SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Amid the pile of discarded cans at the local recycling center stands a man for whom those cans are a treasure more valuable than money. For over 20 years, Lawrence Segal has been on a mission to make a positive impact in his community. Segal collects cans from different places in Central New York and borrows them to the recycling station. His mission goes beyond just raising money; he’s motivated by the desire to make a difference in people’s lives, and he’s done just that.
“I can only give the best that I can give,” Segal said.
Segal lost his mom and his best friend to cancer. “It was very upsetting to watch somebody you love and care about go through metastatic cancer of the colon, breast, and prostate and be really helpless,” he said. Those deaths became the darkest moments of his life. Segal realized how powerless mankind was in the face of disease, and in particular, his inability to help alleviate the suffering of his friends and family.
“Someone needed to step up and fund cancer research the way it needed to be funded,” Segal said.
So, Segal started collecting cans to raise money. He has been doing that for two decades now. “It’s from all of the sadness and tragedy. I’m trying to turn it into something positive to help other people,” he said.
Segal turned down celebrity to collect cans. He gave up the chance to become a celebrity, to become famous in LA. “Well, I was working on the game show The Price is Right with Bob Barker and my friend who was the announcer Rod Roddy,” Segal said.
Roddy died of cancer, and Segal was with him throughout his illness. “I was with him that whole time. And I got very upset,” he said. “So I decided I had to make a choice between my career which was going well, at that point. I was in the directors guild, I had a good career in television going. But I decided that my friend’s life was more worthwhile. And then I can make a bigger impact and trying to help him than I could on a television show.”
Segal returned to his hometown, Syracuse, New York, to organize blood drives and search for solutions. His work has had a significant impact in his community. He has raised more than $400,000 for local charities. But it’s not just about the money. Segal has inspired others to get involved and make a difference in their own communities.
“Syracuse is where I’m from. I want to make a difference in my community with the blood drives and the cans. And that’s why I came back to my hometown of Syracuse,” he said.
Segal believes that what he is doing now is helping more and more people for their health, even though his power is small. He knows that the power of accumulation is great. “I really think that that’s what everything’s about in life,” he said.
Segal has lost friends and family, but his efforts have created a larger family of those who care. “You have to decide. Is it about money and fame? And about your career? Or is it about helping other people?” he said.
Segal’s work has inspired people across the country to get involved and make a difference in their own communities. His mission to make a positive impact in people’s lives is far from over, and he hopes that his efforts will continue to inspire others to help those in need.