Matt talks to Nick Arquette (yup, he’s one of those Arquettes) the founder of Walk with Sally, an organization dedicated to supporting people—especially children—who have lost a loved one to cancer. Nick’s mom died of cancer when he was a teenager and the impact of that lost changed his life forever. As a result, he has dedicated much of his life to helping make sure others who experience this tragedy are not alone in their journey through grief.
Matt and Nick also discuss how Nick can reunite with his famous family members, and maybe get those known philanthropists involved in this great organization while he’s at it!
EPISODE #4, SEASON 2
I feel like this must have been such a cathartic organization that you found. It's so helpful for you. Why don't you tell our listeners … about Walk With Sally, and why should somebody make a donation to Walk With Sally?
Well, I think first and foremost, Walk With Sally is very unique, and it doesn't exist that I know of in this form, where an adult can heal from their cancer journey by helping a child. So, turning a negative into a positive is a beautiful thing to lose my mom to cancer, only to turn around and help thousands of families. What a beautiful, not only tribute to her and who she was as a mom, but to the need that this community is longing for connection, that families want to have support.
Sometimes, like I told you, they just don’t know what it is until it gets handed to them, and they're like, “oh my God, mentoring, who would have thought?” Is it cathartic? It is beautiful to not know a lot of these kids personally, and know that because I brokered the friendship, that they may have a lifelong friend who will change the course of their lives through mentoring.
Just a quick story, our mentor and mentee last year who got the lifetime award were Matt, who is a little boy at the time when he met Ed. Ed was in his early 50s, Matt was about 11 or 12.
Matt's mom died. He's living with his aunt and some of his cousins. He describes himself as overweight, had no understanding of nutrition or fitness and was kind slacking in school.
When Ed came over time exposing him to our activities where we did surfing and sand activities and exposing them to museums and all sorts of things, and Ed's love of the outdoors and running. Eventually, Matt did the marathon. Matt picked up his grades and started eating well, got a scholarship through Walk With Sally, as well as at a school liberal arts program in Michigan. After five years, Ed actually was the male in his life that went to Michigan to start him off on his journey for college.
That's really cool.
That's the cathartic part of it. All I did was just create a platform, a vessel for these people to move into a level of friendship that is a lifetime. I'm happy. I want Walk With Sally to be a portal for people who've been wanting to give back, but not sure how, and when you ask me where the money goes and why should I give, if you love the idea of no child going through cancer alone, because somebody like Matt is going to come back into our community and he's either going to be someone who's going to be productive and is a leader, or he's going to be somebody who's, as he described, unhealthy, depressed, not doing well in school, and we ultimately transformed his life.
I think that's why people give and want to give, because they believe in the stories and the way that we're changing lives. The last thing I would say is that we create these communities I told you about earlier. It's amazing when a child gets to actually talk to another child or be around another child when they've gone through a similar experience. I didn't have that growing up. I had to be real stoic.