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AWARENOW

ISSUE 08

T H E AWA R E N E S S T I E S ™ O F F I C I A L M A G A Z I N E F O R C A U S E S REAL ROYALTY

(ON THE COVER)

ISABELLA BLAKE-THOMAS

ON EMPOWERMENT THROUGH MOVIES AND MUSIC & THE RELEASE
 OF HER FILM ‘SECRET SOCIETY OF SECOND-BORN ROYALS ON DISNEY PLUS

SIPPING HOPE JONNY BOUCHER

WHOLE HEALING ARIELLE CAPUTO


MATTERS OF THE MIND DR. NICOLAS BAZAN

HOLDING HOPE

TRI BOURNE | WILSON

THRIVING VS SURVIVING FOUZIA MADHOUNI

BEYOND SUSTAINABLE TIFFANY KELLY

NAMASTE NATALIE NATALIE ASATRYAN

BATTERS FOR BALLOTS ATHLETES UNLIMITED

THE LIFE EDITION C O N F R O N T I N G & O V E R C O M I N G L I F E ’ S O B S TA C L E S


Every 68 seconds someone in the US develops Alzheimer's. This is why every second in our lab spent to find a cure counts.

NEUROSCIENCE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE FOSTERING AND CONDUCTING SCIENCE OF THE HIGHEST CALIBER THAT ADVANCES THE UNDERSTANDING OF BRAIN FUNCTION AND DISEASES THAT AFFECT THE NERVOUS SYSTEM SINCE 1989 WWW.MEDSCHOOL.LSUHSC.EDU/NEUROSCIENCE

DONATE TO SUPPORT RESEARCH GIVE.LSUHEALTHFOUNDATION.ORG/GIVENOW


THE LIFE EDITION

In this month’s edition of AwareNow, we explore the many obstacles life brings. Through exclusive interviews and personal stories we find how to confront and overcome them. This issue’s focus is on Suicide Prevention & Alzheimer’s Awareness. AwareNow™ is a monthly publication produced by Awareness Ties™ in partnership with Issuu™. Awareness Ties as the ‘Official Symbol of Support for Causes’, is changing the way causes are supported with a tie that raises both awareness and funds. We raise awareness with national campaigns and funds with local events and online fundraisers.

06 MATTERS OF THE MIND

32 I SEEK TO UNDERSTAND

58 GLOBAL GOOD

10 PLAYING 4MOM

36 HOLDING HOPE

62 BEYOND SUSTAINABLE

12 REAL ROYALTY

40 SAND ANGELS

66 BATTERS FOR BALLOTS

18 CALLING TO CRY

42 THRIVING VS SURVIVING

70 ‘V’ IS FOR VOTE

22 A WORK IN PROGRESS

46 THE WAR WITHIN

74 ARTICLES WITH ALEX

24 SIPPING HOPE

50 WALKING THE WALK

30 UPON OUR FACES

54 WHOLE HEALING

DR. NICOLAS BAZAN

VICTORIA HAYWARD ISABELLA BLAKE-THOMAS JOEL CARTNER

JACK McGUIRE

JONNY BOUCHER

PROVIDENCE BOWMAN

I UNDERSTAND/VONNIE WOODRICK TRI BOURNE/WILSON ELIZABETH BLAKE-THOMAS FOUZIA MADHOUNI ALLIÉ McGUIRE

NATALIE ASATRYAN TIFFANY KELLY

ATHLETES UNLIMITED

VANS/DOUG PALLADINI WILL SHAIN

ROB BLISS

ARIELLE CAPUTO

BE READY JOIN THE AWARENESS TIES COMMUNITY

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Awareness Ties™ stands beside our allies on the frontlines of the Black Lives Matter movement, the LGBTQ community and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as every man, woman and child. We stand for equality, unity and inclusivity. Right now, history is being written. A new narrative is being drafted. While we can't change the past, we can change the future. On, November 3rd, please be sure to vote. A special thank you to our content contributors and interns. Thank you to our partners and sponsors. Without you, our work to raise awareness would not be possible. For those of you reading, please join our community: www.awarenessties.us/join

ALLIÉ McGUIRE Editor In Chief & Co-Founder of Awareness Ties Allié is a Taurus. She started her career in performance poetry, then switched gears to wine where she made a name for herself as an online wine personality and content producer. She then focused on original content production under her own label The Allié Way™ before marrying the love of her life (Jack) and switching gears yet again to a pursue a higher calling to raise awareness and funds for causes with Awareness Ties™. Connect with Allié on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alliemerrick JACK McGUIRE Production Manager & Co-Founder of Awareness Ties Jack is a Gemini. He got his start in the Navy before his acting and modeling career. Jack then got into hospitality, focusing on excellence in service and efficiency in operations and management. After establishing himself with years of experience in the F&B industry, he sought to establish something different… something that would allow him to serve others in a greater way. With his wife (Allié), Awareness Ties™ was born. Connect with Jack on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jack-mcguire-609339186 4

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And sometimes the best days require only sunshine and a smile. 5

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When I was just eight years old, a critical life-altering event occurred that set me on this path to begin exploring and understanding the brain. DR. NICOLAS BAZAN

NEUROSCIENTIST, AUTHOR, SPEAKER & EDUCATOR FOUNDING DIRECTOR OF THE NEUROSCIENCE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE AT LSU OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR ALZHEIMER'S AWARENESS 6

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DR. NICOLAS BAZAN

MATTERS OF THE MIND

A NEW FINDING AND A NEW HOPE FOR ALZHEIMER’S

“In this special edition of AwareNow Magazine, I am beyond honored to announce Dr. Nicolas Bazan as the Awareness Ties Official Ambassador for Alzheimer’s Awareness. A world renowned neuroscientist, Dr. Bazan has been conducting research to better understand the mind for years. As the Director of the LSU Neuroscience Center of Excellence, he and his team continue to make new discoveries that provide new hope for Alzheimer’s.” - Allié M. Allié: We’re all tied to a cause. Alzheimer's is yours. Will you share with us the story of your aunt that ties you to this cause? Dr. Bazan: When I was just eight years old, a critical life-altering event occurred that set me on this path to begin exploring and understanding the brain. In my novel, Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind (21), I describe this early experience through the fictional character, Dr. Alvaro Cruz: “...at eight, the course of his life was set when he witnessed his aunt having a grand mal seizure. They were in Salta, on the way to his piano teacher’s house…His aunt began to convulse violently, then fell with a thud onto the muddy cobblestone street. Young Cruz watched in fascinated horror, as though from a great distance that grew greater each moment, as her body flailed like a chicken whose neck had just been wrung. Her feet were shaking as though someone were choking her; she was clawing for her life...there in the sweltering street, he somehow understood that the brain held all the power.” 
 While Dr. Alvaro Cruz is fictional, this event was very real and led to my decision to go to medical school in Argentina in order to focus on the brain. Specifically, I wanted to understand why certain brains, such as my Aunt Tita’s, deviated from others and what I could do to help these patients. These riddles took over my curious mind, and I resolved to chart the maze of the brain and to find the key to unlocking the many mysteries held within this organ. My ongoing quest in biology and medicine is, in a way, a response to a major challenge facing civilization: the growing incidence in the loss of cognition in neurodegenerative diseases as increased life expectancy occurs.

