My story is one of finding hope, courage and perseverance in the midst of dark and overwhelming uncertainty. In 1988, I was at the top of my game and my life. Not only did I have a wonderful family but I was also at the peak of my career, playing the game of my childhood dreams. My opening day victory over the Dodgers was overshadowed later that fall by the discovery of cancer and the removal of half of the deltoid muscle in my pitching arm. After battling cancer in my pitching arm, I came back a year later to defy the odds and pitch once again in the Major Leagues. Despite being told by my doctors, “Short of a miracle, you’ll never pitch again,” I pitched a 4-3 win for the San Francisco Giants that day.

Sadly, my comeback was short-lived. Five days later, I threw “…the pitch that could be heard round the world.” My arm had split in two. As I tumbled to the ground, my mind filled with doubt and fear.

After my comeback and fall from the mound, the cancer returned, yet again. The arm refused to get better so I decided to retire from my dream, the game of baseball, in November of 1989. Finally, the arm along with my shoulder blade and the left side of my collarbone had to be amputated for fear the cancer would spread and take my life. Little did I know that the loss of my childhood dream would become a platform to share hope with the suffering around the world.

The challenges I’ve faced in the years following have taught me volumes and I now travel the country sharing the lessons I’ve learned—lessons on how to navigate loss and suffering, and how to experience encouragement and hope. More recently I’ve been exploring how we define our true worth, learning that it’s not what you do that matters most—it’s who you are. The experiences of my life have drawn me to discover and share about the value and significance of relationships—relationships with co-workers, family members and anyone else on ‘my team.’ My personal experiences have also taught me to evaluate life—challenging myself as well as others to press on towards our future goals.

Currently, my busy schedule takes me all over the country, sharing my story and what I’ve learned to groups of all ages and sizes. My motivational messages are straight from my own experiences with loss and suffering as I seek to powerfully inspire through the encouragement and hope I’ve discovered along the way.

Mr. Dravecky is a dynamic, compassionate, empathetic speaker who not only connected well with the audience but from the moment he arrived, connected with staff, patients and volunteers on every level. Both pre and post speech, he was an amazing magnet for the very, very senior and very, very young alike, taking time to be charming and playful with them all. His speech included elements that all could relate to, spiritual, physical, and emotional. Although a very serious journey, he found a way to lighten the story at some very crucial times. One experienced a roller coaster of emotions going on his journey through his story. Looking around the audience and seeing tears in the eyes of some of the men made me know we had selected the right speaker for the day. Afterwards, Mr. Dravecky was just as gracious with his time as he was prior to his speaking, posing for pictures, signing any and everything put before him and just talking with all who wanted an audience. What a powerful message from an amazing man of courage, sincerity and grace. Mr. Dravecky, we thank you for who you are and what you share to bless others. You are truly a gracious man with an amazing story about faith, life, courage and determination."
– Markettea Johnson Beneke, Senior Director, El Camino Hospital, Oncology Service Line
Awesome, inspirational, genuine real man and true hero are just some of the terms our employees used to describe Dave Dravecky after hearing him speak at our global employee meeting. Everyone has obstacles in their lives that can be roadblocks. After hearing Dave Dravecky’s story of how cancer ended his professional baseball career and affected him both emotionally and physically – and how he was able to emerge from this low point in his life and become a better man, husband and father, it made everyone in the audience feel they, too, can overcome any obstacles in their lives, both professionally and personally. He was so gracious and joined the group for dinner as well as signed autographs and posed for photos. He also shared with us many special mementos he earned and collected over the years. By the time Dave left, we all felt connected to him as though he were now part of our company. Everyone in the Dravecky organization was a pleasure to work with and very professional. Dave took the time to speak with us before the engagement to learn about our event and organization, asking many questions about the goals of our conference, and he incorporated this information into his speech. It was a class act from start to finish.
– Christina Hernan, Vice President, Corporate HR, Global Wellness & Risk Management, The Cooper Companies, Inc.
Dave was absolutely amazing! His story was so inspirational and touching and he was truly the easiest person to work with that we've ever had at this university. Throughout the entire set-up, performance, and end he was incredibly gracious, humble, and sincere and was even more than we could've asked for. It was a pleasure working with you guys.
– Erica Bickel, University of Nevada, Reno
Dave's message and delivery is guaranteed to hit the heart of anyone who has the honor of hearing him speak. Guaranteed to have tears, laughter and thought provoking experiences. Incredible.
– Mike Soldati, First Priority Financial
We've had a wonderful response to Dave and his message. We were very pleased with his eagerness to get to know our organization and mission while he was here, and he was a very gracious guest. The audience was very taken with his story and delivery, and we had great feedback from everyone attending. Having Dave truly blessed our event and he connected to everyone there as well as our mission. It was a successful evening for us. Thanks so much!
– Kayce Strader, Director of Development, Serve Denton
The Ride For Roswell is a weekend of hope for everyone affected by cancer, and Dave Dravecky’s speech encapsulated the event’s meaning. He truly inspired an audience of cancer patients, survivors, their loved ones and caregivers. Dave is also a man whose actions match his words. He spent the afternoon at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, visiting many of our 31,000 active patients, hearing their stories and spreading his message of courage. He touched many lives in Western New York, and we were so fortunate to have him at our event.
– Cindy Eller, Executive Director, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation

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