Cancer is a horrible, horrible disease.  I hope that soon a cure is found so that all these people who get cancer in the future won’t have to go thru this ordeal.  The cancer has eaten away at my strength, my muscles, my weight, my endurance, my energy and even my ability to eat any food at all.  But I have not let it destroy my spirit!

Please don’t feel badly for me.  Even though this cancer has taken several of my “senior years” away from me, I still feel tremendously blessed with the full life I have lived.  All of my life — even as far back as high school — I have tried to motivate & inspire people to live fully and have a positive outlook each day.  That is the only way I have known how to live.  In this final cancer fight, perhaps I have also shown how to stay positive in really tough times and to die honorably & with dignity.

When I finished a successful collegiate sports career, I figured my future would be more sports and then perhaps become a coach.  But after college, I first had to stay in grad school & teach to stay out of the Vietnam military draft.  So I did that for several years and degrees, while at the same time building my hobby of photography into a small business.  I had absolutely no idea that FATE (and hard work) would take over and give me a career that I absolutely loved every day in commercial photography.  There was no one “big break”, but I worked hard and completed one assignment, to be given another and another.  And it grew beyond my wildest expectations.  I had terrific clients that believed in my work and stayed with me over the years sending me everywhere on our planet, over & over again.

So while you may be sad at my passing, please rest assured that I lived a much bigger life than as a teen — from definitely middle class roots — in Pittsburgh would ever even DREAM of living.  I have had 45 years of having assignments that have sent me to over 200 countries, I’ve written 15 books, worked with five US Presidents, shot over 1500 magazine covers, photographed so many celebrities, shot hundreds of major ad campaigns, appeared on television shows worldwide, and HONESTLY have lived a life of joy for all of those 45 years doing what I loved!.  MY stock photography business, thru both hard work & determination, became one of the biggest in the world, which allowed me to only shoot for clients that I wanted to shoot and go places that I desired.  I can never remember one day in my career when I said anything but I am truly blessed and I can’t believe they pay me for this!

So, yes, I am dying a few years before I should, but I can really say that I have lived a full and BIG life.  So I still feel blessed.  I started my Bachmann Tour Overdrive travel group and we together explored 25 trips to all seven continents—although I got sick and could not direct the last three, which truly broke my heart.  But that small group of good friends is the BEST thing I have done in my career.  I want them to continue to travel and stay friends.  That would make me happy. I have had very big and lucrative assignments, many that became fairly famous (my Two-Year 72 country Kodak World Tour comes to mind), but my BTO groups ranks first in my heart and mind.  I have paid for website up for 10 more years, so stop in to look at BTO videos or something to bring you smiles.  www.billbachmann.com

In the future, when you think of me, think of my smile and not with sadness.  I am on to the next adventure, hopefully in Heaven to see my Mom & Dad and all those I loved.  Life can change so quickly for you (look how quickly my life changed when I returned from Asia to find out I had cancer!) and I hope that you will live your life positively daily.  If you have issues with friends, call and make up — life is TOO short to carry grudges or hurt.

I close this with a saying that I have put at the bottom of my crazy Christmas card newsletter for the last 30 some years.  “Care Deeply… Think Kindly… Act Gently… Pray Daily …. And be at Peace with the Earth!”

-Bill Bachmann