Nicolas Bazan is a man driven by his life's many passions including a thirst for knowledge about the human mind and eyes, and a hunger for great food and fine music. Born in the tiny town of Los Sarmientos in Tucuman, Argentina, Nicolas Bazan's defining moment was witnessing an aunt suffer a seizure while walking him to a music lesson when he was a young boy, putting him on the path to becoming one of the world's premier neuroscientists.

Available on Amazon.

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NEW DISCOVERIES FOR NEW HOPE AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH DR. NICOLAS BAZAN

Allié: Dr. Bazan you have dedicated your career to finding a cure of Alzheimer's disease. Are we almost there? Is there a cure in sight? Please tell us about your latest research. Dr. Bazan: Our work aims to define early cellular and molecular events of Alzheimer’s disease onset and progression, and a central theme aims to gain insight into mechanisms that could contribute to prevent, ameliorate, and eventually cure Alzheimer’s disease. A common thread of concepts includes synaptic/ neuronal damage, essential fatty acids, and cell survival signaling. We discovered cellular and molecular principles that reveal novel pro-homeostatic mediators relevant to counteract onset/early stages and progression of neurodegenerative diseases. These novel mechanisms and mediators are relevant to Alzheimer’s disease, experimental stroke, experimental epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and age-related macular degeneration. Our finding that elovanoids (ELVs) downregulate senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP) secretome and senescence gene program upon oligomeric Amyloid-β peptide challenge offers a new mechanism related to counteracting age-related cellular changes. The senomorphic actions of ELVs suggest that these lipid mediators may be critical to preventing loss of function associated with aging, age-related pathologies, and Alzheimer’s disease. A challenge of civilization is to slow down age-related decline and to be able to maintain quality of life, successful aging if you will. Overall, we hope to apply this knowledge to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other related neurodegenerative disease. ELVs foster repair, remodeling and regeneration and provide a potential avenue to fulfill that hope. Currently, we are beginning to apply our discoveries in the form of patents exclusively licensed from Louisiana State University Health New Orleans in a startup company that I co-founded called NeuResto Therapeutics, LLC for novel discoveries for Alzheimer’s disease as well as Parkinson’s disease, retinal degenerations, stroke, traumatic brain injury, and other brain and retina diseases (www.neuresto.com).

“We uncovered here mechanisms of protection relevant to age-related macular degeneration and Alzheimer's disease.” ‘ELOVANOIDS COUNTERACT OLIGOMERIC Β-AMYLOID-INDUCED GENE EXPRESSION AND PROTECT PHOTORECEPTORS’ KHANH V. DO, MARIE-AUDREY I. KAUTZMANN, BOKKYOO JUN, WILLIAM C. GORDON, ROBERT NSHIMIYIMANA, RONG YANG, VIEW ORCID PROFILENICOS A. PETASIS & NICOLAS G. BAZAN

www.pnas.org/content/116/48/24317

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Allié: Science isn't your only contribution to Alzheimer's. You also wrote a novel, entitled 'Una Vida', that was then adapted to a film, 'Of Mind and Music'. For those who haven't yet had the pleasure of experiencing either, please tell us about the story. What is it that you want readers/viewers to take away from it? Dr. Bazan: “Una Vida: A Fable of Music and the Mind” is a loosely autobiographical but ultimately fictional novel exploring neuroscientist, Alvaro Cruz’s lifelong intellectual quest and exploration for a better understanding of the deep beauty and complexity of the human experience. The catalyst for this search is through Cruz’s encounters with Una Vida, a New Orleans street singer who is losing her memory from Alzheimer’s disease. Music, in particular, provides a path for victims of this disease to be reached and therein lies a key to better understanding and treatment of the disease. Ultimately, a scientist must reach beyond what we know, confront his helplessness in the face of such a disease, and looks for alternatives that have been overlooked. The novel was later produced as the award-winning feature film “Of Mind and Music” staring the well-known Portuguese-American actor, Joaquim de Almeida, as Alvaro Cruz, as well as actors Aunjanue Ellis and Bill Cobbs. The film really brings the story to life visually with New Orleans as the backdrop as well as its infamous jazz music. To learn more about Dr. Nicolas Bazan, visit www.awarenessties.us/nicolasbazan.
 To support Alzheimer's disease research by Dr. Nicolas Bazan, please send your contribution to LSU Health Foundation, New Orleans: 2000 Tulane Ave, 4th Floor, New Orleans, LA 70112 – indicate on the memo line of your check: Dr. Nicolas Bazan, Alzheimer’s Research Fund (You are welcome to copy Dr. Bazan at nbazan@lsuhsc.edu). Click HERE to watch OF MIND AND MUSIC on Amazon Prime.

OF MIND AND MUSIC THE OFFICIAL TRAILER

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Memories are so powerful… VICTORIA HAYWARD

PROFESSIONAL SOFTBALL PLAYER, ATHLETES UNLIMITED PHOTO CREDIT: JADE HEWITT, ATHLETES UNLIMITED 10 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM VICTORIA HAYWARD

PLAYING 4MOM

SUPPORT FROM THE SOFTBALL FIELD

“The diagnosis of Suzy Bishop with Early Onset Alzheimer's prompted Braden Bishop to start the 4MOM Charity. It was meeting Suzy years ago that prompted Victoria Hayward to play for and support 4MOM with the help of Athletes Unlimited. She joins others in fighting for the world’s first survivor of Alzheimer’s Disease.” - Allié M.

“I met Suzy Bishop back in 2014 and through Braden and Hunter was able to see the disease take over and the impact it left on both Braden and Hunter. The mind is incredibly powerful and to see her slowly lose memory of their faces and only respond to the sounds of their voices crushed my heart. Memories are so powerful and I’m hopeful that with additional research and funding, we can end this terrible disease and finally have the first survivor of Alzheimers.” Victoria Hayward @victoriahay

PLAYING 4MOM VICTORIA HAYWARD PLAYS TO SUPPORT ALZHEIMER’S WITH ATHLETES UNLIMITED

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Every aspect of what we do can help change lives. ISABELLA BLAKE-THOMAS

ACTRESS, RECORDING ARTIST, PROCUER & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR SUICIDE AWARENESS PHOTO CREDIT: DEAN FOREMAN 12 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ISABELLA BLAKE-THOMAS

REAL ROYALTY

A ROYAL PRESENCE BOTH ON AND OFF SCREEN

“With grace and gratitude she walks with light in a manner that inspires. Our Official Ambassador for Suicide Awareness, Isabella-Blake Thomas, is the embodiment of the term ‘integrity’ as this character both personally and professionally defines her. In an interview conducted by her mother, Elizabeth Blake-Thomas (Filmmaker, Producer and our Official Ambassador for Human Trafficking), Isabella shares details about her work as an actress and a recording artist. It’s an honor to provide an introduction to this young woman who we royally adore.” - Allié M. The Disney Film: SECRET SOCIETY OF SECOND-BORN ROYALS Elizabeth: It was amazing watching you take on the role of Princess January. What would you say makes you so different and so similar to her? Isabella: We are so similar. We are both focused on doing good in the world, being kind and making sure we really think about the consequences of our decisions. She has lived a different type of life to me, she is a real princess for one. We were both homeschooled and we both had very caring mothers. She is happy and wants to make the most of every day. Elizabeth: If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Isabella: My superpower teleportation. I would love to be able to snap my fingers and be anywhere SECRET SOCIETYwould OF beSECOND-BORN ROYALS in a flash. Especially at the moment since it’s difficult to travel and I miss visiting new places. I can’t wait to OFFICIAL TRAILER | DISNEY+ go back to traveling the world. I’ve driven across America and back with my mum 8 times now.

