We asked CANCER FUND founder and managing director, Anthony Bajoras, to share what drove him to start this impact venture fund.
What do you regret today? What will you regret 10 years from now? 20?
If you’re like me, your greatest regrets will be those things you didn’t do. Things you hoped for, but never acted on. And most of them will include family or close friends; few will ever be about money. You will probably never say to your spouse, “Gee, I wish could get back that $34.75 I spent to take my dad to The Rolling Stones concert in ’89. Had I invested that in a high yield mutual fund it could be worth $72.31 today!” No, that’s not how regret goes.
Many of my regrets relate to music: skipping the Grateful Dead’s last show at Soldier Field (’95)… okay, maybe not that one so much. But missing a chance to see James Brown with my good friend Rob (’99), or seeing Van Halen at Rock Rocks with my brother (’15). Some involve sports, like missing that last flight to Cleveland to meet my brother and watch the Cubs win their first World Series in 108 years. Will these regrets stand the test of time? We’ll have to wait and see.
As much as I regret those things, my greatest regret is not starting CANCER FUND nearly 20 years ago when I feel like I should have recognized the problem. It was staring me in the face, but that’s a story for another day.
The regret hits me hardest in unexpected moments. Like when I have to remind my kids of my father’s name or point him out in a family photo because they can’t remember what he looks like or never knew. My father died of colon cancer when my daughter was just 2 and my wife was pregnant with our son. That was eight years ago this weekend (2/6/13).
Had I started CANCER FUND 17 years ago, I believe the outcome for my father and so many others could have been different… better. That regret, ultimately, became the catalyst for launching CANCER FUND. The pull of not wanting to experience the same regret. Not in 17 years, not 8 years, not ever. Maybe that’s “pregret” – preemptive regret. I don’t know, but it’s powerful.
I do know that I’m not the only one who has lost loved ones to cancer and I know won’t be the only one to lose more in the future. I hope my efforts, and the hard work and passion of the entire CANCER FUND team and CANCER FUND community, will someday help the people you care about.
But it isn’t just about my regrets or hopes. As you might gather from our tagline, “More Than Hope,” we prefer action. And we’d love for you to join our community.