Postscript: Inspiring Randy Pausch lives to fulfills dream of playing with NFL team, updated

I wrote earlier about Randy Pausch, dying of cancer, who gave an inspirational and wonderful ‘last lecture’ at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) where he taught. See blog post here.

He mentioned that the ONE dream that he hadn’t fulfilled was playing professional football, asserting that he had nonetheless learned many lessons from his football coach in the chasing of that dream. Now Randy has ‘played’ professional football, as he practiced recently with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He promised them that if they made it into the Super Bowl he’d still be alive to see it. [Randy fulfilled his end of the bargain; the Steelers however didn’t make it into the Super Bowl XLII which saw the scrappy NY Giants buck the heavily favorite New England Patriots, a thrilling game but one that left Pats fans wincing in the final seconds where the title miraculously slid from their certain grasp; Eli Manning eluded an all-but-certain sack and David Tyree made a how-did-he-do-it catch..]

See notable quotes from Randy here.  See Randy’s legacy for me in life lessons.

Read story “Dying Professor Tackles Final Dream” here.

Note: Randy Pausch is still alive but reports complications that required him to go back into the hospital on March 8, 2008. The great news is that he has beaten the 3-6 months that doctors gave him to live back on August 15, 2007; the bad news is that his body has hard a hard time tolerating the chemotherapy. Bad news: His pancreatic cancer has metastasized to his spleen and liver; doctors say he has a 100% chance of dying, it is just a question of when. Most doctors think he will be dead by the end of 2008. And the news as of July 24, 2008 is that the cancer is progressing as posted on Randy’s website. “A biopsy last week revealed that the cancer has progressed further than we had thought from recent PET scans. Since last week, Randy has also taken a step down and is much sicker than he had been. He’s now enrolled in hospice. He’s no longer able to post here so I’m a friend posting on his behalf because we know what many folks are watching this space for updates.”

He testified back in March 2008 in front of Congress on pancreatic cancer. Updates on Randy Pausch’s condition can be found here and his home page is here (which also has a video of him testifying before Congress on March 13, 2008). [Pausch notes that no progress has been made on pancreatic cancer research in the last 30 years and there is now a far better chance of living with AIDS than pancreatic cancer. His pancreatic cancer has metastasized to spleen and liver; doctors say he has a 100% chance of dying, it is just a question of when. Most doctors think he will be dead by end of the year. Randy notes that pancreatic cancer is a disease which strikes innocent victims: he exercised, ate right, didn’t smoke, but still contracted this disease. Randy Pausch thinks we can protect ourselves from this disease but not without dramatically increased funding for research. The disease is genetic and he goes to sleep at night fearing whether kids (ages 2-9) have this genetic marker although he hopes with dramatically increased funding for pancreatic cancer research that by the time any of his kids get this disease (which usually strikes later in life), doctors will know how to cure it through genetic treatment.]

Update: Randy’s book The Last Lecture (Hyperion Press) has now been released (April 8, 2008), co-written with WSJ reporter Jeff Zaslow. See Randy’s video about the book and preview of interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News special about the book (airing April 10, 2008).

6 responses to “Postscript: Inspiring Randy Pausch lives to fulfills dream of playing with NFL team, updated

  1. Some lessons from Randy Pausch’s last lecture that especially moved me:

    1. Brick walls are there for a reason: they let us prove how badly we want things.
    2. Experience is what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.
    3. Never lose the child-like wonder.
    4. If we do something which is pioneering, we will get arrows in the back. But at the end of the day, a whole lot of people will have a whole lot of fun.
    5. Be good at something; it makes you valuable.
    6. If you live your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, and the dreams will come to you.

    Check out the tribute quiz on the lecture at : you can add your own questions at the end of the quiz.

  2. Hi
    I saw Randy on Television back in November. I thought then he had only 3 -4 months to live. I would like to know how he is doing, and if he is still alive.
    I was very impressed with what he had to say, when I saw him on tv.
    Thanks Ruth Clark

  3. Premanjali Gupta


  4. Please let us know what we can do and may everyone be inspired as Randy inspired us.

    God bless…just praying for you and your lovely family.

  5. Pancreatice/liver cancer can be beat. My husband in April, 2003 was diagnosed with Pancreatic/colon/liver cancer and told to get his affairs in order and would be dead by October, 2003beat the odds and 4 years later is still alive today without taking any medication and/or having gone through chemo or radiation,whatsoever. Thinking positive and being positive and keeping your thought pattern in that frame of mind by reframing can help heal you. The way Randy Pausch is thinking has gotten him past the original death sentence the doctors gave him. If he continues, he too will beat the odds. Chemo and radiation, however, just speed up the process of dying. Ask any doctor if they would do chemotherapy and 98 percent would say, NO WAY!

  6. I gave my husband your book for Father’s Day. I just picked it up and couldn’t put it down. I just realized that there are some lessons that my kids should have before I die. Since I don’t know when that will be, I thought I ought to start teaching them today!
    Thanks for the reminder.

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