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Elizabeth: If you could have a superpower what would it be? Isabella: My superpower would be teleportation. I would love to be able to snap my fingers and be anywhere in a flash. Especially at the moment since it’s difficult to travel and I miss visiting new places. I can’t wait to go back to traveling the world. I’ve driven across America and back with my mum 8 times now. Elizabeth: What do you think your real life super power is? Isabella: My real life super power is that I’m psychic. I have the ability to dream about something and then 6 months later it happens. There have been multiple times where I’ve been in in a situation and I specifically remember having the dream and being really confused at what it was. This is a new skill I’m learning how to use and embracing its power. I use my gut instinct a lot and feel like I have a special power that could really help change people and help heal the world. Elizabeth: If you could help change the world, what would you focus on first? Isabella: I would focus on making sure every child has access to healthy and plentiful meals. It is something so simple, I am so grateful everyday when I can just walk to my fridge and make myself whatever I want. It is something that everyone should have. It shouldn’t be that people can’t afford or have the means to eat. Then I would try to ensure children have a safe place to live and sleep, followed by an education. I am so grateful everyday for the life my mum gave to me. We need to look after our children, the next generation.

PHOTO CREDIT: DEAN FOREMAN 14 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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PHOTO CREDIT: DEAN FOREMAN 15 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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The Independent Film: SAND ANGELS Elizabeth: What was it like playing an angel? Isabella: I believe that we all have angels. My mum thinks I’m her angel because I’ve been placed on this earth to teach her how to love. We also strongly believe our dog Chai is an angel sent to guide us. I see angels all the time and feel them near me. My best friend aged 101 died a couple of years ago and I know she is represented as a butterfly, she appears whenever I need her support. To be able to play someone’s angel was very special. If we all breathe and stop for a minute and listen, we can all feel some guidance from the universe. Elizabeth: Do you think the lead character in Sand Angels could have chosen a different path? Isabella: I would never tell people what path they should and shouldn’t take. We are all in this world for different reasons. I would like to know I was there for someone if they needed to talk and I could listen. It’s very sad when someone leaves us, so if we all start watching out for each other more, maybe we can help people before it becomes too late. Elizabeth: Having experienced loss in many places in your life, what advice do you have for those feeling sad or depressed? Isabella: My advice is to talk, to anyone. Someone you trust enough to listen. Sharing your problems makes it easier to digest what’s going on in your life. Also, remember that it’s important to sit in your feelings and let your body work through them. Don’t try and push them away.

The Music Elizabeth: As a young recording artist, what’s your next step? Isabella: I’m working on a single at the moment that will be out in a couple of months. I’m also working on an EP that will be out next year. Followed by a music video. Elizabeth: What does your music do for you? Isabella: It’s an outlet. It’s a way for me to truly express what I’m feeling with no judgement. I love being open with people because I’ve found that so many people experience the same feelings I do and it makes it more meaningful to share my stories. Showing vulnerability and honesty is a wonderful thing to be able to share. Elizabeth: What do you hope your music does for others? Isabella: I hope that it shows them they aren’t alone. That at least one person is feeling the same way they are. I hope it gives them an anthem for different times in their life when they need one the most.

The Production Company: MOTHER & DAUGHTER ENTERTAINMENT Elizabeth: Why is it important that at our company, Mother & Daughter Entertainment, you make content that matters? Isabella: Not only am I fortunate to have set this up with my mother, so we get to work as a team, but we also get to make content that can have an effect on people. We love working with people that need mentoring as well, so every aspect of what we do can help change lives. The world needs “good stuff” put out at the moment. Elizabeth: Anything else out would like to share? Isabella: I hope people enjoy watching the Disney Plus movie as well as reading my latest articles. I’m embracing 2020 and I’ve learned so much this year about myself and others. Together we can all make a difference in people’s lives. Thank you Awareness Ties for helping me help others. It’s OK to not be ok. To learn more about Isabella, visit www.awarenessties.us/isabellablakethomas Also, follow her on Instagram (@isabella_b_t). Find out more about Mother & Daughter Entertainment here: www.motheranddaughterent.com

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It’s important to sit in your feelings and let your body work through them. ISABELLA BLAKE-THOMAS

ACTRESS, RECORDING ARTIST, PROCUER & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR SUICIDE AWARENESS PHOTO CREDIT: DEAN FOREMAN 17 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Up until college no one ever asked me about how I was doing mentally JOEL CARTNER

LAWYER, PUBLIC POLICY PROFESSIONAL & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL ADVISOR 18 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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‘UNYIELDINGLY HUMAN’ A COLUMN BY JOEL CARTNER

CALLING TO CRY

A PERSONAL NARRATIVE ON MENTAL HEALTH

“Too often the focus on our surface level requirements leads to the neglect of our underlying needs. Mental health is no exception to this, especially when managing chronic pain. In this article, Joel shares first hand experience.” - Allié M. The Easy Part: I was born at an interesting point in time for severely premature babies, medically speaking. I was born at 25 weeks in 1995. Put simply, my parents were told I likely had a few hours to live, and avoiding the gory details, I got very lucky. But given the circumstances of my birth and all that came after it, from day one we were really just trying to survive. Some things were going to slip through the cracks. For me, one of those “things” was my mental health. 
 
 Up until college no one ever asked me about how I was doing mentally. I didn’t start to actively do anything other than acknowledge my struggle with anxiety, imposter syndrome, and duels with hopelessness and physical and mental exhaustion until recently. It’s not as if I didn’t know I was feeling those things, but when I was a child I didn’t have the words to explain the feelings, and as I got older there was always a reason (usually time, money, or my physical health being more than enough to manage) to put off examining my mental health.
 As we get better at keeping premature babies alive,[1] there will be more people like me, more people for whom our first instinct will be “just make it to tomorrow” and at some point life will calm down enough to take stock of everything else. Speaking from experience, however, there is never really a pause in making it to tomorrow, and putting off something like managing mental health until “tomorrow” really only makes “today(s)” more difficult.
 In my opinion, mental health is something everyone should be aware of no matter who they are, but if I can act as a sign post for future people with disabilities then I will gladly do so. So, for those that come after me, check on your children with disabilities. Teach them to be strong in the face of their struggles, but also teach them that it is ok to not be ok all the time (see below).
 There isn’t a ton of good data on the presence of mental health issues in people with disabilities, but what I can say is this: 1. Speaking incredibly broadly, one in five adults in the U.S. lives with some degree of mental illness.[2] 2. There is an incredibly well established comorbidity between chronic pain (encapsulating 50 million Americans)[3] and mental health issues.[4] 3. The CDC has published guidance stating people with disabilities are more likely to experience mental health problems.[5] 4. The siblings of children with disabilities can also difficulties with mental health.[6] Finding the data is easy, the hard part is talking about what the list above actually looks like. 19 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Above all, I hope you all have someone you can call to cry to. JOEL CARTNER

