This One’s For Bruce!

by Paul Castain on July 31, 2012

A few years back, when I worked for a very large printing company, I met a true sales rock star named Bruce Truitt!

Bruce is one of the company’s top performers that I profiled for a best practices study and quite frankly, he’s a rare breed!

I could go on and on about all the little things that impressed me about Bruce but the thing that blew me away was how giving the guy was. In fact, I had one occasion where I asked if he could come into my classroom and address a group of young sales reps that were in the process of beginning their career. He not only accepted he said something that really moved me when I thanked him.

He told me that it was very important for him to address them (and not just for the sake of my classroom) for his sake! He seemed grateful for the opportunity to serve and I never forgot it.

The other day a mutual friend of ours called me to deliver some news about Bruce that made me want to try to give something back to him. Please read on as Fant Smith tells the story . . .

On Wednesday, June 27th, Bruce Truitt woke up in Mobile, Alabama – 365 miles from his Memphis home – where he was calling on clients.

Bruce doesn’t sit around and wait for the phone to ring.  Bruce hits the road virtually every week, and he’s been a successful salesperson because of it.  He’s methodical about making those appointments and has a loyal following of printing customers.

Bruce made his calls that Wednesday in Mobile, likely working on various catalog projects that print in the coming months.  And, Bruce didn’t leave Mobile at 10:00 am to make it home at 5:00 for leisurely dinner.  That’s not the Bruce Truitt way.  He works hard; he works smart; and he is a top 1% performer in his industry.

Bruce left Mobile about 2:00 p.m., after his last meeting, and arrived home at 8:00 pm.  When his wife, Susan, saw him, she put Bruce in the car and rushed him to the emergency room with a low grade fever and swollen gland on his neck and an odd swollen elbow.

By 2:00 a.m. on Thursday, Bruce had the news.  Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  It’s fast, and it’s nasty.

Do you have your affairs in order well enough to stop everything within 24 hours?  Me either.  But, Bruce did.

He was admitted to the hospital on Friday, June 29th at noon and was undergoing Chemotherapy by midnight.  On Wednesday, he was making sales calls 365 miles from home.  On Friday, he had trouble  standing on his own.  For two consecutive weeks, Bruce’s wife, Susan, has been by his side – never leaving the hospital.

Bruce needs our help.  He is an only child, and therefore has no sibling to offer a best-chance bone-marrow transplant.  We are Bruce’s chance at life.  Bruce is a loving husband and father to two children – Ashley, 22, and Matthew, 17.

It’s very easy to help:

  • Go to www.marrow.org
  • Click “Join the Registry” and complete the questionnaire.
  • Watch your mail for the packet.  Swab mouth saliva and return swabs in pre-paid envelope.
  • Wait for the call.  Odds of a match vary between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 100,000.

Bone Marrow Donation is much easier than it was a few years ago:

  • No longer do they drill into your bone – most likely, if you are a donor, you would simply take a marrow boosting agent for 2-3 days before giving blood, from which they take 1-2% of your marrow, and they then return the blood to you.

Bruce needs us.  Many others do too.  I’ve registered.  And, I hope you will too.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottDavies86 Scott Davies

    My brother sadly died waiting on a transplant. I am on the list here in the UK. As far as I’m concerned they can take it from me as often as they like. I hope he finds a donor very soon.

    Kind Regards,
    Scott Davies

  • Lou2

    wow,  I have been selling print for 26 years and many of my clients are 100 miles away.  good luck to bruce.  feel like I know you.

  • LA

    Wow – what a story. Thanks for taking the time to post it. I’ll see what the Canadian equivalent is here and register for sure. 

  • Bob Van Winter

    Paul, I have been a faithful follower of your rock star sales wisdom for a while now. You have impressed me time and again with your insight and your spirit. You have earned the title of Jedi Master. However, you’ve never impressed me more than right now! 
    I am dis-heartened to learn of Bruce’s recent diagnosis. I am pleased that you are choosing to highlight the best way that people can volunteer to help Paul or perhaps another of the estimated 140,000 Americans who will be diagnosed with a blood cancer this year.
    I am an AML survivor, diagnosed in 1997. I have been through a Bone Marrow Transplant and am an active volunteer for both Be The Match (www.marrow.org) and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (www.LLS.org).
    Paul, I would be very happy to speak with Bruce and/or his wife Susan and share insights and offer support. 
    My prayers and best wishes to Bruce and Susan and my thanks to you for sharing the story.
    Best Wishes, Bob Van Winter

  • http://twitter.com/MZazeela Marc Zazeela

    Paul – Thank you for sharing this. I feel for Bruce and hope for the best. As you have before, you have pointed out that there are some things far more important than business, than money, than careers.

    Life is precious. We are given but one. It is a gift and it would be sinful to waste it.

    Just like Bruce, make every moment of every day count. They are all important and once spent they can never be retrieved.

    Cheers,
    Marc

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.bravata Frank Bravata

    Thanks for giving me a little education with my breakfast this morning. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/frank.bravata Frank Bravata

    Got a little education with my breakfast Paul. This is a very important issue and I just registered. Bruce will be in my thoughts in the coming months. Thanks for sharing from the heart as always Paul…

  • Bob Noe

    Paul,
    Several years ago my younger sister (38 at the time) was diagnosed with breast cancer.  At the time I registered to be bone marrow donor if ever needed.  Thanks for bringing this to everyone one’s attention.  It is extremely important that we all give back in some little way.  This is one way AND it takes little effort on our part.
    I would also just that everyone registers to become a tissue and organ donor.
    My prayers go out to Bruce and his family.
    Bob

  • http://www.facebook.com/kristi.duvallsmaagaard Kristi Duvall-Smaagaard

    Paul-thank you so much for sharing this story.  I am inspired!

