Inspired by The Clydesdale Project’s ‘Top 5 Friday’ post.

Two guidelines:
1.  They don’t have to be living today, but I ask that you choose people that lived during the last 50 years, so that their influence is somewhat recent.  Got it?  Abraham Lincoln doesn’t get on the list this time.
2.  I encourage you to consider people that are somewhat famous, just to help the rest of us understand.  That means that Mom, Dad and your track coach wouldn’t make this list.

Jon Lester, pitcher for the Boston Red Sox(health):  Entering his mid-20s, he diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a treatable cancer. He bounced back and less than 2 years later pitched in the winning game of the 2007 World Series. His story is undoubtedly touched millions of cancer patients. An inspiration, in my opinion, to keep fighting whatever ails you.

Jimmy Santiago Baca (education): Read his autobiography. He is a great example of not using excuses to better yourself and following through with whatever dreams you have. Cheesy? Yeah, maybe, but this guy is living proof of making things happen for yourself.

Ted Kennedy(perseverance): Flawed, rough around the edges, unrelenting, polarizing, dominating, inspiring, and many other things defined Ted Kennedy. Regardless of how you felt about him politically, it’s hard to argue that Massachusetts wasn’t properly represented by him. Even in death, he stirs mixed emotions. Responsible for the death of a young woman, he saw both of his brothers(arguably more talented than he at the time) die and then died himself of a debilitating brain cancer and found his seat filled by a Republican. Either you laugh or cry at the last line, but no way does this guy not stir something; because he fought for what he believed, unapologetically.

Jackie Robinson, Dodgers(dedication): It’s been said no man has endured as much as Jackie Robinson did when he broke the color barrier of Major League Baseball. He died young, but his impact on the sport and the country as a whole will never be the same. He was dedicated to his sport, and his part in changing things. There’s a big reason that #42 is retired by all teams. Nobody, ever, will endure what he did.

Nick Vujicic, motivational speaker(attitude): Read about this man. Google him. Find him on YouTube. Then, come back and tell me a few good reasons why you can’t work out, or can’t eat healthy, or make any major life changes. You won’t be able to, because it’s nothing compared to this guy.