LAWYER, PUBLIC POLICY PROFESSIONAL & AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL ADVISOR 20 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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The Hard Part: I don’t have a deeply personal anecdote to weave a narrative highlighting a problem or fostering understanding. So, this is what I’ve come to understand and learn in unvarnished fashion: As I’ve told others before, living with chronic pain is a lot like standing in line talking to someone while the people behind you are having their own, very loud, conversation a few inches from you. You can be present in your conversation, but there’s still that part of your brain that’s listening to the people behind you. The only difference is with chronic pain it is much harder to ignore the person behind you, some days he’s louder than others, and of course (on the debilitating days) he takes you, spins you around, and forces you to listen to him explain particle physics to his friend. The harder part to explain is the exhaustion that is the constant nature of chronic pain. I wake up in the morning and it’s there with me until the moment I fall asleep. That consistency is the truly hard part. It can feel as though I spend the majority of my life in pain, alone, and afraid. But that’s not true, there are people that love and care about me, and the only way to manage those feelings is to seek their help, but as most people who deal with chronic health issues can tell you, seeking help presents its own difficulties. When it comes to opening up about chronic pain and mental health, inevitably, my anxiety over feeling like a burden sets in. Anxiety over not wanting to cause people pain with my pain sets in. The odd duality of knowing that though these people are here for me it will always come down to me vs. the pain (or what have you) in the end. None of those things are fair, these are people that love me. I have been told over and over that they are happy to be a shoulder to lean on when I need it, and I’m getting better at accepting that, but I’m not there yet. Again, in my experience, the best way to get better at leaning on others is to voice your concerns over “leaning” to those people. One of the most useful documents I’ve found on the subject comes in the form of the late Stuart Scott’s acceptance speech for the Jimmy V Perseverance Award in 2014.[7] In it, he talks about how others can take up our fight when we need to rest, and as part of this concept he talked about just calling to cry. I think it’s fairly universally human to want to stand strong in the face of whatever our problems are. That perseverance is good, it’s what gets me out of bed most mornings, but sometimes our strength fails and all that’s left to do is cry. Stuart Scott displayed a mastery over emotional vulnerability in pain. My hope is that we can balance the need to face our problems while making it ok that when we are tired or hurting to stop and cry. It’s a popular ad campaign these days “it’s ok not to be ok,” and we as a nation are finally getting to a place where seeking help with mental health is not as taboo as it was. I hope that by showing a slightly more personal angle on chronic pain and mental health you can see that we all need help sometimes. Above all, I hope you all have someone you can call to cry to. [1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4438860/ [2] https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness.shtml#:~:text=Mental%20illnesses%20are%20common%20in (46.6%20million%20in%202017) [3] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/67/wr/pdfs/mm6736a2-H.pdf [4] Institute of Medicine Report from the Committee on Advancing Pain Research, Care, and Education: Relieving Pain in America, A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education and Research. The National Academies Press, 50. 2011. http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13172&page=1 [5] https://beawarebehere.com/cdc-mentalhealth-depression [6] https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/band-brothers-and-sisters/201406/siblings-children-disabilities [7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TdF07xO-eo

JOEL CARTNER Awareness Ties Official Advisor & Columnist
 www.awarenessties.us/joelcartner Joel Cartner is a lawyer and public policy professional with Cerebral Palsy Spastic Diplegia and Retinopathy of Prematurity. Cartner has a background in public health, disability, and education law and policy. He received his J.D. from Quinnipiac University School of Law and his B.A. in Political Science from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Cartner currently lives in Washington D.C. where he works as a Document Review Attorney while seeking legislative employment.

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I’m learning love is more about understanding than misdirection. JACK McGUIRE

FOUNDER OF AWARENESS TIES 22 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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ORIGINAL POEM BY JACK McGUIRE

A WORK IN PROGRESS DIALOGUE BETWEEN THE HEART IN THE MIND

“When the truth is a work in progress. There are no defined lines. No silhouette to hide behind. No absolutions to lose yourself in. I found that finding myself has been a winding path…” - Jack M. I love you so much For loving me Even when I didn’t know how to love myself I love you For seeing my flaws And not wanting to fix them but understand why I have them I love you for letting me breathe I love you for all the scary things you couldn’t see I love you as though I might lose you I love you for making me believe I never will I love you because every misstep is a lesson And I’m learning love is more about understanding than misdirection I love you will never even come close to how I really feel I love you for your heart’s innocence and your will’s confidence

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We need to challenge people, not cancel people. JONNY BOUCHER

FOUNDER & CEO OF HOPE FOR THE DAY & SIP OF HOPE 24 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH JONNY BOUCHER

SIPPING HOPE

IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY (AND TO SWEAR)

“From an online swear jar to a brick and mortar coffee shop, Jonny Boucher develops tools to raise awareness and take action against the stigma that surrounds Mental Health and Suicide with Hope For The Day and Sip of Hope.” - Jack M. Allié: When we look at what a ‘swear jar’, it’s typically a device for discouraging swearing. What you’ve developed is the ‘Stigma Swear Jar’ to encourage people to speak up and speak out against stigma - to share how they really feel expletives and all. Jonny, where did this idea come from? Jonny:

With Hope for the Day all of our work is really wrapped around just how do we empower the

conversation around suicide prevention and mental health in a way that invites people to the table instead of isolates them. Ya know, to quote someone from a big fortune 500 company, “I have never been to a gala where the guy in charge says f*ck so many times, and I felt so empowered leaving that night that I woke up the next morning and I did the action that you asked me to do. I went out there and I talked about mental health.” Stigma Swear Jar is just a fun way of saying, “Hey, you can come here and have a safe space to tell stigma how you really feel. It’s also a fun way for us to raise money, just because we have to be creative in that sense. It’s also authentic to who we are.

SIPPING HOPE AN EXCLUSIVE VIDEO WITH JONNY BOUCHER

DISCLAIMER: This video contains the use of profanity, not in a bad way, but in a good way. That said, it may be inappropriate for children or not suitable for those who are avidly opposed to swearing (even on really bad days).

25 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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F*ck stigma. JONNY BOUCHER

FOUNDER & CEO OF HOPE FOR THE DAY & SIP OF HOPE 26 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Jack: You're doing an amazing job. You’re getting the message out there with “it's okay not to be okay”. You’ve opened doors to a new audience through your partnership with Demi Lovato and Marshmallow. How did THAT happen? Jonny: Yeah! It’s exciting. The track is very fun. It's still kind of weird and me kind of feel like a kid again when I hear it on the radio and I'm like, “Weird. This is really weird.” It's fun. The partnership’s been great. It’s still so young with the track. We’re about to be two weeks old, as a song, and it's performing very well around the world. The partnership came together very organically. Our work with the Van's Warp Tour from 2014 to 2019 and our work with Live Nation for that long too has really opened a lot of eyes for a lot of people because again of our aggressive messaging and our branding. This is a lifestyle brand as much as it is a mental health and suicide prevention organization. Because again, I want people to feel it. I want them to be like, “Yo, I'm gonna wear this message. I’m gonna rock this message. I'm gonna live this message.” With that then we can build out really cool partnerships too, right? So, we’ve been working with Live Nation for quite some time. They’re an amazing partner of ours, and they have an astronomical amount of amazing massive artists. What we’ve been doing behind the scenes has been building out an education opportunity for artists, their crew, their in-house office people, especially during all these really hard times. Out of a couple conversations, we got an email from Scooter Braun. He manages Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and a slew of amazing artists. So, they were like, “Hey, we want to talk to you about a track we're doing.” On the call, they said, “We’re dropping a song. It’s called ‘Ok Not To Be Okay’. It’s Demi Lovato and Marshmello…” Demi and Marshmello, even though they are two separate individuals and and artists and entities, they really came together on this and they they took guidance from Hope of the Day.

