Live Like O.G.: A Note on Tom’s Health


Nick and I wanted to share with our For Impact Community an update on Tom’s health. Tom was diagnosed with ALS in May of 2014. Those familiar with this disease know that it is progressive and degenerative, attacking nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord.

Tom is not able to use his voice and body in the way that we are all familiar with – jumping on podiums or doing 1,000s of push ups with the boxers at Notre Dame – but his spirits are good!

Our Founder & Chief Spirit Officer – affectionately known as O.G. (The Old Guy) – is no longer able to be involved in the day to day operation of the For Impact mission, but he continues to challenge us, support us, and inspire us.

I search for meaning in all of this (often) and take comfort in knowing that ALS does not define my dad’s life. To “Live Like O.G.” is an aspiration and a reminder for us all:

O.G. thinks anything is possible.
O.G. lives life fully. Every day.
O.G. is generous – with his spirit, his time, his energy, his resources, his counsel, his adventurousness – beyond any person I have ever met.
O.G. invests more in experiences and people than material possessions.
In O.G.’s world, there are no problems. Only solutions.
The word “no” is not in O.G.’s vocabulary.
He (along with my mom) is supportive, encouraging, down to earth, creative and fun.

O.G.’s positivity is infectious and he embodies every motivational phrase he’s ever said or written:

Life’s a Journey. Enjoy the Present. Make a Life, Not A Living.
Wealth is an Abundance of Things we Value. You can’t take it with you.
Say yes! Focus on your strengths. Live to Give. Give to Live.
Don’t wait. There is no such thing as the “perfect” time to start something.
Be the Change. Live. Love. Laugh. Learn. Leave a Legacy.

Tom has been a Champion for the For Impact Sector for over 40 years. He has devoted his life to motivating and coaching thousands of Development Professionals. Along the way, he has helped to transform the language and attitude of GIVING. We have begun to reflect his living legacy here at You’ll notice some big changes in the next month, including the most comprehensive For Impact Learning Library to date.

Share your O.G. Story

Recently, Tom was honored by the University of Notre Dame, where he has been the Boxing Coach since the mid 1970s. Hundreds of the men and women he has coached showed up to sit with him and share their stories of how he has impacted their lives. (Read more here: Longtime Notre Dame boxing coach, ref honored)

If you are one of the many that Tom has inspired, now is your chance to let him know.

Take a few minutes and tell us how Tom/O.G./Coach has influenced you using one of these themes (or a theme of your own):


Send your stories to and (with permission) we will share at in the coming weeks and months. Include your name and address and we’ll send you some “Live Like O.G.” swag.

Thank you for reading. Tom, Nick, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Note: “Live Like OG” t-shirts are available. All designs can be tweaked to your liking by choosing ‘change style.’

4 Responses to “Live Like O.G.: A Note on Tom’s Health”

  1. Chanda Dicke

    Wow — I didn’t know about OG. My first thought, and there will be more, is that if anyone would have to have this disease, Tom could pull through better than 95% of people. My best friend in high school was diagnosed about 40 years ago and just passed three years ago. People can function — especially now with computers, etc. You, Tom, have inspired so so so many people during your life and I am sure that you will continue to do so in the future. My prayers are being sent for you and Trudy — as well as your children and all of those grandchildren. You couldn’t ask for much more! Love you — Chanda

  2. john alves

    Our thoughts and prayers are with Tom, Trudy and family…Tom has been and continues to be an inspiration to us. He has graced us with his passion and generosity and we are profoundly grateful…

    John, Linda, Zachary, Anna, Sam and Victoria Alves

    • Janet and Jay Lehr

      We met Tom about 23-24 years ago when we were struggling with a new business and worried about making a living. Tom Heffner introduced us and Jay did a couple of lectures with Tom with Eagle Creek and we also worked on the climbing wall a few times. We found that we had many of the same philosophies about life and combining a balanced work/fun/family life. I can remember the first Og Mandino books that Tom shared with us and I was soon buying and sharing them too.

      About five years ago Tom invited me to join him at Sullivan’s gym and introduced me to boxing. I’m sure I am not the only one he got involved in boxing. But I found that I love the building your body for boxing but hated hitting or being hit in the ring! But boy is it great having the punching bag and speed bag in my home gym which I never would have had before. Tom included us into the Eagle Creek/Suddes family from the start (and now our grandkids too!) and we still feel that same bond these many years later.


      I was the guest who came to dinner and never left, although it was not dinner but rather a pool party. But it was Tom’s fault for telling me I was a fool if I joined the new Delaware Community pool, maybe he never realized what a pool rat I was.

      We encouraged Tom to get back to bicycling and in no time at all he could whip us at 25 miles. So then, we upped it to 100 miles and he resisted, gave in and of course was a spectacular endurance cyclist.

      But never has anyone ever invited us to be part of his family as Tom did and that is how life has been for about the last 15 years. Tom is simply the most fun, engaging, warm and giving person we have ever known and spending time with him has been a total joy. We simply joined the Eagle Creek family and remained a part of it.

      As Tom and I both spend time as motivational speakers he has been able to advise me whenever I hit upon a dilemma. While I only have about a decade on him he loved to introduce me as his 90 year old friend, and I loved it as I was even in better shape for being 90 than for being a decade less. Perhaps his and my proudest joint effort was his telling me about his Notre Dame boxing Push Up program that caused me to get back to doing daily pushups. I have had no prouder day than the one on which I reported to him that I had achieved a 1000 push up day.

      I love OUR pool but the time spent with Tom and Trudy has been the real joy.


  3. John T Phair

    I never boxed with Tom. I knew him as an entrepreneur-stoking a moribund area of downtown South Bend to try to turn it into something special. I doubt Tom remembers this period fondly-and it probably cost him plenty. But he opened the door to several other entrepreneurs (including me) who followed him and built off of his vision. The first in is often a struggle-but took guts and a vision. I hope he appreciates today this area has become!
    John Phair

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