The time of your life, compliments of Seth
February 3, 1999
By BILL O'BOYLE
"When Seth was finished, the crowd rose and the applause continued for a great
length of time. It was time well-spent."
Every now and then, we all need a wake-up call. You know, an event or
encounter that just knocks you right back to reality to begin again to
appreciate all the finer things in life. And if the buzzer on that wake-up
call is loud enough, you may begin to appreciate life itself.
Recently at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Northeastern Pennsylvania's Crystal
Ball, a wake-up call was delivered to the overflow crowd. And it was delivered
in the soft-spoken, mild-mannered style of Seth Zimolzak, a 17- year-old Wish
Kid who also happens to be a four-handicap golfer.
Seth, a cancer patient, shared the podium with Nicole Einhorn, herself a Wish
Kid awaiting a double-lung transplant. Nikki, as she likes to be called, went
first and in her quiet voice told the audience how important it was for her
and all Wish Children to get their wishes. Dragging her oxygen tank in her
backpack, Nikki never stopped smiling when talking of her wish and the
memories she will always have.
But this isn't a commercial for Make-A-Wish. Anyone who knows about the
organization knows its mission and its good work. This is about Seth and the
message he delivered.
Seth first talked about meeting pro golfer Greg Norman and then golfing with
Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt. He smiled a lot as he spoke. Then his mood changed
as he began his message -- a message he felt needed to be sent to the audience
clad in tuxedos and evening gowns.
"After having to deal with cancer for three years, I have learned a great deal
of things," Seth began. "But the most important thing I've learned is the
aspect of time."
Seth then asked the audience what they would do if they went to a bank where
$86,400 had been credited to them each day, but would not carry over any
balance at day's end. Whatever was left in the account would be gone; and the
next day, another $86,400 would be available for use.
"Each of us has such a bank," said Seth. "Its name is time. Every morning it
credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever
of this you have failed to invest. It carries over no balance. It allows no
overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. each night it burns the
remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours.
There is no going back. There is no drawing against tomorrow.
"You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get the
utmost in health, happiness and success. The clock is running; make the most
Quite a message, but Seth wasn't done. He was going to finish before the ride
back to his Shickshinny home.
"To realize the value of one year, ask a student who failed a grade," Seth
continues. "To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who gave birth to
a premature baby. To realize the value of one week, ask the editor of a weekly
"To realize the value of one minute, ask a person who missed a plane. To
realize the value of one second, ask a person who just avoided an accident. To
realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who won a silver medal at
"Treasure every moment that you have. And treasure it more because you shared
your time with someone special -- special enough to spend your time on. And
remember that time waits for no one."
"Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's
called the present."
Go ahead, I'll give you a moment to let that sink in. Read it over and over
and remember it was spoken by a 17-year-old cancer patent who appreciates
every moment he has. And we can only hope and pray that his moments will last
for years and years to come.
When Seth was finished, the crowd rose and the applause continued for a great
length of time. It was time well-spent. As the tuxedoed and gowned cried and
smiled, it became obvious why we all were there: to make sure that kids like
Seth and Nikki get to meet their heroes, see their favorite places or do their
Make-A-Wish allows families to get away from the doctors and medicines and
hospitals and appointments and the worry. It's a noble cause and anyone who
has been touched by Make-A-Wish and the children it serves knows that kids
like Seth and Nikki possess special powers that make us all appreciate our
Thanks Seth. Thanks Nikki.
Bill O'Boyle is chairman of the Board of Directors of the Make-A-Wish
Foundation of Northeastern Pennsylvania and he serves on two committees of the
Make-A-Wish Foundation of America.