With the trials and tribulations that come with everyday life, it’s important to keep a positive outlook. Fortunately, for Sacramento, Ca business owner David Gunn that hasn’t been a problem. We spoke to David about his battle with cancer, the importance of business ownership and the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Tell us a little about your childhood?
I grew up in a military family. My biological father wasn’t around, at all. I have probably seen him 2 or 3 times in my life. I was originally born in Miami, FL. My mom was a single mom, she went to the military. So, I bounced around all over the world and my mom ended up marrying my stepfather. So as far as father figures go I may have had 2 or 3, but my actual biological father wasn’t around.
It had to be tough not having him around. How did not having a relationship with your biological father affect you as a child?
It was tough, especially when you start hearing about how my father did so well in sports, he was a five-star athlete in Miami, FL, top colleges like Duke and North Carolina wanted him.
So, he was the big man on campus apparently. As I began getting into athletics myself, it sucked because I didn’t know why my father wasn’t around. In my mind I thought I was a good kid, so why doesn’t he want me?
So, that was the hardest part, getting into sports myself but hearing all the accolades about him and me trying to measure up to that. That was tough.
It sounds like it, I’m sure it was difficult trying to be a successful athlete with all that on your mind. How is your relationship with him today?
I’ve spoken with the man over the phone, maybe 5 or 6 times. I went to Miami back in April and I tried to get a hold of him. He didn’t respond to me. Then I talked to him on facetime maybe a month ago. So, I rarely speak with him.
Do you have kids?
Yes, I have three.
Seeing that your father wasn’t around. How important was it to be there for your kids?
It was huge man, I never want to be the father my father was, that’s something I told myself from the beginning. I’m never going to allow that to happen. If anything were to happen with me and my wife. I would never not be a part of their lives. So that’s my biggest thing, I take being a father real seriously. It’s an awesome job to have. When I became a father, the feeling of this is someone that looks up to you now, it’s crazy! I never understood why a parent would not want to be a part of their child’s life. So Kalia is my wife’s daughter that I adopted. So, her father is not around, he is absent. My thing was, as a man, how can you allow another man to raise your daughter? That part I did not understand but I take care of her and treat her like my own, so there’s no difference. I don’t say she is my stepdaughter. No. she is my daughter. She went through the same thing I did with my father. I just wanted to make sure she wasn’t worried about that aspect of her life.
You were talking to me about a situation that happen with your daughter. Would you care to elaborate?
Sure. We were on a houseboat with my in-laws. When you have a houseboat the generator is in the back of the boat, if you want to turn on the air conditioner you have to turn on the generator. So, what was going on was the fumes from the generator was going from the generator to the AC unit which is up top, so all the air was circulating down to the houseboat, and you know, carbon monoxide is odorless; come to find out there was a leak.
My daughter was asleep when she woke up I was playing with her you know like we do all the time. When my wife came out, out of nowhere she started crying hysterically for no reason, we thought she wanted to be held, you know because that’s how babies are sometimes. Andrea held her, while she was holding her, her head snapped back like violently snapped back, it’s pretty hard to explain.
We felt that was weird so we went outside thinking maybe she just needed fresh air, while I’m taking her outside she became completely limb, she was unconscious. I began saying baby wake up, baby wake up, she wasn’t moving at all. So, we got someone from the other boat to get some cold water.
We splashed some cold water on her, she wakes up and out of nowhere throws up all over me. She throws up and I say ok there is something wrong we have to take her in, mind you we were in Shasta Lake so there is no cell phone service so we couldn’t call anybody.
Another boat that was nearby came to help us, we jumped on the boat with my baby and took off, we called 911 for about 7 minutes trying to get ahold of somebody. In the meantime, we were trying to keep her up because the worst thing you want in a situation like that is her falling asleep, so luckily, we got her to the marina and got ahold of the ambulance to get to the hospital. We found out that she had carbon monoxide poisoning.
