I am a TEDx speaker, and I’ve had the opportunity to encourage and inspire thousands of people at dozens of events and conferences around the country. I’d love to connect and work with you for your next event.
When I turned thirty years old, I was diagnosed with testicular cancer. I was scared – I had lost my father to cancer the year prior. After numerous tests and multiple operations, I thought I had beat it, but in the process, I lost my ability to father children. My only hope to start a family became through in vitro fertilization. It was at that time when I had the idea to write a musical about my experience getting cancer as a thirty year old and began to write songs as I was going through it. Six months later, my cancer came back, spreading into my lungs. I persevered through another major surgery and months of chemotherapy, and ultimately became cancer-free. Now, with three children and a musical about my experience, I share the lessons I learned from a life-threatening illness through stories and music.
- Developing empathy and connection
- Overcoming adversity through optimism and perseverance
- Understanding the patient experience
- Decreasing burnout
- Transforming learning through stories and music and other arts experiences
Having A Ball At Thirty: How I Got Through Cancer by Writing a Musical
As if it were not enough to write a musical about my experience with cancer, I also wrote this book about writing a musical about my experience with cancer. It’s very meta.
“Having A Ball At Thirty” is a behind the scenes look at what I was going through at the time. Each chapter chronicles what led up to the creation of each song in the order that I wrote them. It includes a full color insert with photos from my experience, from original journal entries, and from performances of the musical. It is available for purchase and can be a nice memento for attendees at your event.
“Tom’s use of his musical is truly wonderful and unique and brings the patient experience to life in a way that is both impactful and unforgettable. I, along with the rest of the audience, was spellbound. People were crying and laughing, sometimes both at once.”
– Pamela Peters, Medscape Education
“Tom delivered a truly creative learning experience for my students, and enabled them to internalize the patient experience in a way that traditional learning could not.”
– Linelle Blais, Emory University
“Tom tells a story to be treasured, reliving his journey with humor, kindness and grace. A sure comfort for patients, loved ones, and healthcare providers alike.”
– Dr. Muta Issa, Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center
“This was wonderful. Wow. Powerful presentation. Great speaker/music.”
“The combination of education, storytelling, and music was excellent. Thank you!”
“Favorite session of the conference so far!”
“Excellent! Thank you for bringing this to us!”