Community Resiliency


In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.

~ Robert Frost

Not a week goes by that the healthcare community doesn’t surprise me, teach me, share with me, and amaze me. All of the great folks we know face-to-face, on Twitter, #hcldr, LinkedIn, and everything in between are our community. We have talked about “Social Media as Healthcare’s Town Square” back in August 2016. We share and grow from the connections that are, at the end of the day, all very real, regardless of channel or venue.

This weekend, our family was very excited to visit my daughter’s first-ever high school swim meet. She has swum for years as a USA club swimmer, but this was different. High school sports are a lot like our healthcare community in that it’s all about the connections, support, and growth vs. just outcomes alone. An exciting morning with 10+ high schools all coming together for some fun.

Sadly, just a couple hours into the meet, a seemingly healthy, accomplished, kind, and generous senior collapsed right after a race, was attended to by medics poolside for some time, and tragically died shortly after being whisked away by EMS.

Silence fell, tears abounded, and 100’s of swimmers + coaches + families quietly cleared the building and headed home. This story is not about that sad retreat; this is about what came next. 

Within an hour, students came together (mind you, from 10+ high schools spread all across 170 sq miles, with 73K+ enrollment) to make sure this young man was remembered for who he was and to make sure those left behind were ok. Immediately, I saw the amazing resiliency of common community working first hand. This wasn’t just about grieving, which certainly was powerfully rending, this was about taking care of each other.

The same day, a vigil at the pool was arranged by the students for the very next afternoon. More people than I could count came together and stood silently as one. Within 48 hours, the family’s GoFundMe zoomed to $46k from 743 donors. The eldest son humbly asked for assistance and the community responded immediately, driven by the students themselves. Was this about grief? Certainly. But this was also clearly about everyone still here needing support, a kind word, a reminder that tomorrow is coming and you’re not alone. These wonderful high school students know much more about what matters than we often assume.

Seeing community in action, faster than I thought possible, reminds me of what we do when we collaborate, learn, chat, and work towards healthcare that’s healthy. We may get discouraged (or worse), but more often than not, we are lifted up by the community and are motivated to make changes, touch others, improve the system for everyone, one patient, one person at a time. Community and individual? I’d say so! Sincere HT and thanks to @nickisnpdx for understanding the power of community and to @cancergeek who knows that healthcare at the N of 1 matters.

I won’t post the personal details here in the blog proper out of respect. But, since anyone with basic search ability (or my Facebook) will know the details, I will list the link to the details in the resources at the end of the blog. The family has all the support, both financial and personal, that they need – no need to donate. Do keep them in your thoughts.

This week on #hcldr, let’s talk about resiliency and how that makes a difference to us, healthcare, and community.

Join the #hcldr community on Tuesday, Oct 18, 2016 at 8:30pm Eastern (for your local time click here) as we discuss the following topics:

  • T1: What does resiliency mean to you, personally, professionally?
  • T2: Does resiliency matter in healthcare or should we be more concerned with just making it another day?
  • T3: How do we share resiliency-based thought with those beaten down or seemingly hopeless in their HC journey?
  • T4: Do communities form organically or do we need to actively build, support, and grow them? Does it matter?

This week’s #hcldr blog is dedicated to the memory of swimmer and teammate Brian Yuen, his family, and the amazing students of FBISD in the wake of this sadness.


GoFundMe Campaign for swimmer Brian Yuen’s family.

Robert Frost quote.

Accessed Oct 18, 2016

Image Credit

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