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.

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