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An Entrepreneur Explains How Cancer Patients Can Maintain a Positive Mindset

It’s easy to be intimidated by mindfulness and assume it requires hours of sitting on a floor pillow with a blank mind. But according to former 76ers president and entrepreneur Pat Croce, that’s a major misconception.

After a storied career, Croce began a new journey in 2015 of learning the benefits of being in the now, which took him to Thailand, Bhutan and Jerusalem and involved hours of study and contemplation. Last year, he embarked on another, unexpected stage of life: a cancer diagnosis. His newfound spirituality proved vital as he underwent treatment for T Cell Lymphoma.

“Mindfulness, meditation, contemplation and spiritual practice enabled me to fully accept the cancer diagnosis and treatment plan without psychological suffering,” Croce says. “My body was diagnosed with cancer, but I don’t have cancer.”

Now, he’s joined forces with the American Cancer Society to launch HEALED, a movement which stands for Health & Energy through Active Living Every Day. The movement encour­ages people to live healthier lives through spiritual practice and the best in evidence-based research, including the HEALED After Can­cer Study led by Dr. Erika Rees Punia. Since March 2021, nearly $2 million has been raised to fund science focused on HEALED’s three main missions: healthy living, cancer risk reduction and survivorship.

Pat Croce started hosting weekly gatherings for the HEALED com­munity in May with expert guests and survivors to discuss topics like nutrition, fitness and mindfulness. He shared with us some of the ways he encourages the HEALED community to practice mindful­ness throughout their daily lives — ­no floor pillow required.


Practice letting go of extraneous thoughts and feelings that pull one into the past or project one into the future, thereby,
taking one away from the now.


Note insights, experiences and teachings with a variety of pens and techniques, while being aware of your body posture, the feel of the writing utensil on the page, the flow of the words or graphic, the smell of the ink­ — the whole ritual.

Make a warm drink

Try the ancient Japanese Tea Ceremony called Chado when you are making your morning cup of tea or coffee. Stay aware of every little detail, from selecting the cup to making, stirring and tasting the beverage.

Express gratitude

Share an expression of genuine gratitude to someone you love through a call, note, prayer, gilt or hug. Abundance is given to those who are grateful for their abundance.

Recognize “the voice-in-the-head”

Giving it a name helps to realize the thoughts are not you, are not absolutely true, and you then allow them to flow through.


Whether doing yoga, Pilates or strength training, stay present. Make every repetition the best you can by focusing on your form, breath, movement and the rest and silence between reps.

Use your non-dominant hand

Brush your teeth, shave, lock/unlock the door or do other daily tasks with your non-dominant hand to bring awareness to the process of that task.

Find focus in your hobbies

Apply a single-minded focus at each moment of the activity, whether it’s woodworking, art, gardening or golf. The old saying, ‘keep your eyes on the prize,’ is BS. Know your goal, but keep your eyes on the present moment.