THE DON'T WAIT PROJECT® TOUR IS POSTPONED
At eight years old, I received my first typewriter as a Christmas gift from my parents soon after watching the movie Rocky, both inspired me and cultivated my interest in becoming a writer and storyteller. The typewriter was plastic and bright red, and what I loved most about it was its corrective ribbon⏤I could fix my story and keep writing. There would be many times in my adult life when I would wish that rewriting the hardships in my story could be so simple.
When my husband died in 2004 after a complicated and heart-breaking illness brought on by him cleaning out an old, contaminated cabinet in our garage, I couldn't have known that the medical events in my life would lead to a career as an author, inspirational speaker and patient advocate educator. My only professional goal after becoming a widowed single mother was creating opportunities that enabled me to be home by 3 o'clock everyday when our five-year-old son got home from school.
As time moved forward, and I began crossing the abyss of grief, I became keenly aware of the importance of my family's story, especially when the years of accumulated experience in healthcare crisis helped save my mother's life after a misdiagnosis left her with just hours to live. One day she was seemingly healthy, and the next day we were gathered around her ICU hospital bed.
Surrounded by the familiar sights and sounds of critical care, and reliving the horrific similarities of my late husband's illness, I knew our parents would now begin navigating their own medical crisis. "This is mom's and your in sickness and in health⏤these are your vows to uphold. I can't do it for you, but I can teach you everything I know," I told my dad.
Had I not learned about effective patient communication, coupled with what I've termed as Empathetic Healthcare Practices™, I wouldn't have known how to intervene and help change the outcome of my mother's uncertain fate or teach our dad how to lead our mom's care in the months ahead as she faced setbacks along her complicated path to a full recovery.
Sometimes, I look at her now, and I can hardly believe she's still here. This perspective has taught me that hardship is an opportunity for a crossroad, not an impasse. It's also taught me that life is about trying. Not everyone survives a medical catastrophe, no matter how hard we try⏤my mom and I survived, Wesley didn't. But in the end, no matter the outcome, our son knows we fought for his father's life. And that's a enormous lesson for anyone to learn.
Over the past 10 years, I've interviewed more than 1,000 people, and I've discovered that our values help determine our priorities and our priorities help tell our story. I call these DON'T WAIT stories, the nouns in life: the people, places, things and ideas that we give up on along the way sometimes. We get too tired, too busy, too sad or even too comfortable. I founded The DON'T WAIT Project® as a reminder and an encouragement to live the nouns, no matter the obstacles.
Today, I embrace the opportunity to inspire and inform people who can learn from my family's experiences by encouraging people to boldly live their own DON'T WAIT story and by helping patients, caregivers and providers better maneuver a healthcare crisis.
Life with Lisa Bradshaw began as a radio show in 2008. In 2011, Lisa released her second book, Big Shoes: A Young Widowed Mother’s Memoir, and founded The DON’T WAIT Project®⏤a 501c3 non profit organization committed to raising community awareness about how positive life choices can impact the health and welfare of individuals, organizations and communities.
Lisa is a 24-year cancer survivor, who became her husband's caregiver eight years later. Navigating her own illness and the illness of her husband taught Lisa the lessons needed to later help save her mother's life after a misdiagnosis brought her within hours of death.
Lisa has built a career as a storyteller by seeking the balance between what she's lost throughout the medical crises in her family and what can be gained from the lessons learned⏤before, during and after these experiences. She's received rave reviews for her two keynotes: How Surviving Cancer and Navigating My Husband’s Death Helped Save My Mother’s Life and Living the Nouns in Life: What’s Your DON’T WAIT Story?
Lisa hosts a television talk show and travels the country interviewing people who are living their own DON’T WAIT story. She also produces webinars, trainings and breakout sessions on what she has termed as Empathetic Healthcare Practices™. She is a TEDx speaker and endorsed by several leading physicians throughout the country for her work as a patient advocate.
Lisa has been a guest on national television and radio, and her story has been featured in multiple print media outlets and online, including Oprah.com, The Rachael Ray Show, Oprah Radio, InStyle, Parents, Positive Impact Magazine, The Good Life, Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Moms and more.