It was crazy because she could have died, I thought for 3 or 4 seconds that she was going to die in my arms. It was that bad. But God is good. He took care of my baby, she is doing good very good right now, so we don’t know as far as long-term effects are concerned but as of right now she is doing amazing. I would recommend all parents to buy carbon monoxide detectors. There only about $20.00 each. You just never know.
That’s a pretty intense situation. Many people don’t have a lot of knowledge about the dangers of carbon monoxide, so I’m happy you were able to shed some light on that subject. So, let’s talk about business for a minute. I see that you started your own reality company. Tell us about that process?
Yeah man, I started my own company Gunn Realty. It was a tough process. So, while I was recovering from cancer a while back, I figured I’ve been in real estate for a while and might as well be my own boss and get my broker’s license. That’s probably one of the hardest test I’ve ever had to take.
It took me four times to pass it, but once I passed it I let it sit for a little not sure what I was going to do but I knew I needed a plan B. I was laid off from my previous job, so I decided to bet on myself. I started my own thing on a full-time basis. The layoff gave me the kick in the pants I needed and I never wanted to be in a situation where I was always wondering “what if” you know, what if I did this or that, I rather fail than ask myself what if.
So that’s how it segued, buts its doing well, real estate is booming and there is so many ways to make money and so many ways to help people put themselves in a position to buy a home instead of renting. People don’t think like that. They figure they just don’t have the credit. You will be surprised how many programs are out there.
So, I say try, because if you don’t get approved we can create a plan to get you there. If you look at stats, real estate, and financial freedom pretty much go hand and hand. If you can use real estate to leverage paying bills off or paying college tuitions for your kids, why not? It’s your own bank account. So, you should think bigger. That’s how it started and that’s where I’m at right now.
That’s a good point, real estate is one of the best investments you can make. Are there any other business ventures your involved in?
Yeah, I am involved with a company called ACN Inc, everything I do goes into real estate, so I can help you make money on your bills or save money on your bills because you are going to pay for utilities anyway. A lot of people have home security systems too, so there are a lot of services I can offer at a lower rate and I get residual income for it.
You never want to put all your eggs in one basket, this is for anybody younger. They need to learn how to make money while their sleep. We need to get rid of this linear mentality, which is if I work I get paid, if I don’t work I don’t get paid(laughs). Warren Buffet does it, Tony Robins does it, all these people who are successful, have multiple streams of income without them doing the work. So I’m involved with that.
I also started an education program at Renatus where I am going to learn how to be a real estate investor, so I will be able to help people get started in becoming real estate investor as well, which does not require a license at all. I will get a percentage of it as well, my mindset is, with everything I do I want to find out a way to get paid for it but also help people.
Why waste my time giving people information and they be on their way? I want both of us to benefit. So, because real estate is up and down I want to have revenue insurance, we have car insurance, we have health insurance but know one has revenue insurance. If I have a bad month in real estate and do not sell any homes I can get money from other places to help me out. When I lost my job, I lost 75% of my income.
I made good money there. So now, you know, most people don’t have that plan B. It’s a mindset of betting on yourself, that’s a tough thing to do, but it’s the most rewarding because I spend a lot of time with my family. I’m watching my babies all the time, I’m walking them to school, it’s great for me. I work from my house, so if I don’t want to work for a day I hang out with them. It gives more time with what’s important.
Now, you mentioned earlier that you had cancer. Explain to us how that came about?
One day I was at work, on the phone talking to a customer and my nose started bleeding out of nowhere, keeping in mind I’ve only had 3 or 4 nose bleeds in my whole life. So that was weird, it was leaking pretty bad, so I go home and tell my wife, we thought it was a onetime thing. The next morning when I wake up there is blood all over my pillow, which I still thought was just weird I tried to go to work and it continued to bleed.
I go to the hospital and they do a biopsy, so they take a tool that is 7 to 8 inches long and put it in your nose. When they ran test, they discovered it was, using the medical term an olfactory neuroblastoma. So pretty much it was a tumor in my sinuses and it was cancerous. The short version is they had to go through my nose, clean up my entire sinuses that was actually overlapping a part of my skull so they had to chip off a piece of my skull where my brain was exposed, it was wild man(laughs).
