Two of the smartest people in the world.

Do you believe adversity makes you smarter? 

June and Pete are two of the smartest people I have ever met, and it is not because of an advanced degree. In fact, there is no class for this. It is because they are facing a challenge and are survivors. 

Our whole crew learned so much in the hours we spent filming Pete and June. About six years ago, each learned of a cancer diagnosis. Since then, they have been going through treatment at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). In spending a day with each of them, we learned how adversity readjusts your lens, focusing you on what you care about in the world. You really care about your husband or your wife, your children, and your dog. You really care about your friends. And you really care that you are given this day, and the next, and the next. So you choose carefully how you spend those hours. 

By the end of the day, we were each sharing our own stories of adversity. Each of us has a story, and we realized that it was in this moment of intense personal challenge, when our boats capsized, that we righted ourselves and sailed closer to our true calling: Pete as a coach; June as a research advocate at OHSU; me as a collector and Director of personal stories that need to be heard.

Here, we offer two of those stories. 

Living isn’t just having a heartbeat or an inhale or exhale of air. To live? Well, to live is to have a life that we look forward to each and every day – a life that our families and loved ones look forward to sharing with us each and every day.
— Pete Julian

Do you need a small dose of perspective today? Take a minute to meet Pete and June.

What challenging moments have made you smarter? I want to hear your story, too. 

With gratitude,


P.S. We are so grateful to the Oregon Business Association for hiring Studio Kate for the third year in a row to produce and share stories that celebrate the best of Oregon at an awesome event at the Convention Center every October. This year the honorees were Phil & Penny Knight and the Knight Challenge. The Knight Challenge, when met, will provide $1 billion to Oregon Health & Science University for cancer research. Thanks, Ryan and Gina, and thank you, Phil and Penny Knight.

P.S.S. Like all of our stories, we produced this short documentary with a rock star team:

  • Director of Photography: Randy Sellars
  • Second camera: Kenny Allen
  • Grip/Gaffer: Tom Hanson
  • Sound: Brian Mazzola
  • Production Coordinator: Julia Oliver 
  • Editor: Margaret Andres
  • Motion Graphics: Josh Balleza
  • Music Composer: Nick Lambert & Jessy Ribordy, Osiander Music Studios