It’s hard to believe Kim Eaton is no longer with us. It was hard to believe that she was sick when I received a call about a year and a half ago. At that point I had only known Kim for about 18 months. She exploded at me on a Friday night in March when she walked across the stage at an open WorldVentures business presentation and took about 60 seconds to tell what she had accomplished with the company up until that point.
To say she got my attention would be the understatement of the year. I was observing WorldVentures for the first time. (I have gone on to become their Director of Training) I was listening intently to everything that was said by the company’s co-founder Mike Azcue, and it’s number one income earner, Steve Little. There were a number of others who took the stage before Kim to share their experiences with the company. While they all did a wonderful job, none of them could hold a candle for what was about to happen.
I have been to thousands of such business presentations over the last 20 years, and heard thousands of people tell their stories, but Kim immediately went to the top of the list. This petite woman spoke with the power and authority of a top politician or military leader. Everyone in the room stopped whatever they were doing and tuned into Kim’s message. Her words were even more eloquent than the power that she commanded the stage with. When she was done with her one minute dissertation, I was ready to be involved with the company!
That was just the beginning. I was blessed to develop a relationship with Kim. I found out how amazingly bright and talented she was. She was also one of the most compassionate people that God ever put on this earth. She had a burning desire to rise above the first 40 years of her life, where she did what she was expected to do, and live her life to the fullest with the time she had remaining. She was one of the greatest speakers that I have ever seen (and I have seen them all). Her ultimate goal was to become a trainer with WorldVentures so she could share her passion and knowledge with others who wanted to breakthrough in their lives. She was, to say the least, a powerhouse!
That is why I was shocked when I received a call from my good friend Stephanie telling me that Kim was in the hospital, and that it was very serious. She went on to say that Kim did not want anyone to know what was going on. I went about the rest of my busy day in Dallas, but that night me and my good buddy, Monico sneaked into the hospital where she was being treated.
She was asleep when we walked into the room, but as divinely guided, she suddenly woke up, and proceeded to ball us out for being there. Once we convinced her that we had risked life and limb to be there (a gross exaggeration) she relaxed and talked with us. I later found out that she had a tumor burst through her chest, and the tests revealed stage four breast cancer. The doctors gave her about one month to live.
All Kim said was that she needed to “get up out of there” and get to Miami for a weekend Acceleration training with WorldVentures. We laughed at her. We knew she could not possibly be serious. We spent some time with her just chatting, said a few prayers and were on our way.
I was on stage Friday night in Miami when I saw Kim walk in the room. I was legitimately stunned. I thought she was crazy, but I later realized that was the only way that Kim knew how to live; all out, all the time!
The next 12 months saw Kim get weaker and weaker. She was already a slim lady, but she became frighteningly thin. She refused to follow traditional medicine and take Chemotherapy, etc. Rather, she completely adjusted her diet and perused alternative health options.
One year later, Kim was in Florida again for Acceleration training. She was sitting by herself at the pool at the Dolphin resort at Disney World when I saw her. I spent about a half an hour with her just catching up on things. I realized from that conversation that the main thing that was keeping Kim alive was her connection with all the people that she saw every month at trainings from her WorldVentures family, along with the positive, uplifting message that the training itself brought her.
She was in so much pain, and had to spend super human strength just to make it to the events. Simple things like traveling, bathing, and dressing took massive efforts on her part. She had not missed a training event since she was diagnosed, which included two marathon events called Journey and A View From the Edge.
She did not care what price she had to pay, she was going to be there. I sensed that conversation I had with her in Orlando would be one of our last. She had developed tumors in 4 other parts of her body by then. The doctors were astonished that she could even walk, let alone continue to function as she did. We spent the Monday after the training at EPCOT in Disney World with Kim and about a dozen close friends. She had never been, but I assure you, she enjoyed that day as much as any little child ever did. There are many images that I take from that day that I will never forget.
During all this time, WorldVentures President, Robert Oblon was in daily contact with Kim. The bond and friendship that they forged was something right out of a movie. Even though WorldVentures is on track to do 100 Million in sales in their third year, and Robert routinely works 12-15 hour days, he always made time for Kim.
Robert orchestrated raising funds to send Kim to one of the finest cancer clinics in the world shortly after the Orlando event. After the expert doctors there felt as if there was nothing that they could do for her, we all knew the end was coming soon. Robert helped get her an apartment on the beach in southern California so she could live her last weeks in a beautiful setting. A number of incredible ladies volunteered as caregivers for Kim while she was there as well.
I heard through the grapevine that she was on her last legs when I was conducting a training in Nashville. When I got a call from Robert a couple of days later, I knew it as soon as I saw his name on the caller ID.
Kim had always wanted to inspire people to greatness. In her own mind, she had not achieved enough production in her business to be able to do so. What Kim did not realize, was that in overcoming the challenges she faced in the last 18 months of her life, she would end up setting an example that would inspire people to a much larger degree than anyone would ever be able to do through their business production.
Close to 1000 people turned out for Kim’s memorial service. Many of them were part of the WorldVentures family. The service was a combination of loved ones sharing their favorite memories of Kim, and Robert reading a series of emails that Kim had sent him over those special 18 months. Kim’s legacy was cemented that day. People probably learned more from Kim through her emails to Robert, about having a successful life, than they would have learned from attending seminars for 20 years.
Ironically, Kim had finally reached her goal to become a WorldVentures trainer. It was not in the way that she had envisioned, but she had achieved it just the same. Kim’s words will be immortalized for years to come. Every year at our biggest event of the year, (A View From the Edge) we will be giving out an award to the most inspiring rep in the company for the previous twelve months. The award winner will be held to the highest standard. They will be someone who displays outstanding character and unparalled determination. They will be the most celebrated rep in all of WorldVentures for that next year, because they will have received the most prestigious award the company offers; Kim Eaton Award.