Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 2, 2013.

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The compelling story of how one boy rose above everything that should have ended his life and how he used it to succeed.

Please help me raise the money (by making a pledge on the right) to fund the completion and publication of my memoir, RISE: EVEN DEATH CAN'T STOP ME, a raw and transformational story of rising above brokenness.

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Me (on the left, ~age 5) and my younger brother in or about 1976.
Me (on the left, ~age 5) and my younger brother in or about 1976.

PRISON IS THE DARKEST PLACE ON EARTH

Growing up in poverty to a single mother with addictions left me exposed to hopelessness, desperation and dysfunction. Though I tried to overcome my circumstances, I felt powerless. Begging for help became my only option.

As a young child, every time I was placed in the position where I had to humble myself and beg for help because of my family’s inability to pay our bills, I felt small. Like a piece of my soul was taken from me. My self-esteem was negatively affected, leaving me feeling worthless and contemplating suicide. Why didn’t I go through with it? I don’t know if it was because I lacked the courage or I knew I had too much to live for. Somehow, I found a way to tolerate the suffering. 

At 19, during the most critical time in my life and at an age when society deems young boys adults, the two families that had been there for me throughout my youth, had abandoned me. Feeling desperate and with very few options, I feared for my future.

By this time, my mother was dealing drugs. It wasn’t long before I compromised my integrity for the one thing I believed was the answer to all of my problems, money. I was indoctrinated into the family business and began selling drugs too. Within three weeks, I was arrested, ultimately pleading guilty to a felony.

In an attempt to salvage my life, I left my family and moved to Southern California. But, my fresh start ended almost as quickly as it began. On a visit back to my hometown in the Midwest, I was caught in the middle of a drug raid and was arrested again; this time for drugs that belonged to my mother. Scared for her own life and freedom, she turned her back, abandoned me, and allowed me to take the blame. Facing up to sixty-years in prison for something she did, I was left with no other choice except to fight for my life.

My story is not about my mother or her mistakes. She, arguably, had a worse life than me. 

My story is about a boy’s journey to overcome poverty, shame, mistakes and negative self-limiting beliefs. It’s about getting knocked down and sometimes knocked out, but choosing to stand when all visible evidence told him to stay down and quit. It’s about the spirit inside that says, “RISE and fight!”

Why tell your story now? You’ve beaten the odds. 

1. My story is bigger than me.

One day, I got the courage to share my story as a speaker at a business event. At the end of that event, there was a line of people waiting to speak with me. Several people were crying and sharing how deeply my story touched them. Some shared how they had overcome challenges and my story reminded them of the strength and courage they needed to do such. Others were going through difficulties at that moment and were inspired by the courage I had to overcome my challenges. That was the day I realized the power of my story. I knew I could no longer be selfish and hide my mistakes and failures. I knew that day my story was bigger than me.

2. Secrets keep you sick.

Almost everyone has a secret they would rather hide and never share with anyone because of shame. Shame creates a crippling fear that leads us to believe if anyone knew our secrets we would be judged and deemed unworthy of connection. As a result, we conceal them. Secrets thrive in darkness and keep you from healing. And, if there is something about you that you feel is ugly and you try to hide it from others, it will only keep you playing small in life.

3. Fear extorts you.

Whenever I would gather the courage to share my story, my fear of being judged would cause me to freeze in my tracks. I would sit down and shut my mouth. My fears were extorting me and I remained locked in a fear-induced, self-imposed prison. Without the courage to expose my fears and understand that I was worthy despite my past, I continued to be contained and held hostage in life.

I finally realized the only way to get out from beneath extortion and free myself was to go public with the very secrets I was trying hard to hide because of fear. No matter how successful I became while hiding my secrets because of shame, I limited my success as I was only willing to go as far as my fear would allow me.

4. The greatest gift I have to offer is my story.

Despite being convicted of a felony at 19, I chose not to let it define me. I went to college even though some discouraged me. I was the student commencement speaker at my graduation from the University of Southern California. After graduation, I was hired to work for the 2nd largest professional services firm in the world (Deloitte). I became a CPA. I’ve helped run successful businesses as a corporate professional and executive. I simply would not accept my past as the story I was going to live for the rest of my life. My destiny has always been in front of me, not behind me.

