A Life Well Lived

A Life Well Lived

Most recently, I had learned that a friend of mine had passed away due to cancer. Rather than continuously being sad, like the first couple days, I decided to lift my heart up the way my friend had wanted me too. 

Allan Stickel was so bright, so giving and lived such a fruitful life.

In the few short months I have had the privilege to know him, he related to my heart in many ways. I had finally met him in person in August 2016, and had been ‘friends’ on Facebook since April. We chatted on occasion online when I first became aware of his existence and I kept up with his constant updates.

His words were so empowering and inspiring and he resonated with many. 

You know, God works in incredible, but mysterious ways and sometimes, He’ll work when you least expect it.

At the time of our first initial meeting, I was planning our 5th annual True Beauty Gala coming up in October, and I was seeking an incredible, but down to earth Emcee to host our A Life Well Livedevent. I put it out to God and prayed, and asked Him to show me the right individual to be part of it. As it is a cancer fundraiser, I was looking for someone who is a ‘thriver’, and someone who is experiencing a diagnosis and can share their story and their feelings while resonating with the guests. As soon as I had met Allan, I knew that God had answered my prayers and brought the right person into my path.

Little did he know, the day of the Gala, a surprise came into his life. Apart from being a heartfelt Emcee, Allan became one of our special beneficiaries. We vowed to support him any way we can for a year.

Even though he is no longer with us, his spirit is still present.

In this way, we will still honor him as a beneficiary…perhaps in other ways, but it will be done.

What a remarkable experience to know a true gentleman, such as Allan Stickel.

The stories that I heard of his days as a firefighter, his daily encounter as a stage 4 colorectal cancer patient, his life as an incredible actor and the friendships he adored.

It was such an incredible blessing to learn from this man, hear his stories, and learn about life through his eyes. I’ve known him only for a few months, but it seems I’ve known him forever.

Any time I spoke to Allan and made comments of how he inspired me, he would just say, with complete and utter humbleness, ‘I’m just Al.’

His comments to me about his posts were always,

‘I’m not so sure my feeble attempts in writing are all that empowering. I write seldom, but when I do, it is always from my heart. I’m just Al, nothing special here.’ 

What he may or may not have known or understood is that he empowered so many people from all walks of life that he had met along the way.

His heart demonstrated pure humility and that was something to be admired on its own.

I will never forget the life lessons that Al had taught me along the way, just from being ‘Just Al.’

  • Offer your heart to someone in need.
    I remember talking to him about gala preparations and who our beneficiaries are. One, in particular, who lived an hour away and had to travel to the city daily for treatments, Al had offered to go to her home and pick her up each day for treatments and bring her back.
    That’s the kind of guy Allan was…and still is. Despite his own problems and issues, he would still give the shirt off his back to help someone (anyone) in need.
  • Be humble.
    Just his actions, his attitudes and his personality were humble enough.He believed in living life the greatest way he knew how.He would never complain about the pain he was in…he would just state, with a shrug, ‘I’ll be all right… don’t you worry about me. There are others in worse situations.’ His heart, his soul, his smile…pure humility.

    God has definitely showed his true power, living through a kind man, such as Allan.

  • Love everyone.
    Despite anyone’s flaws, Allan seemed to love everyone that had the pleasure of meeting him.Negativity amongst others was never shown or spread across his lips. He showed his fondness for many, without any fear of holding back. He never showed judgement and his acceptance was pure and admired.
  • No regrets.
    Being a retired firefighter, Allan shared some remarkable stories. Some were sad, of course, but others offered beautiful outcomes. His nights were sleepless and his PTSD was imminent. But despite everything, Allan always said, ‘If I had the opportunity, I would do it all over again.’

    Hearing about his life as a firefighter not only made me admire him even more, it showed me the unwavering (and admirable) strength that Allan possessed. He knew what those days meant for him, and the experiences that he had endured, but even still, his heart was always there, and there, it remains without any regrets. Amazing!

  • Put others first.
    Allan is a complete representation of this.
    He knew the pain he was in, and the suffering he experienced, but no matter what, he believed in helping others in any way he can.

    He was born to help others. God gave him that. It was in his nature. It was in his nature to be the kind of person that someone needs in their life, and to offer the type of friendship that someone longs for in a true friend.

  • Live each day as if it’s your last.
    I will never forget the two words that Allan said to me whenever I spoke to him: “Happy Birthday.”

    Confused, I would ask, ‘What do you mean? It’s not my Birthday.’ He would just simply say,

“Everyday is our Birthday because we woke up. We have another opportunity to live so let’s make the best of it.”

~Allan Stickel

A Life Well LivedHis attitude towards life was so incredibly powerful…so inspiring.

He would always call me M’Lady and Angel…it was so uplifting. It made me feel good…like I was doing something right as each day passes. 

The life lessons that he taught me, just from being ‘Just Al’, I will never forget them.

There are so many other things to say about Al’s spirit, but I will leave you with this. He became an incredible friend and I will hold him in my heart forever.

I will hold his smile, his willingness to help, his support for my lifelong vision, and his love for others alongside my life.

I will make it my mission to live the way he chose to live…humble, positive, fruitful and living each day like it’s your last. Although this is a sad time for many who had the utmost privilege to know him and walk in his path, I feel this is the best way to honor his legacy and the footprints he made in my life from simply being, ‘Just Al.’

Thank you God for the wonderful blessing to meet Al those many months ago. Thank you for the life that he lived, his smile, his humility and for his heart.

Allan, if you’re listening…thank you for being just you. 

About The Author

Lis Perez

Lis Perez is the founder of True Beauty Online as well as True Beauty Gala. She is Co-founder, along with her husband of 13 years, of an international online branding agency, called Empower Media in affiliation with Empower Media TV where they 'Work Together to Empower You.' She has a huge passion for helping others and is a huge advocate for True Beauty and surely shows it as she helps many women and teens overcome self-esteem issues and find their Hidden Jewel as an Empowerment Coach for Women in her own business, Hidden Jewel Consulting. When she's not being her entrepreneurial self, you can usually find her spending time with her two teenage daughters and husband or planning the next True Beauty Gala. ~Transforming Your Heart, Empowering Your Soul!!~ ~ Believe in the Power to Change the World with Your Smile!~

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