Now facing the fight of his life, Lennon underwent a stem cell transplant in Houston at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, where “they basically brought me to ‘death’s door’ by ajaxing my system with chemo, after which I was immediately placed on life-support,” said Lennon, who lost 55 pounds during the procedure, which required removing his own bone marrow for transplanting later, “zeroing out” his white blood cell count and laying waste to his immune system. While the stem cell transplant worked, it left him legally blind, but more determined than ever to achieve his career dreams.
“Believe me, after what I’ve been through, blindness isn’t so bad,” Lennon said. “Thanks to advances in technology for the blind, I’m able to handle all of my duties as CEO. There are a few challenges, however, such as not seeing the expressions of people during a meeting, which sometimes means I speak when I shouldn’t. I’ve also been known to walk into the women’s restroom from time to time,” he laughed. “And once I jumped into the wrong car. How did I know? Well, there was a Rottweiler sitting in the driver’s seat looking at me like I was crazy.”
Today, ROI Media Direct has become one of the leading agencies in the direct response industry with California offices in San Diego, Newport Beach and Santa Monica. With annual billing in excess of eight figures and growing, ROI Media Direct has top-tier clients such as LifeLock, Regus and Blinds.com, Lennon believes ROI Media Direct has been successful by treating its clients like partners, “and spending their media dollars as if it was our own money. We work hard to become an extension of their staff.”
Through multiple brain surgeries and disheartening setbacks, Lennon, 44, remains the eternal optimist and harbors no bitterness over his disability. “On the contrary, I’ve got an amazing wife, beautiful daughter and two fantastic partners who share my vision about how an advertising agency should operate,” he said. “I’ve been thinking for some time about things I could do to help others – from children to adults – who are experiencing disabilities and health concerns of their own, and the ‘No Limits’ Award is an ideal way to do just that. I’m really looking forward to sharing the inspiring success stories of other executives who refused to let disabilities limit their career paths,” he added.
According to Lennon, ROI Media Direct will make a contribution to the Braille Institute and Lymphoma Society in the winner’s name — or a donation to the charity of his or her choice. “In addition, we’re going to create a media campaign celebrating triumph over tragedy in an effort to let others know that there really are no limits,” he added.
If you would like to share your inspiring story, know of somebody you’d like to nominate for the “No Limits” Award, or want to know the rest of Lennon’s amazing story, go to www.NoLimitsAward.org or visit them on Facebook.
Contact: Alex De La Torre
Title: Executive Assistant
City: San Diego