A Man with a Purpose

Meet a positive thinking dad who does marathon bike rides to help cure cancer.

- Posted on May 12, 2011

Steve Sparks rides for a cure

Sometimes we find our purpose and sometimes our purpose finds us.

Steve Sparks was a young successful attorney working for a prestigious law firm when a bruise on the back of his 3 year old daughter’s leg changed his priorities and the direction of his life.

The bruise led to a doctor’s visit, a diagnosis of leukemia and an uncertain future.

Steve told me that in a moment his life’s priorities shifted from what restaurant he was going to take his clients to lunch to whether his daughter Katie was ever going to see her fourth birthday.

For three years Katie received chemotherapy and other treatments at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware and with the help of wonderful doctors and kind and compassionate care-givers who Steve and his wife Michelle describe as heroes, Katie’s leukemia was cured.

Forever changed by the experience and inspired by the heroes at Nemours who saved his daughter’s life Steve felt he couldn’t go back to business as usual. He felt there was something else he was meant to do and that something else led him to join the Nemours Foundation as their in-house attorney.

The job change came with a 65% pay cut from what he was making as a corporate attorney but Steve’s purpose had found him and it was more important than a paycheck.

Fast forward 18 years. Katie is now a healthy 20 year old junior in college and Steve is the Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of the Nemours Foundation where he brings Katie’s story and his purpose to work every day.

In 3 weeks Steve will celebrate Katie’s 21st birthday, and give a big thanks to Nemours by riding his bicycle from Nemours headquarters in Jacksonville, Florida to Wilmington, Delaware. He’ll ride 900+ miles in 9 days and raise $100,000 for the Nemours Foundation with the hope of saving more children's lives. His purpose hasn’t just become a part of his work. It has become a part of him and his family.

You can follow Steve and his ride at http://ridefornemours.squarespace.com/

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