James is a fantastic example of the MDA campaign "Live Unlimited."
Aug 2016
01

James Makes Me Want To Live Unlimited

About 13 years ago, this guy came into my company for an interview. He was a programmer, and clearly very talented. At the time, I thought he was all-business and all about the code. Totally perfect for the job, so we hired him.

James just happened to have muscular dystrophy and be in a wheelchair.

Turned out we hired one of the funniest people I have ever met and someone who has become our friend for life. We now know his whole family and we still see him regularly even though I left the company I co-founded over five years ago.

When the Muscular Dystrophy Association asked me if I knew anyone who lives their life limitlessly that I could honor with a post, of course, I thought of James.

James makes me want to #LiveUnlimited. A shining example of a person enjoying life while dealing with muscular dystrophy. Continue reading…

PBS KIDS Arthur - Storm Shelter
Sep 2015
03

PBS KIDS Helps Families With Storm Preparedness

The weather has been crazy all over lately, right? Here in Denver we have had flash floods and tornadoes. Not just out on the plains – but in town! Luckily my son, at nearly 13, has an easy time understanding what to do.

How to we help the little ones, though? PBS KIDS to the rescue! Both Arthur and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood will be airing new episodes on September 8th dealing with just this issue. (New episodes of preschool math series PEG + CAT will also premiere that week.)

PBS KIDS Daniel Tiger - Storm Preparedness Continue reading…

Jul 2015
24

Light For Light: #ElectrifyAfrica

I don’t remember much of 2011. I randomly caught a very serious ear infection during my annual trek to SXSW in March… and poof! There is really nothing left from that year. I spent most of that time in the hospital, in doctor’s offices and frankly – just laying in my bed sleeping. I have a big window in our room and every morning I would open my eyes and stare out at the pinks of Denver morning, fall back asleep… and most days – watch the deep oranges of sunset from almost that exact spot.

Pink Fuzz

Some days I made it outside to tinker with my poorly neglected garden. I distinctly remember just watching the sun, and light, and feeling very lucky.

It sounds dramatic when I talk about it, so I try to give the quick glossy version these days. But the truth is, I almost died, several times. The ear infection was so severe that I had regular checks to see if my skull had cracked. Two surgeries and one major hearing loss later, I am fine.

OrangeDust

But what if I hadn’t had access to medical care? Both here in Denver and in Austin, I had the best of everything. “No. I don’t want the 32 slice CT scan. I want the 128 slice. Yes. Do it.” My doctors had everything they needed at their fingertips.

But what if they had no… electricity?

At all.

Red Veins

One talk that struck a cord with me when I attended the ONE Aya Summit last year was how many parts of Africa have no electricity. None. Zero.

Hospitals are running on generators, at best. A shocking seven in 10 people in sub-Saharan Africa (nearly 600 million people) do not have basic access to electricity. Even worse, 30% of health facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, which serve an estimated 255 million people, are without electricity.

Berry Flavor

The Electrify Africa Act of 2015 would prioritize and coordinate U.S. government resources in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020 to:

  • Promote first-time access to electricity for at least 50 million people, particularly the poor.
  • Encourage the installation of at least an additional 20,000 megawatts of electrical power in both rural and urban areas using a broad mix of energy options.
  • Encourage in-country reforms to facilitate public-private partnerships and increase transparency in power production, distribution, and pricing.
  • Promote efficient institutional platforms that provide electrical service to rural and underserved areas.

Not only is this the right thing to do, this is the smart thing for us to do – for our planet *and* our budget. Africa has yet to harness the majority of its natural energy capacity, putting them in a position to do it right from the start. Also? The US Congressional Budget Office estimated that enactment of the legislation’s previous version would save $86 million from 2014-2017.


 How can you help?

Read up on the issue. Spread the word.

Sign this petition to let our leaders know you support #ElectrityAfrica.

 

ONE Aya Summit
Nov 2014
20

AYA Summit – ONE Campaign & ONE Girls + Women

Sometimes you attend a conference that fills you up with so many emotions, and so much knowledge, it takes you some time to process it. Such was the case for the first ever AYA Summit, held at Google’s Washington DC offices and hosted by the ONE Campaign along with their new initiative, ONE Girls & Women.

I had first heard of ONE about 10 years ago at an U2 concert with my close friend Marabeth. She and I went to college together and have seen U2 more times (together and apart) than I can count. Bono is a co-founder of ONE, and spoke passionately about the organization then, as he does about pretty much everything. But here is the thing, ONE has become a major advocacy group around the world, so it’s not just Bono’s voice – it’s all of ours – speaking out to fight poverty and disease.

Given my background in public health and cancer prevention for nearly 15 years, these issues are very important to me. I was honored to attend the AYA Summit with fellow bloggers from around the world, and meet people who are making such a difference in terms of health, economic stability, energy, human rights – particularly in Africa. As many of these problems affect women disproportionally, the majority in attendance and the majority of the focus was on female issues within the scope of global crisis.

“Aya” is a hardy west African fern, and the name was meant to represent the resilience and strength girls and women show during times of great stress. Continue reading…

Nov 2014
12

The Darkness of Diabetes

I have had diabetes for over twelve years now. Probably more, because they were pretty sure I had it for several years prior to diagnosis. The first ten years were a cakewalk. I only took a little bit of medicine and checked in with my doctor and really not much else. Then there was that time in my life when things got rough. I call them the Dark Years.

It was when my mom got sick and I got sick and other then that bad time in childhood with my dad, it was pretty much the worst period of my life. The good news is when you have a bad couple years, you appreciate the good ones so much more. After I spent nine months on my back with the ear infection my body didn’t bounce back easily. Part of this I know is age; when you’re over 40, things just take longer to heal. But it just seemed like my pancreas has decided it just wasn’t going to work anymore. So I was taking all kinds of different meds and lots of insulin. Continue reading…