August 17, 2017

What does it look like to live fearlessly?

Join us September 14 for #RedPantsDay

On September 14, the DEFY Foundation is asking you to wear red pants as a sign of your willingness to live fearlessly.

For a lot of people, living fearlessly means seizing each day. Doing the things that scare you. Trying something new. Taking risks. Living like you're dying. But when you actually are facing death, what if it's scarier to live as if you're not?

Facing death is a reality for those diagnosed with Vascular Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (VEDS), a genetic condition with an average life expectancy of 50 years due to a defect in the body's collagen. Imagine a rubber band - you use it a couple times and it works great. But as it gets older, it stretches less and less, until one day it snaps. That's what happens to the arteries and organs of people living with VEDS. But just as you can't predict when the rubber band will snap, it's impossible to know when that fatal rupture will happen. You could be 49, having just arrived at work after an early morning gym session. You could be 25, hanging out at home on a Friday evening looking forward to the weekend.

At the moment, there is no treatment or cure for VEDS. Patients are primarily told to avoid activities that cause undue vascular stress, many of which would be on page one of the "Live Like You're Dying" handbook. For some, everyday decisions can become paralyzing. Will this workout be too much? Can I rearrange the furniture without something happening? Can I still go out for the football team? For others, it's decisions about the future that weigh heavy. Do I want to pursue a specialized career if I may not make it to the end? Should I have a life-improving surgery knowing there's a significant risk I won't survive the surgery itself? Should I try to start a family knowing I may pass along the disease or leave my kids with one less parent?

That's being fearless for someone with VEDS - planning for a future they may or may not see. Building relationships without knowing how long they have to enjoy them. Finding a way to continue the activities they love, even if it means pursuing them in a different way.

For you, living fearlessly might look a little different. Maybe it's skydiving. Maybe it's taking a chance on a new job. Maybe it's sharing with someone how much you appreciate them at the risk of sounding a little gushy.

However you live fearlessly in your day to day life, on September 14, we hope it looks a lot like wearing red pants.

For more information on Red Pants Day and the DEFY Foundation's work to live fearlessly and find a cure, visit

Tags: culture, #powerofpersonal

Jon DeWitt

Ask anyone about Jon and, more than likely, the first thing they’ll mention is his enthusiasm. However, when you interact with Jon you’ll see, hear, and feel his energy.

Clients and associates love working with him, not just because he’s fun to be around, but also because his optimism and confidence rub right off, making whatever task, challenge, or goal suddenly feel achievable.

Jon may be the first person to laugh or make a joke in a meeting, but he’s also the one to deliver the insights, counter-points, and solutions that no one else would have thought of because he’s smart, creative, and truly cares about our people and our business.

Jon has been with Taylor Strategy Partners for more than 30 years. As Executive Vice President and Partner he is instrumental in the growth of the firm and his responsibilities include new business, client and leadership development. Jon’s career began with 10 years of successful sales, management, and operations responsibilities with Ashland Chemical Corporation. He holds a Bachelor’s degree from The Ohio State University. 

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