Episode 374

David Richman — A Personal and Emotional Journey Inspires Connection, Peace & Meaning

David Richman is an author and an endurance athlete. His book is called Cycle of Lives and covers 15 different stories of people touched by Cancer — in many different ways — from patient, to caregiver, to medical provider, to spouse. David was inspired to ride his bike 5,000 miles as he met and interviewed many impacted by Cancer. He did this in honor of his sister June, who’d recently died of brain cancer. It was a courageous journey and he tapped into a lot of deep grief, but also powerful emotional connections. His stories were intriguing, especially how each cancer journey impacts different people. David refers to trauma and emotional chaos, but the narratives also present the gifts and wisdom that may bubble up during the journey. In 2020, in the US alone, there were more than 1.8 mm new cancer cases and over 600k cancer deaths, so it’s an important topic to explore. I’m always deeply intrigued by how people cope with the most difficult events in their lives. This book was a rich dive into this.

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David became engaged in the emotional journey of the Cancer ‘ecosystem’ after experiencing the death of his sister from Brain Cancer.

He was aware that most people talk about all the details and resources, but don’t talk about the emotional side of Cancer. This was the spark of an idea for this book…to interview people as he rode his bike across the country.

From the patient's perspective, we often don’t want to burden people with our woes. From the ‘friend’ perspective, we’re careful because we don’t want to say the wrong thing.  These perspectives keep us from having deep connections, especially with people that we love. 

The goal might be to find that safe, meaningful, authentic, and quiet space to just ‘let things be.’ You’re not there to solve their problems, nor to give sympathy.  Sometimes it helps just to be quiet together or to deeply listen. 

In many of these conversations, he was getting people at their rawest, most vulnerable, most beautiful selves. 

In the end, David shares that we can never assume that we know what people are going through. There is a full spectrum of emotions that come with this journey. When we’re trying to find the meaning of life, we need to be open to the idea that we just may never find the answer. 

The other side of the spectrum is that we're all human and we're all connected by our emotions and our stories. \We all seem to desire authentic, deep meaning and interaction with the people around us. 

When I asked David what he learned about the meaning of life he said “I learned that I really don’t know anything. And that’s beautiful and amazing and inspires me to just be absolutely honest with myself.” 


Visit David's website at David-richman.com