OK NOT TO BE OKAY (OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO) MARSHMELLO & DEMI LOVATO

27 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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SUICIDE IS A PREVENTABLE MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS. YOU CAN BE THE ONE TO START THE CONVERSATION. H F T D.O R G


the show must go on… 34 INTIMATE THEATRE COMPANIES HAVE COLLABORATED TO SHOWCASE NEW 10-MINUTE WORKS CREATED SPECIFICALLY FOR A DIGITAL PLATFORM. TOGETHER LA FESTIVAL CELEBRATES THE VIBRANT AND DIVERSE INTIMATE THEATRE SCENE OF GREATER LOS ANGELES TO SHOW THAT THE THEATRE COMMUNITY HAS ALWAYS BEEN ON THE FOREFRONT OF INNOVATION. THIS FESTIVAL IS PRESENTED BY ALTERNATIVE THEATRE LOS ANGELES AND LA STAGE ALLIANCE. THE 3-WEEK FESTIVAL WILL TAKE PLACE ON TWITCH AND YOU CAN REGISTER FOR TICKETS BELOW.

GET YOUR (FREE) TICKETS


“There is a responsibility that lies within us all. There are stories that some of us can tell, stories that some of us have had told for us, and some stories that we have the pleasure of aiding to tell. Being a woman has posed itself as a societal roadblock at times, but it is how we choose to live and tell those stories that make us invincible. There are so many women who have not had the chance to tell their stories; this piece poses as an invitation to tell your story and your experience. It is with great pride and joy that I have the opportunity to share the story of a dear friend of mine. From this point on, may every conversation we have, every story we hear, and every case we hear about soar like a skyscraper.� - Providence Bowman 30 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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UPON OUR FACES By PROVIDENCE BOWMAN There is a mask that sits upon my face, Covering a story that cannot be prefaced, A vat of uncried tears, Every mother and fathers greatest fears, A large piece of my human heart thrown into the air, My mind, body and soul left in despair, My eyes, a deep ocean, now filled with fear, A thought that never fails to appear, Sights, lights, and nights that end beyond midnight, My vulnerability lit up like a spotlight, A battle in my mind, where I must become the whiteknight, A mask that is coming off due to societies greenlight, It is a horrible place to lie you feet on the ground, It is a place where healing must indeed be found, At times it will feel spellbound, But then like all things must, we set off; homeward bound There is no need to feel the burden to conceal, Truth is coming forth and being revealed, You are coming beautifully unbound Loved by all those you choose to surround, Do not let your story fly away like paper, Or fill the air with a temporary vapor, Allow your thoughts, feelings, and healing to taper, Then proceed coming forth like a skyscraper

31 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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su·i·cide: (n.) a terminal side effect to mental illness; the result of wanting one’s physical or emotional pain to end 32 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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FEATURE STORY BY PROVIDENCE BOWMAN

I SEEK TO UNDERSTAND REDEFINING THE TERM ‘SUICIDE’

“With a rustling 2020, a time where life is everything but certain, we must acknowledge our own need for mental health guidance and be able to recognize the help that others may need. We must seek conversation; the ability to talk about mental health, and more importantly talk about suicide. We need to change the defenition and the way that we interact with the noun suicide.” - Providence B. We still live in a society laden in stigma. One that has not yet opened its hands to conversations that need to take place. Conversations that are formative to the next steps we can take as a society to normalize talking about mental health and suicide. The Merriam Webster defines suicide as “the act or an instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally”. Although this is what we think of initially when we think about suicide; it is a much more complex issue, and it is never as simply stated as that. Vonnie Woodrick, the founder of the nonprofit, i understand, is changing the way that we define suicide and empower the conversations that we have about it. When we hear someone talk about an individual dying of suicide, we automatically think or ask “how did they do it?”. We define suicide as a society as an act and not as a symptom of mental illness. For decades people have said those individuals are acting cowardly, taking the easy way out, and not appreciating the life that they have. Suicide is a complex issue, one that many of us choose to not talk about. One that many of us have a hard time defining, one that we have a chance to redefine. Vonnie and her team are aiming to change and shape the conversations we have regarding suicide. This begins by redefining suicide. They are petitioning the change of the definition to “a terminal side effect to mental illness; the result of wanting one's physical or emotional pain to end”. By integrating this new found idea into our minds, we are able to open the door to talk about suicide and where it originates and the deep, profound roots it has within mental health. By whole heartedly changing the stigmatization we have created a home for in our society, and giving our minds a newer and better definition, we are able to find peace and less judgment in talking about this polarizing side effect. Vonnie states “I understand, started simply by sharing stories and by having an army of one, turn into an army of many”. In order to change the conversation we need to start with ourselves, in order to challenge the thought process of others and come out stronger through the stigma. The role that suicide holds in our society is one that holds so tight to an act of taking ones own life. If we change our lens and look at suicide as a side effect of mental illness, we are able to look for it and approach it as a side effect to mental illness; one that will hopefully be result as a side effect for others to open up about pain that they have been feeling themselves and allow them a safe space to seek help. If you would like to participate in this petition, you can read and sign the petition at the i understand homepage (www.iunderstandloveheals.org/petition). Let’s start the conversation by changing the definition.

33 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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I UNDERSTAND A VIDEO MESSAGE FROM VONNIE WOODRICK

i understand (www.iunderstandloveheals.org)provides compassionate comfort to individuals and communities by: • Hosting monthly educational awareness events in West Michigan • Hosting a free, monthly support group in Grand Rapids, Michigan for those who have lost a loved one by suicide • Providing speaking engagements on the topic of mental health and life after losing a loved one by suicide • Hosting weekly, "Be the One" podcast with Aaron & Vonnie. • Hosting free, monthly support group/conversations for the caregiver. • Hosting free weekly walks to "Get Up, Get Out for the Health of it. • Definition Petition - change the conversation by understanding through our Definition Petition • i understand pain, love and healing after suicide by our founder, Vonnie Woodrick with Forward written by Mariel Hemingway Through a partnership with Spectrum Health's Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, i understand funded a full-time clinical nurse specialist position, effective July 2017. This groundbreaking role is the first of its kind in the country. Nurse Ashleigh Kearns is dedicated to educating hospital staff on mental health and providing patients and families with educational resources, emotional support and i understand care packages following a mental health crisis. PROVIDENCE BOWMAN Awareness Ties Project Manager & Columnist
 www.awarenessties.us/staff Providence is a Gemini as well. She is a college student at Grand Valley State University, studying International Relations. She is passionate about using her words for good and is currently piecing stories together in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She loves to spend her free time traveling, with her head in a book, and by the water. She lives everyday by her mantra that we are here to pursue opportunities and “go be awesome”.

