If you will indulge me, I would like to tell you a little bit about my friend, Dave Musikant. Dave was a lifelong resident of Bogota, New Jersey, a small, close-knit community in Bergen County. Dave played football and wrestled at Bogota High School. He was exceptional in both sports and, his teammates elected him captain for each team. Upon graduation, Dave enrolled at Rutgers University where he excelled on the Light Weight Football team and once again served as team captain. While at Rutgers, Dave was a brother of the fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta where he served as president. During college, Dave became an avid body builder. He entered the “Mr. Jersey Shore” competition and won his weight class.
My introduction is merely a sampling of Dave. He was one of the strongest individuals, in body, spirit, and leadership that anyone will ever meet.
After Dave left his mark on Bogota High School and Rutgers, he became a sales trainer for The Guardian Life Insurance Company. As someone who wished to share his love for goals and achievement, this was the perfect profession for him.
In December of 1996, Dave and I attended a NY Rangers game. He mentioned that he was having trouble following the play. On Christmas Eve, Dave went to see an eye doctor thinking that he might need glasses. The doctor looked into his eyes and knew that something was wrong. He told Dave that he had a large tumor and that he needed to be admitted to the hospital for immediate surgery. As you may imagine, Dave was in total shock. Two days later, Dave had a large tumor removed from his brain. The tumor was sitting on his optic nerve and, as a result of the operation, Dave was left legally blind. Here is the most amazing part of this life-changing event for me. In the years that followed his operation (and blindness), Dave's "story" to everyone he came across was not one of "why me" but one of positivity. His most famous quote in my mind is, “The day I found out that I had a brain tumor was the greatest day of my life!” He felt that his illness allowed him to focus on what is really important: family, friends, relationships and “Living Your Dreams” ... life is a gift. To this day, it is, the most powerful perspective that anyone has ever given me.
During his recuperation from the surgery, Dave contemplated what he wanted to do with the rest of his life, however long that may be. He returned to work but he yearned for more. He wanted to help people achieve the clarity that facing death gave him. He wanted to help people live each day as though it may be their last. His decision was actually an easy one-- he would inspire people to Live Their Dreams! He thanked Guardian for the great opportunity that had been given to him and vigorously began his new journey! He started “Dave Musikant Seminars.” He shared his story to everyone he met. His message was simple and could be summed up with his favorite phrase, “Carpe Diem!"
During the last year of his life, Dave became concerned with the local politics in his beloved hometown of Bogota-- so much so that he mounted a 3rd party challenge to become mayor. His unlikely candidacy (a blind man with cancer and no political background) caught the attention of Jesse Ventura’s campaign manager, Doug Friedline. Doug was so inspired by Dave that he decided to help him become the new mayor of Bogota. Dave’s candidacy caused quite a stir and an independent movie, “Anytown USA” chronicled the race. “Anytown USA” went on to win the several awards-- including "Best Documentary" in the Minneapolis St. Paul, Long Island, NY and Staten Island, Film Festivals. It is available on You Tube and I encourage you to watch it. Although Dave lost his bid for office, you have the opportunity to see how he changed the way people were thinking... which is all he ever wanted.
On September 13, 2004, my good friend, Dave, passed away.
Although we no longer have Dave with us, his legacy continues to live on. Dave remains a positive force in the hundreds of lives that he touched. His family and friends are far richer for him being a part of our lives. In his memory, his friends have started the “Dave Musikant Positive for Life Foundation.” I would like to have you help me write another chapter in the story of Dave’s life by attending our golf outings and other fund raising events. Let's continue to fulfill his dream of helping others live their dreams every day!
As captured by Brian Lafamina