Could you ever really give or share enough love? Doubtful.
When it comes to the life you’ve been given and all that you can give back – why not shoot for the moon? Why not love to the moon and back? What’s the downside? There is none.
Even if there comes a time when it ends – at least in an earthly sense – you don’t cry because it’s over, you smile because it happened. And recall a story you can share for all time.
Everyone has a story.
I am Mark Brodinsky and this is The Sunday Series.
The Sunday Series (105): Finding Cinderella
I’ve been many places.
Maybe not as far as you.
So I think I’ll stay awhile,
and see if some dreams come true.
– lyrics from Life is Like the Seasons, by Frank Sinatra
What better place to dream some big dreams then going to Disneyland? When Rick Swiatek first met Denise Rothwell that’s exactly what she told him she wanted to do. It had been so long since she had seen the place where dreams come true – Denise said she could barely recall her trip there as a child. She wanted to go back. So when Rick and Denise first met up in Los Angeles, after talking for about a month in a chat room on AOL, (circa 1999), the two paid a visit to Disneyland.
Besides Denise was in love with Cinderella and she was looking for a Prince Charming. After coming out of a tough marriage Denise was looking for someone to treat her right – she knew she had much to give – Denise was a giver at heart and she yearned for romance. Rick says the couple both loved the movie Titanic, which was out in theaters around the time they met, and Denise had told him what really captured her heart about the movie was the romance. “So I tried to be the romantic”, says Rick. “At one point Denise told me I was the most romantic person she ever knew.”
It was saying a lot because Rick Swiatek was still finding and learning to love himself, figuring out “what he wanted to be when he grew up.” The son of first generation Polish descendants who came over to this country after World War II, Rick had been caught up in his parents desires for him to be a doctor, or an engineer. He was extremely analytical, and finished in the top ten in his high school class – realizing science and math where his strong points. He went to Purdue in an honors program, but he rarely studied. Instead he liked to spend most of his time with one of the most analytical games ever created – chess. He ended up majoring in microbiology and computer science.
“It was a degree in a field where there were no set jobs”, says Rick. “I got work in hospitals as a clinical chemist, and toxicologist. But working in a lab wasn’t some place where you made a lot of money. It was rewarding helping people, but like anything else in the medical field, it was the doctors who were making all the money. So after a few years I decided I would try to do something on my own.”
Working with someone he met during his time in the medical field, Rick partnered up and opened a video store as a side business, eventually buying out his partner and building a chain of superstores. But his venture into the world of retail came with a price – his girlfriend at the time whom he thought would help him, didn’t want any part of it, and though there was talk of marriage and a house purchased to live in – the relationship fell through. Eventually when the crash of Black Friday happened in the stock market and Blockbuster started taking over the video world, Rick’s foray into retail fell through as well, he downsized, sold some stores and looked for what he was going to do next.
Life is like the seasons,
after winter comes the spring.
So I’ll keep this smile awhile
and see what tomorrow brings.
For Rick tomorrow meant finishing up his MBA – successfully completing a course in international marketing and found business doing consulting and planning work in Chicago. He he took a job with a small company which taught him all about selling — he became the closer – a trait which would propel him to amazing success in his future endeavours – but for now his success brought him to Utah.
And one step closer to Cinderella.
Rick loved to ski and Utah was like a utopia, it gave this analytical mind the deep appreciation of the world around him, the majesty of the mountains, the openness of the canyons, the beauty of blue skies and nature at its finest. Rick lived there for a year but came back home to Illinois at the request of his mother because his dad was battling prostate cancer. He went back to school for a bit as he learned about the IT field; the worldwide web was just starting to catch on. The same worldwide web which would change his life by leading him to Denise.
It was the time spent chatting on AOL that led the two to meet up and vacation on the West Coast, visit Disneyland, as well as many other places to come, and begin a life together. Rick convinced Denise to moved up from Texas and get a house with him in Aurora, Illinois. Rick wanted this spark in his life to be close by. He says, “Denise was this bright ray of sunshine in my life. Always positive, always up, always driven. She was always helping, always doing charity work. She would stay up at night and bake cupcakes and cookies for other people. She worked with the blind and people with disabilities. She had this charisma, she loved to be the center of attention. It was fun to be around her.”
The couple also started to travel. Rick got the opportunity to go to Europe for a project he was working on and Denise went with him. The two got to visit Belgium, France and Germany. It was in Germany that they came upon a castle. “I told her I would get her her own castle”, says Rick.
In 2003, Rick began a career as a sales agent with a company called UGA, offering health insurance and supplements to the self-employed and he enjoyed quick success. In less than a year he had earned his first rewards trip and told Denise they were going, but the thought of traveling on a trip with a bunch of sales agents didn’t thrill her. But Rick convinced Denise to go and they never looked back. The two never missed another trip. Rick says once Denise saw the culture of the company she was all-in. The home office staff loved her and some of her closest friends became those she met on that trip and throughout the years. Rick said he and Denise both loved the fact that the company actually appreciated and rewarded his efforts. And because of his hard work and success at UGA, he earned enough money to buy Cinderella her dream – a second beautiful home down in Austin Texas – the castle she always wanted.
For the most part Rick and Denise were living the dream, the same one which began on a trip to Disneyland years before. In fact Rick says Denise loved Disney so much she turned their Illinois home into a mini Disney museum.
But even Cinderella had her struggles and in March of 2013, the clock struck midnight. Denise was diagnosed with Stage-4 ovarian cancer. For the next three years she bravely battled the beast, spending much of her time in her “castle” in Texas because she didn’t want Rick to see her sick, and so he could continue to focus on his work.
Just a few years before, after a change with UGA, Rick had re-joined the same leadership team in a new endeavor with USHEATLH Advisors. The same concept, same culture, same friends. When the live-action version movie of the story of Cinderella was released in March of last year, some of the home office staff came to visit with Denise and throw a Cinderella party in her honor.
Despite her illness, Denise refused to miss any of the USHEALTH reward trips with Rick. Rick says she loved the trips so much there was no way she wouldn’t go. Even while on hospice in June of last year, and being told there was no way she should leave the country, she made the rewards trip to Cabo San Lucas to join her “family” at USHEALTH Advisors.
Unfortunately for Cinderella, and all who loved her, it would be her last time at the ball.
Coming back home Denise was getting worse and worried about missing her son Jeremy’s wedding. She wanted to see her young Prince Charming, her only son, take his own bride. But it was not to be. With three months to go before Jeremy’s wedding and just one week before her 57th birthday, Denise passed away.
There isn’t much that I have learned,
through all my foolish years,
Except that life keeps runnin’ in cycles
First there’s laughter, then those tears.
Rick says his USHEALTH Advisors family has been a tremendous support group – and because he loves what he does so much he has been able to pour himself into his work, as a distraction to missing his Cinderella. In fact, at the time of this post, Rick Swiatek is far and away the number one sales agent in the company, building on the company’s mission of HOPE, Helping Other People Everyday and remembering the love and hope that Denise brought into his life to inspire him in his work.
“Denise was just a beautiful, generous, positive living soul. The most positive person I ever met”, says Rick. “She taught me that family and friends count more than anything and sharing the positivity with the people around you is the one thing you can do to make your life better for yourself and everyone around you. Regardless of what life brings you, stay positive and people will love you for that.”
I’ve been told and I believe
That life is meant for livin’
And even when my chips are low
There’s still some left for givin’
Until next time, thanks for taking the time,
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USHEALTH Advisors: (http://www.prweb.com/releases/markbrodinsky/072015/prweb12862708.htm)