DON’T WAIT Project tour set to launch March 16
The passion to make a difference in the lives of other people burns brilliantly in the life and work of Wenatchee’s Lisa Bradshaw. She’s put her heart and soul into her nonprofit — The DON’T WAIT Project — that motivates people to do things that give their lives meaning, joy and fulfillment. She’s soon to launch a seven-state driving tour throughout the western states to take this message to multiple communities and gather personal stories that align with the Don’t Wait message.
I had the honor of interviewing Bradshaw for my Art of Community NCW podcast recently. We spoke about her journey through heart-wrenching losses and the resiliency she discovered to raise a terrific son, write a book about the experience and start The DON’T WAIT Project. You can hear our conversation via iTunes or by accessing artofcommunityncw.com.
If you haven’t read Bradshaw’s book, “Big Shoes: A Young Widowed Mother’s Memoir,” it’s a must read. In it, she takes the reader through the last year of her husband Wesley’s life as he fought a rare condition that led to a double lung transplant. That transplant came too late, Bradshaw says. Not long after Wesley passed, Bradshaw and her son Hunter visited her brother in Leavenworth and she made the decision to make the Wenatchee Valley her home. Having the opportunity to raise her son in a beautiful smaller community with abundant access to the outdoors cinched it.
She embraced this community and this community embraced her back. Dan Conway of Cherry Creek Radio hired her to host a radio show, and she recently launched “Life with Lisa Bradshaw” on NCW Life TV. It’s not about her life — it’s about life in the community.
Conway, who passed away last year, was her mentor and instrumental in Bradshaw finding her voice. It took her several years after Wesley’s death to be in an emotional state to write her memoir and she did so hoping to inspire others to take control of their medical decisions and live purposeful lives, no matter the obstacles.
She credits her resilience to growing up in a family with a “glass is half full” father and a very strong mother who have been married for half a century. She encourages others not to wait to fully embrace life. “What are the people, places, things and ideas that you’ve lost track of along the way because you got too tired, or too broke or sad or complacent or comfortable?” Bradshaw asked.
The DON’T WAIT Project is about encouraging people to do the little things in life like going to the doctor, using your heirloom china, saying, “I love you,” and calling an old friend as well as more profound actions. “It’s about empowerment,” said Bradshaw. “We’re in charge here.”
Advocating for your own health and those of your family members is a powerful passion that drives Bradshaw. She describes in her book pushing the medical staff to diagnose Wesley’s condition and also was dogged in creating as positive an environment as possible around him. She was “his person” just like he was her advocate when she was going through cancer.
The DON’T WAIT Project tour was a logical extension of the book’s message, Bradshaw told me. She feels called to spread this message in every way possible. The folks at Town Toyota Center have sponsored the tour and given her great support. Les Schwab helped with the wrap on her Toyota from Signs Now with Don’t Wait messages and she’ll be pulling a Teardrop trailer provided by Apache Camping Center in Everett on the journey. She’ll conduct interviews with some really interesting people who are building community and living examples of the Don’t Wait mindset she espouses.
Check out Bradshaw’s website at dontwaitproject.org and follow along on her pilgrimage. The official launch will be held on Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Pybus Public Market.
It was a great gift to hear Lisa’s story and learn more about her driving passion to make a difference in North Central Washington and beyond. She’s a remarkable community builder with wisdom and perspective that we can emulate in overcoming life’s inevitable challenges and wholeheartedly embracing our opportunities.