34 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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DONATE NOW LOVE. DONATE. UNDERSTAND.


Thinking positively and maintaining hope steers your life back in the direction that you need to go. TRI BOURNE

PROFESSIONAL BEACH VOLLEYBALL PLAYER & PODCAST HOST AWARENESS TIES OFFICIAL AMBASSADOR FOR INVISIBLE DISABILITIES 36 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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FEATURE STORY BY ALLIÉ McGUIRE

HOLDING HOPE

MORE THAN A BALL, IT’S A SYMBOL OF HOPE

“When holding this ball, you are not simply holding 'a ball’. When holding this ball, you are holding 'hope', signed and supported by Pro Beach Volleyball Icon and Invisible Disabilities Ambassador, Tri Bourne.” - Allié M. In an initiative to raise awareness and hope for invisible disabilities, entitled 'Holding Hope', Awareness Ties is collaborating with Wilson Sporting Goods who donated 100 mini volleyballs and Tri Bourne, professional beach volleyball player, who signed each and every one of them, to bring a bit of fun (and hope) to the boys and girls battling cancer at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Wilson is both lucky and proud to have an on and off court hero like Tri Bourne represent the brand. Tri’s comeback story serves as a constant reminder to maintain hope however we can,” said Eli Weiner, Partnerships/Team Sports, Wilson. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. This month as we recognize children battling the invisible disability of cancer, Tri reflected on his personal battle with his own invisible disability - an autoimmune disease (dermatomyositis). With hard work and perseverance, he fought his way back to the court and to a championship title. It was hope that brought him back to the game. It is this same hope that he wants to give children as they battle diseases, like cancer, that aren't always seen but always felt. “Your thoughts lead your actions even if you feel out of control. Thinking positively and maintaining hope steers your life back in the direction that you need to go even when life takes you off the beaten path. It’s really about training your subconscious to always work towards bringing you back to where you’d like to be.” - Tri Bourne To learn more about Tri as an Ambassador for Invisible Disabilities Awareness, visit www.awarenessties.us. Also, follow him on Instagram (@tribourne).

37 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Having experienced suicidal thoughts growing up and being aware of many of my friends that have suffered from depression, I believed then, and still strongly to this day, that it is a subject that should be brought more to the public’s eye. ELIZABETH BLAKE-THOMAS

FILMMAKER, STORYTELLER & PRODUCER 40 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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PERSONAL STATEMENT FROM ELIZABETH BLAKE-THOMAS

SAND ANGELS A FILM TO FUEL CONVERSATION

“When a feature film speaks up and speaks out about suicide, may we all pay attention. Let’s watch, listen and learn through a fictional story with far too many equivocal realities. If we had a chance to step out of our present, revisit the past and reimagine the future, so much might be so different. Big fan of this film by Elizabeth Blake-Thomas.” - Jack M. “Sand Angels was written from the heart. Having experienced suicidal thoughts growing up and being aware of many of my friends that have suffered from depression, I believed then, and still strongly to this day, that it is a subject that should be brought more to the public’s eye. I wanted to shed a different light on the troubling aspects of one dealing with depression, avoiding the all-to-common trivialization of suicide. I wanted to put the film’s main focus on the importance of reaching out to someone for guidance, as sadly so often those with depression feel embarrassed and deterred from doing so.” - Elizabeth Blake-Thomas Click HERE to watch SAND ANGLES on Amazon Prime.

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE 1-800-273-8255

SAND ANGELS - OFFICIAL TRAILER Will Esperanza be able to show Tom the truth about his past, present and future? Will she be able to save all the young people in the world who suffer from depression near Christmas Time? Can Tom be convinced to make the most of his life whilst he has time?

41 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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I needed to remind myself who the hell I am. FOUZIA MADHOUNI

PRO FOOTBALL PLAYER, FOUNDER OF JAGUARS AMERICAN FOOTBALL & BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR (TO BE) 42 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FOUZIA MADHOUNI

THRIVING VS. SURVIVING THE NEED TO SUCCEED AND REFUSAL TO SETTLE

“We have the opportunity to meet a lot of incredibly inspiring and strong individuals. People who have strength that should qualify them as ‘superheroes’. Fouzia is one those. While making her way in the world with only a dream and no path to follow, she is making her own way. Despite gender disparities, racial inequalities and more recently a diagnosis of breast cancer, this young woman is choosing to thrive. Surviving just isn’t enough. She refuses to settle. Only success in her sights, her goals give her the strength she needs to move forward.” - Jack M. Jack: When faced with cancer, most would focus on simply ‘surviving’, but you set your sights on ‘thriving’. Why was it so important for you to stay this course even now with your diagnosis? Fouzia: When I was diagnosed, I was very scared at the beginning. But I needed to remind myself who the hell i am. At that time, and now, being strong is my only option.

THRIVING VS. SURVIVING EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH FOUZIA MADHOUNI

43 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Jack: As a female football player in Morocco, building not just a new team but an entirely new league, you have a lot of ‘uphill’ to face in your battle. Your gender, your ethnicity and now breast cancer. Which of these is the hardest for you? Fouzia: Each battle has its own painful moments. I go through a lot because of my gender. There is disbelief. There are those people who are always trying to put me down whenever I do something to change the situation for better. But that fight was always with a second party. The fight with breast cancer is the hardest since I’m fighting something in my own body and fighting my own negative thoughts. Jack: Even the strongest fighters need someone in their corner. Who has been in your corner through all of this? Fouzia: To be honest I couldn’t do this without my sisters, Salma and Fati, Star and Rocky, Chaimae and others on my team. They lift me up like almost every single day. I really want to thank them all, and I’m sorry if I forgot a name of someone. Jack: You are an inspiration to so many female pioneers both on and off the field. If you had one piece of advice to offer on how to forge dreams into reality, what would it be? Fouzia: I just wanna ask them to remind themselves each day that they are worthy and never listen to anyone who’s trying to put them down - even if that person is a close friend or family member. Only you and your thoughts can limit yourself and capacity. Always make big goals. Being an international football player was a goal that I reached! My next one is to coach in the NFL and make the haters hate more.

Learn more about Fouzia and follow her via Instagram (@fouziamadhouni).

44 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Our first official game in Morocco. We played against the boys because the girls did not want to play against us in the rain. So, my female team challenged the male team. We didn’t win but we did fight like champions. FOUZIA MADHOUNI

PRO FOOTBALL PLAYER, FOUNDER OF JAGUARS AMERICAN FOOTBALL & BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR (TO BE) 45 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Without permission, my body serves as our nightly battle ground. ALLIÉ McGUIRE

FOUNDER OF AWARENESS TIES 46 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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PERSONAL STORY BY ALLIÉ McGUIRE

THE WAR WITHIN

TAKING ON MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS ONE BATTLE AT A TIME

“It’s sort of like the old Hair Club for Men commercial. ‘I’m not just the President. I’m also a member.’ I am no longer just a Founder, I am also an Official Ambassador… for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness.” - Allié M. An invitation to the new world I now exist in exists via Instagram (@alliemswarrior). However, allow me to share this new battle I’ve entered with timestamps as follows…

Thursday, September 10
 I was diagnosed with MS. While a number of symptoms (unexplained numbness, fatigue, imbalance and weakness) presented themselves years before, I didn't recognize them as 'symptoms' until a trip to the emergency room following 3 days of loss of vision in my right eye. An MRI would reveal numerous lesions on my brain and severe inflammation and degradation of my optical nerve. The culprit was identified and confirmed as Multiple Sclerosis. Thursday is the day my fight as an 'MS Warrior' began, as I (like many) am forced to fight a battle within, an autoimmune disease and invisible enemy. As of Thursday, September 10, I am no longer just the Founder of Awareness Ties. Thursday, I also proudly took on the title and role of Awareness Ties Official Ambassador for Multiple Sclerosis Awareness.