  • Fant Smith

    Paul, thanks for sharing it.  Seeing the comments is amazing.  Bruce is doing his part — he cycled 20 miles and ran two miles on Saturday.  He is working on beating it, but he needs that match!  Thanks so much!

  • Christopher Ryan

    Paul, thanks for the heads up about this. I had no idea that being a marrow donor was so easy and painless.  I will register at marrow.org and encourage friends to do the same.

    Cheers,

    Chris Ryan

  • http://www.VirtuallyYoursFromCT.com/ Anne-Marie Regish

    Wow – first of all – thoughts and prayers for Bruce and his family… and I’m happy to say I’m already registered… but thanks, Paul, for putting this out there… it’s a simple, non-invasive test to register and you could, realistically, save a life… can’t imagine anything more important than that!

    Virtually Yours,
    Anne-Marie

  • J Clark

    Paul,

    I was in your class several yrs ago where Bruce came and spoke to us, and have worked with him since then. Bruce is a true professional and a great example of what it means to be selfless.

    Thank you for highlighting this! I will register today.

    Jennifer (Granger) Clark 

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thanks Jenn!

    Well said!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I had no idea how easy this was to do until Fant told me all about it.

    Thanks!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    You and me both Christopher!

    Thanks so much for registering! 

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    You and me both Christopher!

    Thanks so much for registering! 

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I read that and was completely amazed.

    I’m praying that our Sales Playbook community helps Bruce beat this!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I read that and was completely amazed.

    I’m praying that our Sales Playbook community helps Bruce beat this!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Me too Kristi . . . Bruce is an amazing soul!

    Thank you!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Me too Kristi . . . Bruce is an amazing soul!

    Thank you!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I agree Bob . . . Thank you for pointing that out and taking the time to share your thoughts!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I agree Bob . . . Thank you for pointing that out and taking the time to share your thoughts!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thank YOU Frank!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thank YOU Frank!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    What a generous offer Bob!

    Thank you my friend!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    What a generous offer Bob!

    Thank you my friend!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thank LA Much appreciated!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thank LA Much appreciated!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thanks Lou!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thanks Lou!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I’m so sorry to hear that Scott.

    I applaud you for your kindness in becoming a donor.

    Thank you!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I’m so sorry to hear that Scott.

    I applaud you for your kindness in becoming a donor.

    Thank you!

  • Diane Hunter

    Hi Paul,
    My thoughts are certainly with Bruce and his family, as my family has shared their experience. I’m already registered because my sister had leukemia as well, she is now 3 years cancer free! her donor actually came from California (she’s in Alberta), so it could easily be a stranger that saves Bruce’s life! People really neext to register.
    Thanks,
    Diane Hunter

  • Scott Conway

    Hey Paul,

    I am in! We started a fund-raiser here for a great guy in our estimating department who had Sarcoma Cancer. We had a golf outing last year and were able to raise $3000 to go to his kids for college. We are doing it again this year on August 19th.  Best thing I have ever done was getting this going!

    God Bless!

  • Sherri Carmical

    Paul, 

    Thank you for taking time to educate people about registering for this life-saving gift.  I lost my infant son, Declan, two years ago this August 18th (8 days shy of his and his twin’s 1st birthday) to brain and spinal cancer.  

    I can tell you from experience, knowing someone cares enough to help you during your struggle is immeasurable.  You have made a difference today…for your friend Bruce as well as those who might benefit from your willingness to post about bone marrow registration.

    Always praying for a cure,
    Sherri 

  • Zpuskas

    Looks like I’m “over” qualified. I’m outside the age requirements. Would have liked to help. Your story moved me to action. Best of luck to Bruce!

  • Twilakirkland

    I’m already on the registry. Hope I match!

  • Beth C

    Paul, I’ve always been impressed by how you handle so many different situations, but in this case you could quite literally be a life-saver.  I’m now registered and hope I can be of help to Bruce or anyone else in need.

    Blessings to you,
    Beth C.

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    What a kind thing to say Beth!

    Thank you so much!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Awesome!

    Thank you!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I really do appreciate that you gave it a try.

    Thank you!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    I’m so sorry for your loss Sherri and really appreciate your support.

    You are appreciated Sherri!

    Thank you!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Now that’s what I’m talking about Scott!

    Bravo my friend and God bless you too!

  • Shawn Rankins

    Registered and awaiting my kit. I also posted a note of encouragement to my followers on twitter and my firends on facebook. This is certainly one of those things you don’t really think about until it happens to you or someone you know. Thanks for shedding some light on the subject and hopefully a match will be uncovered. I was amazed to read on the registry web site that the odds of being called upon for a donation is actaully quite high 1 in 540.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mkratz01 Martin Kratz

    Paul, I’m new to your list but I know how important this could be to not only Bruce, but tons of other folks throughout the country! I am signing up now! Its great when influence is used in such a positive way! I commend you!

  • http://yoursalesplaybook.com paulcastain

    Thank you Martin!
    This contribution from you will make a life or death difference for someone!

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