This story, for us, hits close to home because it’s about legacy and it’s born of ours – Campowerment’s and our family’s. When we say our purpose is to help you find yours, here’s what we mean.
Fam – let’s enter the origin story of Grand Exit, a double-Camper story of Tamatha Thomas-Haase and Chelsea Leader Gold that began with Campowerment in November of 2019.
Tamatha is many things. One of those is that she’s living like she’s dying because metastatic breast cancer tells her that the scans, tests and treatments won’t end until her life does. Three years ago, Tamatha joined the ranks of many women and became a camper at Campowerment, a gift she gave to herself to celebrate living through, and with, her first cancer diagnosis. After four days at camp, she left feeling cancer-free in mind, body and spirit.
You may know Chelsea, our Co-Founder and CEO, who ran that retreat days before her favorite person in the world (and ours) — her “Grandy” — took her last breath.
Grandy schooled Chelsea, and her whole family, and the hundreds of people (maybe you’re among ‘em?) who held her dear, in how to live, die AND live on. She showed them that their “glory days” can come at any age (for her, it was her 80s), that life can and should be on their own terms…and so, too, should death. And that, when you live how you want to be remembered, living on (legacy) is natural, enlivening, connective and, quite frankly: hard NOT to do.
Shortly after the weekend Tamatha and Chelsea’s paths converged, these two began a journey to create something meaningful: Grand Exit, conversation-starting conversations on living, dying & living on, for those who intend to be remembered. It was to start as a podcast!
Over the years, they’ve clocked hundreds of hours in reflective, stimulating and imaginative conversations; dozens of interviews with strangers and friends on their relationships to death, dying and legacy; and thousands of moments of absolute life-enhancing beauty in the friendship they formed along the way.
When the two began their journey after Tamatha’s initial treatment for inflammatory breast cancer, Tamatha had no evidence of disease, but lived with the reality that the likelihood of recurrence was very high. In December of 2020, her cancer metastasized. Since, they’ve seen her cancer spread throughout her body, including to her brain. In the Spring of 2021, Tamatha’s oncologist made it clear that she likely had until April 2022, which honestly made the podcast far less important than the relationship-building conversations themselves.
From (terrible) hospital stays and the side effects of ongoing treatment; to (gorgeous, dreamy) moves across the country; to planning a wedding and building a marriage; to planning a child’s college visits and raising a teenager, Tamatha and Chelsea witnessed and supported each other through life’s milestone moments, recording so much of the “messy bits,” never knowing how long they had or, really, what it would take to make something of it to share.
Then, in May of 2022, they decided to take their own advice and make NOW the time to do the thing that leaves the legacy of their wildest dreams. They met in LA and recorded 10 podcast episodes — what is soon to become Season 1 of Grand Exit: The Podcast. In it, the two of them, with a few incredible guests, laugh, cry, think out loud and take on the messy job of contemplating the life-death-legacy continuum, so you can turn them off and get started doing the same.
Last week they launched a GoFundMe, seeking to raise $10,000 to cover the costs of production and marketing, to get this absolute time capsule out into the world.
If you’re called to contribute, you, too, can be part of a legacy of empowering others to live in connection with how they want to be remembered, and level-up their relationships with those who get to be a part of their living, and quite naturally, will, then, be key players in their living on.
These two are on a mission in motion to get you…US…talking with more aliveness…more gusto…about the life-death-legacy continuum not for its end result: being remembered for it — but for its present impact on US while we are ALIVE…which increases the chances who we really are will be how we will, one day, be remembered! How awesome is that?!
Connect more deeply with their journey to bring this sucker to life at @grand.exit on Instagram – sign up for the Grand Exit newsletter, and YES – please DO contribute what you can to help Tamatha and Chelsea bring this gorgeous project to life.
And equally as important, share this story with a friend or loved one (or 2, or 5 or 10).
Once again, proud mamas over here. (In this case, literally.)
From the campfire & beyond…