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Posts from the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Anthony Carbajal Puts the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge in Perspective

August 21st, 2014

Lisa Dawson

I’ve been quietly sitting through the debate on the ice bucket challenge because it reminds me too much of the pink ribbon debate and I’m sort of tired of that.

But this.

This is why awareness of devastating diseases is so important, and this is why I believe something as ridiculous as the ice bucket challenge can be an effective educational tool. Forget about the fundraising side of things, how many people even knew what ALS was two weeks ago?


Thanks to Matt Orr and Upworthy for sharing Anthony Carbajal’s video and for putting together the following links:

  • Anthony Carbajal on Twitter
  • Learn more about ALS here and donate here
  • ALS has already raised over $22 million with this challenge – if you’d like to participate, check out the rules here
  • Someone started a YouCaring page for Anthony – if you want to donate to him, go ahead and click here

Sandals Change Lives: Sseko Designs Helps Ugandan Women Go To College

July 12th, 2014

Lisa Dawson

It’s summer time, which means it’s sandal time! I was looking for some cute-yet-functional-and-comfortable sandals for the sunny weather when Linda from Clementine Shoes introduced me to Sseko ribbon sandals.

Sseko Designs (pronounced say-ko) was founded by Liz Forkin Bohannon after she took a post-college trip to Uganda. During her time there she met and made friends with a number of wonderful, smart young women, and learned how difficult it was for them to attend college. Liz wanted to start a company that provided a safe environment for women to learn a skill and earn money for their education, and the idea for the ribbon sandal was born.

Here’s a short overview of the program:

Participants spend nine months in the company factory in Uganda’s capital city of Kampala, after which they will have earned enough money to pay for their first year of college (Sseko matches 100% of their earnings with a college scholarship).  47 women have attended college  in the five years since the company’s founding, and there are 50 current employees. That’s pretty amazing.

We believe that every woman has a dream. When she is given the opportunity to pursue those dreams, we are collectively walking towards a brighter and more just and beautiful world. – Sseko Designs

Sseko is based in Portland, Oregon, but their products are all made in Africa with the intention of creating jobs, empowering artisans and helping end the cycle of poverty through building healthy communities and economies. In addition to the work in Uganda, Sseko designs and sources ethically made products from East Africa.

The Ribbon Sandal

The ribbon sandal is comprised of a base with several sturdy elastic loops and any number of broad, double-thickness ribbons. As you can imagine, the sky’s the limit with the different number of ribbon threading and tying combinations. Sseko has some on their website, and they encourage you to come up with your own. They also have some lovely accessories you can incorporate into your sandal design.

Linda gave me a pair to try out and I spent a little time browsing through combinations in the How To Tie section of the Sseko website. I tried a couple before landing on the Bohannon’s Best. The video was short and timed perfectly for the sandal tying rookie. Here’s my end result!

Bohannon's Best

The feel of the sandal base reminds me of my old Chaco flip flops: very stable with a nice little bounce. My regular size was perfect in length, and width accommodated my wider foot. The nice thing about the design of these sandals is that you can get the right size by simply standing on the base.

Tip: The cotton ribbon will stretch with the first couple of wears, so tie snugly and expect to re-tie them after walking around a bit.

A sandal base and one ribbon sells for $55, or a starter kit (base + three ribbons) is $80. Additional ribbons and accessories range from $10-20.

Useful links:

Another Sunday, Another Training Run

August 19th, 2012

Lisa Dawson

Celebrating CJ Taylor

Distance running is hard.

I don’t think I’ll ever be one of those runners who gets into a “zone” a couple miles into a long run, finishing with the feeling they’ve got more miles left in them. Nope, I’m acutely aware of every single hill, every single mile. With 11 weeks until the New York City Marathon, the training runs are getting longer.

On the bright side, I’m getting into a groove with my fuel, hydration and footwear. I’m feeling pretty good about November 4.

Today’s run was filled with gratitude for many things:

  • My supporters – There’s been a few Are you crazy? reactions (I frequently ask this of myself), but mostly it’s been Go Lisa! Their faith in me and support of this cause spurs me on when I feel like I can’t run another step. There’s no way I could do this without them.
  • My running playlistLadykillers by Lush, Bring It On by Seal (don’t judge) and The Spinanes’ Kid in Candy were some of today’s highlights. Creator by Santigold got me the closest to that elusive running zone. I need to find more songs like that one.
  • Endurolytes – I have a hard time stomaching sports drinks while I run, so these electrolyte replacement capsules (taken with plain water) are a godsend.
  • Honey Stingers Gold – These little packets of magic will probably be on every update.

Today’s run also had me thinking a lot about the wonderful friends of CJ Taylor. August 14 was the anniversary of CJ’s death and a group of us met for beer, pizza and lots of CJ memories.

Celebrating CJ Taylor

She was an amazing woman, and she had a way of bringing amazing people together to do good work. I’m especially grateful to have these people in my life.

donate to Lisa Dawson

Happy Birthday My Tam!

February 7th, 2012

Lisa Dawson

My Tam & Dr. Farah

Every once in a while you meet someone with whom you instantly connect, whose enthusiasm and joy are contagious, who makes you strive to better yourself.

My Tam Nguyen is one of those people.

Last spring, My Tam was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Diffused B Cell Lymphoma. True to form, she set out to beat Zee Cancer.  She started a blog, Tam That Cancer, and chronicled her journey through treatment and self-discovery with grace, humor and amazing imagery. She learned to accept help, overcome fear and test her personal limits in ways I can’t begin to imagine. And by sharing her story, she’s inspired countless others.

January 9th marked her last radiation treatment. She has indeed kicked cancer’s ass. What a great way to start the new year!

Goodbye to my dear, dear friend CJ Taylor

August 14th, 2011

Lisa Dawson

CJ Taylor

CJ Taylor lost her long, hard battle with ovarian cancer today.

She was my friend and my mentor for more than a decade. She made me feel I could achieve anything if I put my mind to it. And I would do just about anything for her.

CJ would see a need in our community and make it her mission to address it. She took her personal experiences with breast cancer and youth substance abuse and worked hard to ensure others could benefit from what she and her family learned.

She founded the Comprehensive Breast Center at Providence (now Swedish Cherry Hill) and later led the Puget Sound Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure in expanding breast cancer screening, treatment and support services for women in our community. CJ and her husband Bob’s own struggles prompted them to create the SAMA Foundation, which provides much needed resources for families dealing with adolescent drug addiction.

Earlier this year she told me she was satisfied with her life, that life had been good to her. I thought the world had been pretty damn lucky she was a part of it. I know I’m a better woman for having known her.

I am so terribly sad she is gone. I will be forever grateful for the gift of her friendship.