USC graduation day.  I DID IT!!!
USC graduation day. I DID IT!!!
Me!  The USC Leventhal School of Accounting Student Commencement Speaker
Me! The USC Leventhal School of Accounting Student Commencement Speaker

Today, I’m on a mission to use my story to inspire and free those who have allowed themselves to be incarcerated in the prison of their minds due to fear and shame. Those who believe their lives are over because they were born on the wrong side of the tracks or because of their worst mistake or failure. I’m a living witness that’s a lie! You can do anything you commit your heart and soul to. Your past doesn’t define your destiny unless you allow it and you’re greater than your circumstances.

I could live my entire life pursuing the gratification of selfish desires, but I would never be satisfied because my greatest sense of purpose is in living beyond myself. The greatest gift I have to offer is my story. If I can inspire one person to find the courage and strength to be free and live, it will be worth whatever criticism or judgment I may receive.

My story is bigger than me.  Help me use it to inspire and bring hope.  Help me make a difference!

How Can You Help?

We can all use a little help from time to time. My entire life it has been difficult for me admit that. One of the great lessons I learned through poverty is how important it is to allow people to help. To be frank, I still struggle with it.  My greatest mistakes in life have occurred when I was in dire need but too proud to ask for help or tired of feeling like I was begging or burdening someone. So, most of the time, I either suffered in silence or found myself in compromising situations.

I share that very valuable and hard lesson every chance I get. It’s not just about young people either. The willingness to be vulnerable and ask for help is a lesson that many adults have never mastered. Nobody makes it in life on their own. We must allow others to help. Let them into our lives and share our struggles. Helping others is a basic tenet of all our lives; it simply makes people feel good.

It's in that spirit, and the spirit of independent publishing, that I'm offering you a chance to participate in the production of this book through Kickstarter.

Making a commitment to have a copy of this book will help me with the considerable costs required to produce, edit, publish, market and distribute this project.

I'm confident that anyone who reads this book will be encouraged and inspired. The circumstances and trials I have endured on my journey could have so easily broken me, but there is something about the human spirit when it refuses to quit or die. Courage, strength, determination, and victory are what we are made of. What doesn’t break us will make us.

I'm inspired to open up my life and share my faults, failures, and vulnerability in the hopes that it gives those who read it the courage to RISE. I hope you're inspired to back this project.  Let's change the world TOGETHER!!!  -Frank Thomas

When life has you down, the only thing left to do is RISE!

How Kickstarter Works

Kickstarter offers you a chance to help fund a portion of my costs in return for rewards - my book, T-shirts, a private dinner reading and Q&A (more listed on the right), and knowing you helped make this happen. If the funds aren't raised, you won't be charged anything. If the funds ARE raised, I am legally bound to deliver everything I've promised. It's a 21st century way of funding creative endeavors.

Thank you for visiting my Kickstarter page and any further support you choose to offer. Please consider backing this project if you can and please pass on my link to everyone you'd like to inspire today!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

My manuscript is complete. I expect to begin the editing process at/or before the end of the Kickstarter campaign (once funding becomes 100% imminent).

The specific challenges in delivering the finished book will be the considerable time, effort and costs of professional editing, design, publishing, printing, marketing and of course delivery. I've chosen to self-publish the book and I understand obstacles can arise. I've set my funding goal at a level that will allow me to at least get this book in to print and deliver on all the rewards.

My greatest purpose and mission in life is tied to this project and, honestly, EVEN DEATH CAN'T STOP ME!

FAQ

Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.

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  • Pledge $1 or more
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    Every $1 counts! I have never despised small beginnings. I'm humbled by your generosity. I'll be forever grateful for your support!


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    3 backers

    Thank you for having the heart to feel and eyes to see the vision I have of opening up and sharing my life to encourage others! Not only will I be forever grateful, you'll receive a personal THANK YOU on the RISE Facebook page.



