Volume 3 - Issue 1
January 2014 

Banner with Charles

Starting the New Year Right
For many people, January is a time to pursue resolutions they have set for the new year.

I prefer to think of it as a time to refresh, rejuvenate, reflect, refocus, and rededicate ourselves to using our time well.

To refresh, I think it's only appropriate that we start the new year with the first day off. If we were respectful of the opportunity before us, we should have worked hard through the conclusion of the prior year and so a day off allows us to refresh ourselves and consider the year ahead.

Through proper diet, exercise, and yes, even some time to play, we can give ourselves a chance to rejuvenate ourselves and bring a fresh energy to the New Year's challenges.

It's also a great time to reflect on what we did well the year before and refocus our energies on our goals going forward. It is one thing to have everybody paddling together; it is quite another to make sure we are focused on our goal.

Our time is unfortunately a diminishing asset. If we treat it with respect though, we'll have nothing to regret when this year also comes to a close.

Happy New Year!


Charles A. Archer 
My philosophy for a happy life: Sam Berns at TEDxMidAtlantic 2013My Philosophy for a Happy Life: Sam Berns at TEDxMidAtlantic 2013

Meet Sam Berns, featured in this month's "Paddler of the Month" article. Sam had a disease known as progeria, which aged him at eight times the normal rate. This year, Sam was a junior in High School. Despite his disease, he played drums in the marching band, umped baseball games, was an Eagle Scout and made straight A's. Sam was truly an inspiration, as were his parents, Dr. Leslie Gordon and Dr. Scott Berns, who founded the Progeria Research Foundation,  in 1998.

Robert Kraft, owner of the New England Patriots, greets his friend Sam Berns, a Patriots fan with progeria, a disease that accelerates the aging process.

Earlier this month, Rick Reilly of ESPN recounted the touching story of the New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who befriended a 17-year-old named Sam Berns. Sam battled a rare disease known as progeria, which causes accelerated aging. In 2013, Berns and his family were featured in the HBO documentary, "Life According to Sam". Unfortunately, Sam lost that battle on January 10, 2014. Sam was an inspiration to many, many, people and surely will be missed.
Reilly recounted how Mr. Kraft took an interest in, then supported, and soon befriended this remarkable 17-year-old. Seeing past his disability, Kraft saw his tremendous ability and decided to work with him towards a cure of that rare disease.

After Sam's passing, Kraft released a statement, saying "I loved Sam Berns and am richer for having known him. He was a special young man whose inspirational story and positive outlook on life touched my heart...News of his passing came as a complete surprise. It is another reminder that we can't take anything for granted. Be sure to give your loved ones hugs and kisses and tell them how much you love them."
I'd like to tip my hat to Mr. Kraft for what he did for Sam. So many diseases that challenge small numbers of people go largely unfunded by government grants and big pharmaceutical research efforts. Kudos to Mr. Kraft for recognizing that we are all in the same boat and taking up a paddle trying to make a difference in the fight against this rare disease. 
For his efforts and his kindness, Robert Kraft is Our Paddler of the Month.
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