Ronnie Castro, cofounder of a cool new startup that launched last month called
Porch.com, has brain cancer. And the prognosis isn’t great.
He’s got a 50 per cent chance of living 10 years, his doctors say, though of course, he’s hopeful that he’ll beat those odds, he told Business Insider.
His is a story that’s equal parts tragic and inspiring.
In April, Castro went to the doctor for what he thought was a sinus infection and the doctor made him do a routine MRI. Against all odds, it was cancer.
The day after learning he had cancer, his daughter was born. (He also has a two-year-old son.)
Brutal treatment followed, including brain surgery where doctors removed 90% of the tumour, and chemo. He’s in the midst of radiation treatment now.
But you’d never know it to talk to him. Castro is absolutely upbeat, and even willing to joke about his illness, because (except for fighting off brain cancer), he loves his life.
He founded Porch.com with one of his best friends, Matt Ehrlichman, (who sold his first startup, Thrive, to Active.com for $US60 million in 2007 at age 28).
Through all that, Porch.com launched on time. It helps people find home improvement professionals by letting you see pictures of other projects done in your own neighbourhood. At launch, it included info on 90 million remodeling projects.
Castro wonders if he would have done a startup if he knew he would get sick. Before Porch, he worked for Expedia, and Google before that.
But he thinks Porch may have helped save his life, or at least make the one he’s got worthwhile.
“I absolutely think about things differently now. A lot has to do with Porch. If I was doing anything else, I would have quit,” he says.
But his startup, like his family, “helped me through. I’m working with a good friend and a team I built. If I come in and I’m not feeling well, the people around me can pick me up, make it easier.”
Castro says that he encourages others to live their dreams now, and not sit in some dead end situation or job.
“There’s always going to be hard times,” he tells us.”Cancer makes it easier to decide the stuff that’s important to you. But there’s no reason to wait until something bad happens to change. Time is the most precious thing there is and there’s zero reason to waste it.”
It does make you think: if someone can build a company and a product, launched on time, while fighting brain cancer, what excuse do any of us have for not making our own dreams come true?