Thirteen-year-old teenagers are not commonly known for their persistent dedication to serving others. I know I certainly wasn’t. But every once in a while, I’m privileged to meet someone who challenges that norm.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Floyd Korzan and his parents at Mitchell Middle School. Those early years of young adulthood are difficult for most, but amongst the woes of finding his way in middle school, Floyd made a decision to start an organization that encourages individuals to be relentless. Relentless when facing cancer, relentless in overcoming obstacles, and relentless in dreaming big dreams.
Floyd’s relentless journey started eight years ago when his father, Matt, collapsed while hiking in the Black Hills and was subsequently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. It’s a path many South Dakota families are forced to walk – the trials of a cancer diagnosis, painful and tiring treatments, and a future filled with uncertainty. Friday nights at the Korzan house looked different than they did before. Instead of pizza and a movie, family nights were spent in a hospital room.
Years passed and after several remissions and relapses, Matt received a successful stem cell transplant from his sister in 2017 and has been cancer-free ever since. Matt’s relentlessness rubbed off on Floyd in a way I doubt Matt even realized. In honor of his father, Floyd’s taken it upon himself to develop the Relentless Pledge and to hand out relentless wristbands to cancer patients across the globe, as well as to local heroes who according to Floyd, “get up every day and work tirelessly to make our community a better place.”
I wear my light-blue relentless wristband with an incredible amount of pride. In fact, I told Floyd I would wear it at this year’s State of the Union address. As President Trump gave his remarks, I found myself glancing down at my wrist – a visible reminder of the tenacity we should all bring to our daily lives in order to make this country an even better place to call home.
I feel a sincere commitment to Floyd, his family and everyone back home in South Dakota, to hold myself to this relentless pledge.
More importantly, I hope Friday nights at the Korzan household are filled with many more pizzas and movies in the months and years to come.