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Tidewell Foundation donors encouraged to keep promises in Lakewood Ranch

Tidewell Foundation president inspired by internationally known humanitarian Alex Sheen.


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Jonathan Fleece, the president of Empath Health and Tidewell Hospice, was inspired after hearing humanitarian Alex Sheen talk about making and keeping promises during a Tidewell Foundation luncheon Nov. 30 in Lakewood Ranch.

Sheen, the founder of the nonprofit Because I Said I Would, shared his story of losing his father, who always kept any promises he made. His father’s death from cancer inspired him to create small cards that said “Because I Said I Would,” in which people would write a promise either to themselves, their friends, their family or their community in hopes of making the world a better place through positivity and acts of kindness. 

“You see too often in life people say things like ‘I’ll get to it’ or ‘tomorrow,’” Sheen said to the dozens of donors who attended the luncheon at Grove. “Well, the last thing my father taught me is one day there will be no tomorrow, and the promises we make, we keep, and those that we choose to dishonor is what defines us and our character.”

After hearing Sheen’s story, Fleece promised the crowd that Tidewell Hospice will continue to make a difference.

Fleece said Tidewell Hospice served more than 50,000 people last year and will do so again in 2022.

“The Tidewell Foundation and Tidewell Hospice, all of our organizations, we’re here to provide care, hope and inspiration, so today’s message is consistent with our purpose and mission,” Fleece said.

Sheen shared some of the promises he made, such as volunteering for a different nonprofit each week of the year, buying 100 tickets to Disneyland for children diagnosed with cancer and their families, and walking 10 days across Ohio to represent the 10 years Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight were held captive in Ohio.

“I believe that when you have a strong why, you can be strong,” Sheen said. “You can put one foot in front of the other. You can do what you said would be done.”