Friday, September 11 My body is introduced to a foreign substance. Solu-Medrol (aka my vision’s potential saving grace) is a steroid that prevents the release of substances in the body that cause inflammation. Thursday, September 11, day 1 of my 3 day treatment. In the good hands of the talented team at the Memorial Healthcare Institute For Neuroscience, I’m hopeful with the aggressive doses of Solu-Medrol I will regain full vision in my right eye. As I am hard of hearing, losing my vision privileges would be a hard pill to swallow.

Saturday, September 12 Up at 4 AM this morning, cold and drenched after another hot, sweaty night from which I woke in a sweat soaked tank top and drenched bedsheets. Unable to get back to sleep, I did what we all do. I grabbed my phone and googled it. 'Hot, Sweaty Nights (but not in a good way)' by Stephanie Buxhoven, RN, MSCN turned out to be a good read - a great read in fact. It turns out that there are a number of MS warriors just like me that battle extreme night sweats. 47 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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I offer my own personal account as follows… Stealthy as I sleep the silent enemy approaches. Without permission, my body serves as our nightly battle ground. I cry as I document this, as none of this is with permission. I have no control... Or do I? Hell yes, I do. The tears cease as I smile with confidence in myself and for myself. While I have no control over this disease I have complete control over how I react to it. As a war wages on within, in this case, my body may be forced to sweat, but it will never surrender. Bring any action you choose, MS, I have a reaction ready and waiting even at 4 AM. Over and out. The nurse, a fellow soldier, has arrived with reinforcements... another dose of Solu-Medrol to combat the vision loss in my right eye - another battle just beginning.

Sunday, September 13 Through the stories we write, let’s fight. I’ve made a decision. For you, for me… for ‘we’, I will be documenting my journey from day 1 of diagnosis of MS through the duration of this internal fight against an invisible enemy who has claimed my body and mind (without my permission) as a battleground. In the words I’ll share, I’ll dare to do my best to leave nothing unconfessed. It starts with showing up. Everyday, I will confront my silent adversary and dare him to show me what he’s got. I guarantee I have more. And while there may be a battle lost here or there (though I doubt it), the war is mine to win. In my ‘reaction’ to his every action, I will maintain control that can’t be touched. You see, I accept that I can only play the cards I’m dealt, but please know I’m a damn good card player. Game on. Remember, MS, you started this, and I don’t intend to lose. As you show no mercy, neither will I. What I will do is lead by example and share stories to educate and empower others to do the same. Through the stories we write, we will fight… together.

Monday, September 14 Baby steps. When at the beginning of anything, whether it be a first love, a first job or a first diagnosis of MS, baby steps are required. I tend to run, not walk (ever). That said, the required 'baby steps' I'm forced to slowly take with this new diagnosis are difficult. The pace is a painful one, as I beg to sprint but am forced to stroll. However, I'm finding this 'stroll' is providing me with a sense of unexpected control in the acceptance of the cards I now hold, determined not to fold. Learning to embrace a new pace... one baby step at a time. To hear more of this story, you can check out www.awarenessties.us/alliemcguire. Follow along via Instagram (@alliemswarrior).

48 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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The pace is a painful one, as I beg to sprint but am forced to stroll. ALLIÉ McGUIRE

FOUNDER OF AWARENESS TIES 49 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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The worst has probably been the occasional death threat… ROB BLISS

ACTIVIST & FOUNDER OF BLISS CREATIVE 50 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ROB BLISS

WALKING THE WALK

MAKING A STAND & TAKING A WALK FOR EQUALITY

“Some just talk the talk. Rob Bliss literally walks it. He took a stand (with a sign) to support the Black Lives Matter movement, documenting and recording the responses of people as they would pass by. If you’ve not seen this viral video before, please do see below. After taking a stand, he decided to walk, from Jackson, Mississippi to Washington D.C., holding the sign and inviting others to walk with him. Here’s what he had to share with us…” - Allié M. Allié: It started with standing (with a sign). You held a Black Lives Matter sign in the most racist town in America, Harrison, Arkansas (Ku Klux Klan Headquarters). The video says it all. The video shows how the stand you took was received in person. From those watching from afar, have you received more support or condemnation? Rob: Well lucky for me, the social media world is far more liberal than Harrison, Arkansas was! It’s been 98% all love and support with the exception of the occasional email reheating the same things I heard during filming.

HOLDING A BLACK LIVES MATTER SIGN IN AMERICA'S MOST RACIST TOWN A PERSONAL ACCOUNT FILMED BY ROB BLISS

51 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Allié: Now, you are walking. Through the Deep South and the Midwest, you are making your way in your Black Lives Matter shirt to Washington DC before Election Day to raise awareness. What has been the best and worst part of this journey? Rob: The best parts so far have been 60 something year old liberal women who have mothered me to death along the way. One refused to let me escape without putting a 20 dollar bill in my pocket. They are very sweet. The worst has probably been the occasional death threat, the heat, the guard dogs that have nearly attacked me. Luckily I’m turning north toward the Midwest and the seasons are changing so I hope things improve.

Allié: The stand and the walk you are taking are making a powerful statement in supporting equality. Conversations have been started, for sure. How about conversions? Have you heard any stories regarding minds or hearts being changed? Rob: So far it’s depressingly clear how stuck people’s minds are on these issues. One guy truly in his heart believed BLM advocated shooting cops and white children. I don’t know how to undo something so extreme such as that. I’m hoping that it reaches the teenagers in the passenger seat if I can’t reach their parents.

