Cancer Dude Will Win Again

This is Jeffrey Walker.  President of Atlassian, an incredibly cool and successful company. Hacker artist and musician.

And also Cancer Dude.  His words, not mine.  He wrote them two years ago:

In preparation for this upcoming surgery, I’ll be working out every single day. I’ll be leaving work at a reasonable hour. I need to point my Type-A personality at Atlassian at something more important right now.”

“I am Cancer Dude and I am going to kick it’s ass.”

It was an eloquent, inspiring, witty, sour yet humorous, brave post. I am sure that Jeffrey’s Type-A personality played a key role in defeating cancer and coming back healthy.

Now it looks like he did not win the War, just a major battle.   Jeffrey dropped a bomb in his blog today:

My cancer returned Monday. In not exactly a subtle way. I have two tumors, one of which is 11×8 centimeters…

…This is my life. I am living with cancer, I have had three major operations — here comes #4…

…I can struggle or I can embrace it. Those of you who know me understand I have only one option. Not because I consciously choose. I am just innately positive…

Damn.  I’m struggling for words.  Writers block.  Damn again – here I am whining when all I have to do is pull my thoughts together.  Jeffrey is the guy with the real fight: he is fighting for his life, for his family, for his company, friends, everything he believes in.  And what a fighter he is!  The way he handled the battle last time gave courage and inspiration to many others.

Here’s something on a personal side:

  • In 2007, just the day before Jeffrey became cancer dude he took the entire San Francisco office to a Giants game.  He obviously was aware of his condition, but kept it to himself for a while, not wanting to spoil the fun.  The Team comes first for Cancer Dude.  He invited me, but I declined, not being a baseball fan.  When I found out about his condition, I felt guilty for missing a chance, and promised myself to never turn down an invitation from Jeffrey again.
  • This weekend I was supposed to talk to him again.  We set a time aside to discuss business, his philosophy and a lot more a’propos of Atlassian’s $100M milestone.  I missed the appointment (shame of me, I forgot).  And here I find him in hospital again.  Karma?  If it is, it’s as bad as it gets – so I choose to ignore it.

But this story isn’t about me.  It’s about Jeffrey, his courage, endless positivism, and the fight he will win again.  A Veteran, he already has a blueprint for it:

The first priority on the blueprint is of course getting the right treatment and recovering. But the blueprint includes trying to work when you can. I called a customer Tuesday morning, just 20 hours after getting the news.

Customer call the day after finding out he has cancer again.  Vintage Jeffrey.   That’s the tough guy who will beat this s**t again.  And then I don’t care, he may even drag me to a baseball game, I will go (although beer in a pub still preferred).

This is Jeffrey’s fight – supported by his family and doctors.   But there is something we can all do.  This is what Jeffrey wrote after winning the previous battle:

The community was awesome. People I never even met wrote me passionate emails. I was touched.

Tuesday, the day before surgery, would not normally be a Real Groovy Day. You go onto a clear liquid diet and clean out your system for the surgery. Not a regimen I would recommend. Instead, it was an exhilarating day. Watching the comments, emails and views pour in from people I inspired turned out to be a massive inspiration to me.

So let’s do our part: please comment on his blog, write your own post, Twitter, Friendfeed, you name it – just link to his post, and use the tag cancerdude.  Let’s give Jeffrey all the inspiration we can.

And welcome him back in a few weeks.

(Cross-posted to CloudAve.)


  1. […]  Zoli’s post is well worth a read. His advice. So let’s do our part: please comment on his blog, write your own post, Twitter, Friendfeed, you name it – just link to his post, and use the tag cancerdude.  Let’s give Jeffrey all the inspiration we can. […]

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