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One day the doctors told Joe Martin how long he had to live. Joe told himself: Just live.
So he has, beyond anyone's expectations but his own. And in living his life, Joe Martin has changed countless other lives.
This is the story of a man who was successful by every measure -- a pillar of his church and community, a top executive of his company, the father of three children. In 1994, Joe was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease. The doctors told him his life would be over in twenty months or less. After a brush with despair and terror, Joe decided with his family and friends that he would recover, if not from the disease, then from the diagnosis. No doctor could predict what might be accomplished on any given day.
Using the resources at hand, Joe fashioned a credo combining the words of the psalmist and of baseball legend Cal Ripken, Jr. "This is the day the Lord has made. Get up, go to the ballpark and do your very best". Joe Martin's best has been nothing short of spectacular.
Having built a career as the acknowledged "conscience" of Bank of America, Joe took on the sponsorship of a program to organize low-income neighborhoods for greater political and economic clout, a year after his "death sentence". He helped start one of the Southeast's leading centers for ALS research and treatment. In Charlotte, North Carolina, he played a leading role in overturning a county government that threatened to rip apart his community along a religious fault line. Acting on his own, Joe began a movement of racial reconciliation that has inspired people to build friendships across ethnic barriers. Unable even to work a keyboard or speak, Joe is seeminglypowerless. Yet he has found the power to change his world.
Unlike Tuesdays with Morrie, a book about a man dying with ALS, On Any Given Day is a book about a man living with the disease. This is both an inspiration story and a how-to book about contributing to life as a full human being, even when most of the basic tools of humanity are taken away. This is a book for anyone who's been tempted to stop hoping, a book on recovering hope and discovering possibilities. It is a blueprint for making the best out of every day, one day at a time.
It's a book, too, about and for caregivers. Joe's wife, Joan, leads a strong supportive cast. Family, friends and young assistants learn to redefine caregiving through commitment, to sustain dignity through love. And for those who imagine American business to be an impersonal profit machine, On Any Given Day will be a stunning wake-up; Joe's company demonstrates that, no matter how severe one's disability, it is the value of the individual that powers corporate success.
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