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    21 backers

    A pledge of $20 OR MORE at this level allows you to receive a copy of "RISE: Even Death Can't Stop Me - The Frank Thomas Story" in the form of an e-Book. This level also includes all the above rewards and the residual feeling of knowing you're helping to spread a message of hope.

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    A pledge of $30 OR MORE at this level receives a print copy of "RISE: Even Death Can't Stop Me - The Frank Thomas Story." You'll get to read my heartfelt story and I'll get the satisfaction of knowing you believe in me and the message I long to share with the world.

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    A pledge of $50 OR MORE at this level receives a SIGNED print copy of "RISE: Even Death Can't Stop Me - The Frank Thomas Story." PLUS, you'll receive an invitation to attend a "LIVE" reading (via teleconference) of the introductory chapter in October.

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    A pledge of $75 or more includes all of the above rewards PLUS a high quality RISE T-SHIRT (sized for men & women). WEAR your support around town sharing the inspiration with others.

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    With my sincere appreciation, backers who pledge $100 or more receive a SIGNED print copy of the book, a second GIFT COPY, one e-Book, plus a high quality RISE T-SHIRT (sized for men & women) to wear as well as the satisfaction of making a GENEROUS contribution to seeing this project happen.

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    A pledge of $250 or more will make you a GOLD LEVEL backer. Your name or organization's name will be included on a special ACKNOWLEDGMENTS page of the book (with your permission, of course) as a GOLD LEVEL backer recognizing you for your support in making this project happen. This reward level includes TWO SIGNED COPIES of the print book (including a personal message of gratitude), TWO copies of the e-Book, and TWO high quality "RISE" T-SHIRTS (sized for men & women). I'm honored to include the acknowledgment as a lasting tribute to you for stepping up in a big way and believing in my vision and mission of helping others.

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    A pledge of $500 or more makes you an incredibly generous and visionary PLATINUM LEVEL backer. You'll receive all of the above rewards, plus the PLATINUM LEVEL DISTINCTION on the special ACKNOWLEDGMENTS page of the book (with your permission). PLUS, you'll have the SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY to assist me in choosing the final cover design.

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    A pledge of $1,000 or more makes you a philanthropic and incredibly generous backer at the DIAMOND LEVEL. You'll receive all of the above rewards, PLUS, the DIAMOND LEVEL DISTINCTION on the special ACKNOWLEDGMENTS page of the book (with your permission). In addition, I'm including a special personal SKYPE CONVERSATION for a group or individual to discuss any aspect of this book and answer any questions you may have about the book, my life, and/or experiences.

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    AMAZING!!! A pledge of $5,000 or more makes you a DOUBLE DIAMOND LEVEL backer and an INCREDIBLE INSPIRATION!!! You'll receive all the above rewards, including my SPECIAL DOUBLE DIAMOND LEVEL THANK YOU on the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS page of the book (with your permission). PLUS, I will deliver an inspiring keynote speech and book signing at a school, business, club or nonprofit of your choice anywhere in the continental US.

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    MAGNANIMOUS!!! You're a TRIPLE DIAMOND LEVEL backer! Your pledge of $10,000 or more will help me change the world. You have RISEN and, together, EVEN DEATH CAN'T STOP US! I will host a PRIVATE DINNER for you +7 guests at a local restaurant in any city in the continental US where I will do a READING of key excerpts of my book and we'll have a quaint, personal, and candid Q&A where you and your guests can ask any and all questions about my life and story. Plus, you'll receive a PROMINENT and EXTRA SPECIAL TRIPLE DIAMOND LEVEL THANK YOU on the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS page of the book (with your permission) where your name or organization's name will be immortalized as the highest level contributor in making this project happen. That's not all. You'll also receive 10 SIGNED personal print copies of "RISE: Even Death Can't Stop Me - The Frank Thomas Story" each with a personal message of gratitude, 10 e-Book copies, 10 "RISE" T-SHIRTS (sized for men and women), the opportunity to assist me in picking the final cover design, a personal THANK YOU on the RISE Facebook page, and an invitation to attend a "LIVE" reading (via teleconference) of the book's introductory chapter in October. But, most importantly, you'll have my devoted loyalty and gratitude forever. THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!

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Funding period

- (30 days)