In 2010, I ran in the New York City Marathon, on behalf of the MMRF. My friend, Assistant Chief Frank Cronin of the Stamford, CT Police Department, was kind enough to assist my efforts to raise funds for MMRF by giving us his testimonial. In this video, Assistant Chief Cronin and explains what it is like to live with multiple myeloma and how the efforts of the MMRF have helped give him hope.
Sadly, Frank Cronin passed away on March 25, 2011. Frank was the kindest, most positive, and decent man I've known. He never expressed a negative sentiment or wished for anything but the best for others. He protected and served the country as a police officer for almost 40 years. He was the type of husband and father I aspire to be, devoted to his family and his community.
Others are more qualified to comment on his accomplishments as a police officer. Here's what I know: He was an undercover police officer for a long time. He spent years in the company of some of the worst elements of society and still came out above the fray with no change to his confidence in the good of humanity. As a beat cop, he was an integral part of the city and a great representative of the entire department. On the streets and in diners, people affectionately called out to him, "Hey, Pinkie!" He was loved and respected by those he protected. He set such a great example in his career that his son followed in his footsteps and became a policeman too. Frank was promoted from Lieutenant to Assistant Chief late in his career. Why? It was the best thing for the police force, for Frank, and for his family. I think it was also a way for some who Frank had encouraged, pushed harder, and fought for to say thank you and acknowledge his contributions over the years and right up until the end of his life.
He died after an 18 year battle with multiple myeloma. When he was diagnosed, doctors told him he might have only one year to live. He attributed much of the success in overcoming the disease for so many years to new drugs and discoveries by the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, also known as the MMRF. Without a doubt, the MMRF was helpful as there were no drugs or treatments for this type of cancer when Frank was first diagnosed. However, his success in beating the cancer for so long must also be attributed to his positive attitude. Attitude, he said, is "80% of life." I attribute his long, happy run to his inner strength; physically, mentally, and emotionally. I attribute it to his focus on helping others, rather than acknowledging his own unfortunate diagnosis.
Frank often expressed gratitude to the MMRF and the people who raised money for the cause. However, he was modest and never mentioned that he himself was a powerful voice and inspiration for fundraising for the foundation. He shared his experiences in a video on behalf of the MMRF that has been viewed by several thousand people (and you can see at the top of this page). In the interview he gave this advice, which resonates now more than ever, "Every moment that you have is extremely precious. Try to enjoy it. There are moments when you don't feel good, that's to be expected. Moments when you're sad, and you want to cry. Do that, by all means. Get it out of your system." He gave comfort to others who have cancer with these words, "Never, never give up. Hope is always there. You must fight. If you have only the strength to walk around your living room, then do that. But get up and walk. Don't lay around. I don't care how sickly you feel. Get up and move. Get up and do something. And if you feel fairly well, then by all means get involved in other people's lives."
Frank was a father figure to me, and I imagine he was for many others as well. When I would meet with Frank, he would tell me all the things I would have wanted a father to say. "You're a great kid." "You're doing a great job." "Your children are so lucky to have you." "Your wife is a beautiful and lovely person." I would visit Frank with the intention of cheering him up and encouraging him, but I would walk away cheered up and encouraged about my own life, determined to count my blessings and make a positive impact in the world for others.
Countless numbers of people are better off for having known Frank Cronin. This is just one example.