John Coyne 50% shareholder---American Taxi Dispatch, Inc.
Since I first began working with American Taxi Dispatch, Inc., as one of the first few drivers (the third one to go into service) I have been preoccupied almost exclusively with the continuous effort to help grow our business from a fledgling enterprise in Northbrook and Glenview in the beginning of 1976 (the bicentennial of America's independence) to a premier transportation service covering all or parts of six counties in suburban Chicagoland. Almost all my efforts have been focused on whatever business strategies were necessary to further the growth of our position in the marketplace. Sometimes these strategies were necessary to counter the threats to our business presented by competitors like ride share companies, but always my focus has been on commercial success.
Now, however, since the trauma endured by society in general, and the business community in particular caused by the reaction to the coronavirus pandemic, I found myself with a changed focus due to becoming aware of the personal situations of several friends who have dealt with cancer in the past few years.
And then, more recently I became aware of the special story about dealing with cancer as a family member, Courtney White--the daughter of an old friend from college Barry White, who dealt with cancer treatment around 2005/6, and who was profoundly affected by what her dad went through, and what it was which gave him a real lift as he endured the daily grind of treatment---good food in the form of a wonderful meal at dinnertime!
Before I connected with Courtney and heard her story, I also learned of the diagnosis of another old friend's daughter with leukemia, and that report struck me with a deep feeling of concern, and hope that she would find a successful donor match, which finally did occur, but not without real anxiety in the process. Laura Hendricks, the daughter of my old friend from grade school and high school, Chuck Southwick, went through a trying experience in finding the match after an initial one fell through.
Both of these remarkable women were moved to give back to others who found themselves in similar situations, and it was a coincidence that they both have been trying to help cancer patients during and post treatment, through their individual approaches. I happened to find myself at the intersection of their efforts, and decided that perhaps I could assist them to reach a wider audience who might also want to help, without any commercial interest or motivation whatsoever on the part of our business.
The way I discovered Courtney's program, Culinary Care, was quite amazing, and I am still marveling at what led to it. For years I had wondered what her dad Barry did in adult life, because in college he had declared to me that he intended to study international law, and I figured he probably went off to London or Zurich to pursue his goal. I Googled his name but kept encountering the name of the singer Barry White, and I gave up trying to locate my friend Barry, after a while. Then, a few months ago, it hit me that maybe Barry did end up practicing law, but never left the Chicago area. It was a long shot but eventually I did find a Barry White, Chicago attorney! Sadly, and shockingly, after doing so, it was only to find his obituary online, from his passing in 2006. I decided to try to contact his widow or children, and eventually came across Courtney's special program for cancer patients.
I spoke with Courtney and we had a wonderful conversation about her dad, both learning things we otherwise very unlikely to know. Speaking with her was funny and delightful, and it took much of the shock and sadness about Berry's demise away in a manner I have never expected, and still appreciate.
I had never met Laura Hendricks before just recently, but was aware of her from stories her dad told me about her and her family, and in particular her three children who are somuch loved by Chuck and his wife Nancy. I knew Laura had progressed through finding a match and getting her immune system rebooted with placental stem cells in a long process. Then, one day I received an email from Laura about her survivorship program called Luminaries. I immediately thought of Courtney and our connection, and decided that I had to put them into contact with each other, and also do whatever I could to help them both expedite reaching a larger group who might want to contribute to their good philanthropic efforts. Getting a chance to meet Laura and hear some more details of her story, as well as meeting her husband Brock, and her three lovely children, has been as richly rewarding and delightful as was my chance to get to know Courtney.
I hope this story affects some of our customers to consider providing some level of donation to either or both programs, no matter how modest or how generous it might be. Every bit helps and we all can be affected by cancer in some way or another throughout our lifetimes. Helping others through these two programs of assistance is a good way to deal with the surprises and challenges we all might face in the same way.