So, when I had the surgery they told me, which was probably the scariest part, the neuro surgent comes in and says, we are going to try and get everything through the nose but if we can’t we are going to cut you from ear to ear, pull out your skull and go in that way. I was like “Oh my god” (laughs) thanks for telling me man, this is literally an hour before surgery, didn’t tell me before in the pre-opt, so I’m already scared, that just made it worst.
The surgery was scheduled for 4 hours, it ended up taking 10 hours to complete, they found a spot on my brain. they zapped it with a laze, it was about the size of the point of your pen. I was in ICU for 7 days I couldn’t walk, my brain fluid was literally next to me, it looks like apple juice just in case you want to know(laughs).
I had a spinal tap too, that’s why I couldn’t move, they had to drain my brain fluid so that area could heal up, so they had to put balloons in my nose as well as deviating my septum. Once I was done with that I had to learn how to walk again, that took about a day(laughs), I lost a lot of weight, then I had to do radiation for 6 weeks.
Now I do yearly test and I have been cancer free for 4 years. This type of cancer was rare, only 1,800 cases in America at the time. My head and neck doctor says I am the youngest patient he has seen with this type of cancer. I’m just happy I had insurance, and I went to the doctor to get checked up. If I didn’t I probably wouldn’t be alive right now it was barely stage two when they caught it, it could have been terminal, you know, God is good man and I don’t foresee it coming back. I get checked every year along with a MRI.
Wow!! I could only imagine how difficult that was for you. I bet going through something like that changes your outlook on life?
That’s exactly why my mindset has changed, especially with business, really with just life in general. I don’t have that fear of failing anymore. I’ve had that fear in the past as well as caring what people would think of me, I don’t care anymore. What’s more important is taking care of my babies if something were to happen to me.
When I first was diagnosed with cancer my son was 7 or 8 months old. My first question to myself was, all shoot; am I going to see him graduate High School? I don’t have anything for this boy. I had maybe $10,000 but that’s not a lot of money. Even with things like a 401k, I mean even if you have a 100k in there that’s great but that’s not a lot of money when it comes to retiring.
I actually did the math, if I spread that hundred grand over 20 years that’s only what $1,400 a month? That’s not a lot of money at all. I just want to put myself in a position where I have a legacy for my kids. That’s why I’m doing everything that I’m doing. I learned that if you want to be a leader you’re going to be alone.
When people see some of the stuff I do on Facebook they’re thinking all this is a scam, this is this, this is that and you’re entitled to your own opinion but can you tell me why you feel that way? In my opinion if everyone was doing what I’m doing everyone would be doing well. Going back to what I said earlier everyone has such a linear mentality.
We go to work, we get paid that’s all we think about. We are coached to get a good education which is all good go get a job, you know people having jobs is fine. The point is that’s not all, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Even if you’re selling something like Mary Kay you have extra income. I’m not disrespecting anyone that has a job, but don’t be that person that says I hate my job, I’m not making enough money, then I come to you with an opportunity and you say oh no that’s a scam. I’m just trying to get people to think outside of the box.
I completely understand that sometimes you have to think outside of the box to get to where you want to go. Okay, final question. If you could talk to a young person that may be having a child or considering it. What advice would you have for them.?
It’s funny because I was thinking. When will it be time to have this conversation with my son? but my daughter is older so she will be the first to have that conversation (laughs). Here’s what I would say. If this is the man or woman that you want to be with for the rest of your life, go ahead and have sex.
We need to change their mindset, once they’re thinking about having sex or decide to do it. In their mind, they should be thinking. Do I want to be with this person for the rest of my life? Why? if you have a child you guys are going to be connected no matter what. It doesn’t matter if you hate them or love them, you are connected for life now. So, if my kid considers those things and still wants to have sex, knock yourself out.
Ok David, thank you for sharing with us today!! We understand that having such a candid conversation isn’t always the easiest thing do. So, for that we are appreciative. Thank you again from Melanated Fathers of America!!
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