to assist in it's production. A frustrating obstacle in collaborative endeavors, but one that's unfortunately common and perhaps even necessary.

All right, nice try. I figured that was that. Another dart thrown against a metal board. But there was one project I'd proposed that I just couldn't shake. But I couldn't possibly develop this all by myself. Where would I get my team? How could I generate a platform? Where the #$@& are we gonna find funding!? Despite all this, STOP THE BLEEDING! adhered to me the way certain ideas do from time-to-time; these outlandish undertakings that strike something so deeply in me that my brain basically goes, "Well this might be a complete disaster, but what the hell!?"

You get the idea.

So when STOP THE BLEEDING! refused to leave my consciousness, I sat myself down and asked why. I'd come up with it because I want to merge my backgrounds - an actor with severe hemophilia. And honestly, I was desperate for something to do! I needed to spark a new passionate pursuit. This option seemed viable, but it had failed to attract investment which made me doubt it's worth. Time to pick up and go again. But the damn thing wouldn't let me get on with it. Why?

Eventually, it hit me. Because "this damn thing" is actually quite important. In a self-absorbed drive to find my next path, I neglected to register just how meaningful something like this could be. Now on one level, I was aware of it. It was the absence of humor & entertainment in the BD community (yeah, I'm going for it, BDers!) that sparked the idea: I can fill in this blank! But my laser-focus on creating proposals & getting a financial backer had been so sharp that I didn't stop to think about just how great an impact STOP THE BLEEDING! could have. In a market (if you will) glutted by heartfelt & informative but often redundant content, there was a severe lack in entertainment. In fun. In laughing. In remembering life's a silly way to live, bleeds and all! This project could do that. And in this digitally mad time, maybe it could help centralize people that would otherwise prefer the perimeters. Maybe it could give BDers an image of themselves that didn't involve more needles & bruises with stringed instruments playing in the background. Maybe it could engage guys like my late brother & lead to their making smarter decisions about their healthcare. Then again, maybe not, but hey, I've had egg on my face before. It washes off.

And so, now we sit with the April 8th fundraising deadline rapidly approaching. We're still $8,000 away from our modest (yes, believe it or not, modest) goal. I'd be lying to say I'm not nervous about reaching our mark. But to quote Ambrose Redmoon, I believe that "courage is not the absence of fear but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear," and that failure is a necessary companion in the life of a successful person. So if I fail, I fail. But until then, I'll carry the flag and wave it high for a project I believe deserves attention, even if a little egg drips onto my shirt in the meantime.

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