Ali Gilmore is determined to be more than a story about beating the odds of late stage cancer survival. She wants to inspire people to face their fears and enjoy life now, regardless of what obstacles come their way, and to get her point across she's willing to face one of her worst fears of all time.
It started by Ali pledging to donate $1 for each copy sold of The C Card and Me, in February to Fin Forward, a San Diego based non-profit program spear headed by Brandon Bethea, who lost his mother to cancer back in 2007. Then, caught up in the moment, she upped the ante by stating, "If we reach the donation goal of $90,000 by March 1st, then I'll sign up for one of the next shark encounters." No small proclamation for a woman who was recently quoted as saying she's so afraid of sharks she looks twice before getting into the bathtub.
Ali added, "It's true, I said it and I meant it, which means it's probably high time I faced this ridiculous, 'Jaws' induced fear."
Fin Forward is a shark-diving program for cancer survivors that came to fruition when Brandon followed through on his mother's unrealized dream to visit Australia. It was there, under 60 feet of water that he had his "Aha" moment and decided to dedicate himself to making this life affirming experience available to others and to help cancer survivors kick start their second lease on life. In 2009, Brandon took the plunge, left his home near Tampa and moved San Diego to launch the program.
"In addition to being one of the most common 'bucket list' items, shark diving can also have therapeutic benefits and act as a catalyst for change. It's about embracing life and moving forward." said Brandon. "Both our stories are about facing fears and making the most of life in the here and now. It's a natural pairing and to me, simple math: The C Card and Me + Fin Forward = Here sharky sharky..." Ali added.