There is nothing that I admire more than people who use their life challenges to make a difference for others. Rai Alexandra is one of those magical people who I truly admire for her resilience, vision and tremendous heart. Read on for my interview with this inspiring woman.
1) We want to know about YOU! Please share about yourself!
Hello World! My name is Rai, and it rhymes with Sky, and I am a grateful and happy-go-lucky gal, who loves the world, enjoys being of service and inspiring others.
Like most all of you, I've had my fair share of ups and downs, where situations have tried to break me. As the world was ringing in the New Year in January of 2015, my six-year relationship (with my great love, whom I was convinced I'd marry) came a crashing down on me, imploding & exploding. As if that wasn't traumatic enough, on Feb. 27th (2015), life decided to pitch me yet another curve ball at the highest of speeds. So, you ask - "What can be worse than a broken heart?"... Cancer! Cancer came in to save me from being broken hearted. Strange but true. It took over my life in such an all-consuming way, that I had No Time to be broken hearted!
If it wasn't for the Big C - I might still be wallowing in that old heartache. Thank you cancer.
I've been in my own personal healing going on three years now - marching to the beat of my own drum. I am still here, living, breathing, walking, talking - smiling and inspiring others. I am beyond grateful to be alive. My life isn't defined by cancer - but let me express that it has been a blessing in disguise. Cancer has "awoken" many parts within me. Today I am kinder, more patient, softer soul. I am still working through many life issues, but being alive is indeed the greatest gift. I want to share my story with as many as I can, to let everyone know that its not about "what happens" to you - but all about your "attitude". And yes, when life gives you lemons, go better go ahead and learn to make the most delicious lemonade, ever!
2)Why were you inspired to start LyftedUp.Org?
Oh, cancer's a bitch at first: super scary and confusing - it's all consuming. You can feel as if you're going insane and all you want is for it to "go away"! Patients are put through the meat grinder of hospital visits, you get poked and prodded, routines, check-ups, PET scans, MRI's, blood work, needles, pain, etc etc... It's beyond daunting, and I was experiencing all this first hand. And though I felt blessed for my upbeat and peppy attitude (even when I was scared to death), I knew others didn't have my kind of energy...
I'd have to guess that about 90% of all the patients I'd come across had fear and sadness in their eyes. Many were in the hospital without family or friends - no support system at all - low income - few resources - so I got a flash of a bright idea. I am a LYFT driver part time and have access to wheels (which you desperately need in Los Angeles), and I thought to myself, HEY, I CAN HELP THESE PATIENTS! Why yes!
I can not only brighten up their day with a peppy talk or a smile, but by giving them a FREE RIDE! It may seem like a tiny little gesture, but it's often, all those little things in life, that add up to a whole lot of love. And that's how it all started folks...
3)How has being a cancer patient changed you?
As I mentioned earlier, cancer got me to switch gears. It got me out of a massive heartache funk, that could have lasted forever. Cancer has made me appreciate life even more, seeing how DEATH is no longer an abstract concept of "oh, we are all going to die one day" - nope! Now it's like, "hey, you will die and today could be your last day on Earth, so you better make it count, Sister!" When you live like you're dying, you take NO THING for granted. Ever. Especially "time".
4)Why is LyftedUp needed so badly?
Like I often say: Its the little things that are filled with the most amount of love.
To be frank, both UBER & LYFT's end goal is to eventually introduce driver-less cars, not to create jobs for humans, so this here is just a temporary chapter (for drivers). But perhaps we can change that!
When I go out to pick people up, and take them from Point A to Point B (whether they are a cancer patient or not) I am connecting on a deeper level - a soul level. Often there are stories shared (from both parties), laughter, giggles, heartache, frustration, etc etc - it can be beautiful. My energy, my verve, my peppiness stays with them. Now imagine what that does with someone who is sick and scared and tired. It's medicine! It's soul food! Its healing!
Patients get out of my car with a gift, and I know I gave them something: energy, love, support, a kind smile, eye contact.., you name it. It's been gifted. And they too add to my own richness - works both ways. I don't want this chapter to end. I want to keep on giving. You won't get my love and energy in a driver-less car. You simply won't.
5) What message do you have for cancer patients?
Ask for help! It's out there - you're not alone. You simply aren't. But you have to make a move, and often, you have to make the first move: Get help, read books, talk to other patients, get different opinions, get involved locally, serve others...
When you step out of your own story, & get out of the victimhood of sickness, you can dramatically change your life. By helping others, we not only help ourselves, but we can heal ourselves too!
6) Where can we follow you and how can we support you?