Tara McCallan

Refuse To Sink

TBOP2017 ⋅ 5:10 ⋅ Filmed May 12, 2017

No matter who you are, life isn’t easy. We all face enormous challenges and experience our own personal tragedies. In this profoundly honest clip, Tara McCallan talks about the difficulties of her life. Being a blogger exposes her to negative comments and judgement online. Working in a non-profit — particularly one that so often deals with sick and dying children — is emotionally draining. Being a mother to a child with extraordinary needs, a child who has been through 11 surgeries, has its heartbreaking moments. But she gets her strength and tenacity from her fiercely positive daughter who refuses to sink. No matter what is crushing you, no matter what impossible situation lies ahead, Tara implores you: refuse to sink.


The main thing that I think my little girl, Pip, has taught me in life (voice quivering) is just refusing to sink. All of us go through a lot in life. All of us have stages where we feel in ruts and we have burnouts and our careers don't feel fulfilling or what not. I think for myself, I said it in the panel, but running nonprofit can be really tiring and it can be really thankless.

[00:32] We run something called Kick-It-Capes and this project started because my best friend had a little boy, Mason. She called me, she lives maybe 8 hours away, and called me and told me her little boy has cancer. I put a message out on Happy Soul Project. Just one little message and I just asked someone if they could make one cape. Right away numerous people were sending me messages and dropping off capes and doing all these sorts of things. From one little cape and one little boy, we all of a sudden has this really important non-profit project where we send these personalized superhero capes all around the world. We encourage kids to fight whatever we are fighting.

[01:21] But at the same breath, my best friend lost her little boy and working on this project (crying), is really heart-breaking. We do it and it's powerful. And it's something so beautiful that I'm so honoured to get to do with her but in the same breath when you get message after message that kids need these capes or you get message and message of pictures of the capes on coffins, it does you in. There's this whole component of running a nonprofit that really drains you.

[01:59] There's also this whole piece of being a blogger. Putting your life out there and sharing your life. The ignorant comments you get. The judging you get from other Moms. There's this whole cycle of what it is to be a blogger in life.

[02:16] And then, there's the whole side of being a Mom and, you know, you saw a little bit but my little girl has not had the easiest path in life. Being a Mom to anyone, but being a Mom to a kid with extraordinary needs, is really heart-breaking.

[02:37] My little girl in two weeks time, we're bringing her for her 11th surgery. She's 4 years old and she's going for her 11th surgery (crying). It's to the point now, where she knows what's happening. She knows a couple weeks beforehand that I'm rocking her extra long. She knows a couple days ahead of time when I'm rocking her so so long that I think she's sleeping and she just kind of reaches up and she wipes my tears away. She doesn't say anything, she just kind of wipes them away and we just stay like that for hours sometimes. she knows when, it's the day of the surgery and I'm picking her up and it's still dark outside and she's in her pjs and I'm not giving her breakfast. She knows when we go to that same receptionist and she has Snicker Bars me and teddy bear for Pip. She know when I'm taking her little contacts out and I'm putting her in a hospital gown. And she knows when we go into the Operating Room that I'm getting ready to pretty much put on a concert. My little girl loves music more than anyone I've ever met in my life. As a parent, you're allowed to go into the Operating Room and sign her child to sleep and when she was little could just softly sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” but as she gets older she's wanting like a full on — I had to go in the Fall and like mean Adele — like full on sang out Hello and I looked up and nurse are crying and doctors are like giving it with me. In 2 weeks, I don't know what that song is going to be.

[04:34] But regardless of all that, regardless of the surgeries, regardless of every single diagnosis my little girl gets, she refuses to sink. If I can I leave you anything, it would be that. It would be, take each day as it is, refuse to sink whatever the situation is.

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