52 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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I’m hoping that it reaches the teenagers in the passenger seat if I can’t reach their parents. ROB BLISS

ACTIVIST & FOUNDER OF BLISS CREATIVE 53 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Everything you are looking for is already within. ARIELLE CAPUTO

AUTHOR, PHILANTHROPIST & AUTHORITY ON SELF CARE 54 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ARIELLE CAPUTO

WHOLE HEALING

FINDING HOPE AND HEALING FROM WITHIN

“There are all kinds of remedies for all kinds of ailments. When it comes to healing as a whole person, not just one part or another, we ask the one and only Arielle Caputo, author, philanthropist and authority on self care who connects the dots between mind and body.” - Jack M. Allié: The mind and body work as one. With all the directions we are pulled in mentally and physically in our daily lives, how do we begin to pull ourselves together to provide self care for our ‘whole’ selves? Arielle: Everything in the universe is energy. Everything then vibrates at a specific frequency thus influencing our own physical bodies and mental states. Nothing in this universe is in a concrete state, not even a rock. Therefore, everything is having an effect on us in either a positive or negative way. From the food we eat, to the water we consume, to the music we listen to, and tv we watch… even if only at a microcellular level, the frequency at which it vibrates at is affecting us in one way or another. So when we start to look at everything around us that is attributing to the way we feel, we can start to see why one may experience sadness, exhaustion, excitement, or happiness and so forth. When we take a self assessment of what could be influencing us, things can seem incredibly overwhelming, which is why most of us end up dropping a new habit or goal because the task feels insurmountable to maintain. Start Small. My recommendation is to take a look at the little habits or routines that are influencing us on the day to day; what are some very minor steps one can begin to implement without doing a mass overhaul in one’s life. Look, I am a mother; a single mother at that, I 100% get it. We are often super busy, overworked, and barely have the desired solo time for ourselves. The mere thought of adding on another task seems impossible and daunting. Over the years people would tell me to take a glamorous epsom salt rose bath, I always blink with a smile and nod my head while cringing of the replay of my last attempt at a bath and the entire flour bag being poured on my couch because my little one thought it looked like snow. So sit and ask yourself, where can I add a “high frequency” routine or habit into my day that works with my schedule and needs?

Here are my small and easy to implement suggestions: 1. Crystal Water. Get a large glass container. Place a crystal(s) in the base of the glass container. And then add your water into the jar. All throughout the day you are now drinking water in a higher vibrational state. A great crystal to start with is the rose quartz known as the heart stone. I also wear crystals from head to toe. Look up @ores_official or @lillyrosejewelryco for ethically sourced stones. 2. Live-it. Take a look at your eating habits. I don’t like to use the word die-t because it has a negative connotation. I prefer using the word live-it. This is a lifestyle, a way of caring for your body; saying how can I love and show up for myself soooo much even in the food I prepare and feed to myself? Are you eating clean? Consuming food in its closest natural state? Staying away from surgery and processed items and drinks? There is a reason “you are what you eat” is a known saying.

55 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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3. Breathe and most importantly breathe out! Look up an online breathwork class near you. We live such a fast paced lifestyle very rarely taking in deep breaths. Even in this moment, have you exhaled all the way out? In the words of a breathwork facilitator, “Breathwork is a highly effective and powerful tool for accessing the subconscious mind and releasing any stored memories, emotions, stagnant energy, and trauma that may be trapped in the body. @manfromthestars teaches an incredibly healing breathwork class once a month on Zoom. 4. Focused State Moments. Create positive new hobbies. Yoga, meditation class, breathwork sessions, painting, sound baths, float tanks, boxing, taekwondo, gardening… Anything that requires a centered, positive focus will assist you on your healing journey. Create moments/opportunities that bring you to a focused state; right-here-in-this-moment type of feelings, because right here at this standalone moment you truly can be truly whole and happy. 5. Binaural beats. This is one of my all time favorite suggestions because it requires no additional work from you. Music is incredibly healing and influential. Without going into too much detail here, 528 is known as the love frequency or miracle tone. 528 Hz tone is also associated with DNA repair. Start with spotify or youtube and type in binaural beats. You can add sleep, focus, energy, or love… to the search as well. Play this music in the background of your day as your work, shop, cook, clean, or even as you drift off to sleep at night. A few suggestions of artists I love that tune their music to healing frequencies: Ashana, White Sun, and Sacred Earth.

Jack: The realm outside modern medicine offers a number of ways to heal. With tools from crystals to tuning forks and practices from meditation to reiki, there are so many options. You are about to release a show that explores these many avenues for healing. Can you share details? Arielle: A happy life is a well balanced life. How are our relationships? Is my career in alignment with who I am? Do I enjoy movement and staying active? What is my mindfulness practice like… I feel many of us have heard the terms: spiritually, vibes, frequencies and energy, but how does that affect our day to day? Phrases like - thoughts create things or like attracts like. Or ask questions such as - Do crystals actually contain healing powers? Is it possible there is a manual to life utilizing the power of numbers? Does the waxing and waning of the moon actually have an impact on us? We are multidimensional complex beings, it is not possible to have a one size fits all or a one track lane to creating a healthy happy life. Our goal with our talk show “The With Love Series” is to sit and talk with experts to humanize spirituality and bring everyone the vastly fascinating modalities of healing right to their fingertips. We sit with shamans, reiki healers, astrologists, numerologists, psychics, mediums, intuitive channelers, crystal experts, breathwork facilitators, and discuss alternative plant medicines… to find and present their healing gifts in an easy digestible manner.

Allié: Connecting with ourselves is sometimes more difficult than connecting with others. Often it’s easier to pay attention to the voices of others, rather than to our inner voice. Advice for finding ways to quiet ourselves so we can hear ourselves? Arielle: Society has conditioned us to feel that to take time for ourselves is a selfish act. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Our relationship with ourselves determines how we show up in the world.

56 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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We live in an age of constant bombardment, from flashing billboards as we drive down a street, the radio playing throughout stores and gas stations, to constant entertainment available at our fingertips, we can’t even pause and stand in an elevator for 5 mins without reaching for the cellphone to pass time. We are constantly being stimulated by outside distractions. But, when was the last time we sat in reflection and did a self check-in? Have you asked yourself lately how you are feeling and actually taken the time to listen for the answer? My transformation began when I began checking in with myself as I would a young child. “Hi Arielle I know I have neglected you for a while and haven’t always been there for you, but I am here now and I love and appreciate you; what do you need? How can I show up for you? What do you want to say to me?” 1. Journaling can be an incredibly easy way to communicate with ourselves. Just write. Start with writing down your current thoughts, feelings, and emotions. What are you goals? Who do you want to become? What would he/she look and feel like? How would this happy healthy person carry themselves? Look up @wordaful for some beautiful guidance or inspiration for journaling. 2. Set alarms on your cellphone that go off through-out the day reminding you to re-center. When the alarms go off, don’t hit ignore. Pause and sink into your heart space. My two alarms are: a. Say out loud – “I am a love, success, friendship and money magnet. All these things come to me with ease and in abundance.” b. (This one is a reminder) Physically place your hand on your heart. Pause, breathe & visualize loving energy swirling up inside your heart filling it so much that it spills over into the rest of your body. 3. Set the tone. Carve out at least the first 15 minutes and the last 15 minutes of your day solely for you. The last few minutes of your day set the tone for how you will sleep AND wake up. The first few minutes of the day then set the energy for how you will be able to show up in the world. I recommend a meditation or if that is too difficult at the moment, play a mantra that resonates with you. My favorite mediation is Turning Your Love Inward by Dr. Joe Dispenza. Or, you can also do a mantra. “Ong Namo Guru Dev Namo” is one of my all time favorites (easily found with a quick YouTube search). Pray. I acknowledge your spiritual vocabulary. Reach out. Ask for your guardians of love and light to assist you. Either way use this time to check in with you. Everything you are looking for is already within. Sink in to your heart space. You are right on track, exactly where you need to be; growing, moving, evolving, learning, and fine tuning the beautiful gem that you are. Let this article return you to you, Love.

57 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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I actually started practicing yoga when I was five-years-old. NATALIE ASATRYAN

YOUNGEST CERTIFIED FEMALE YOGA TEACHER IN AMERICA 58 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW SERIES BY TANITH HARDING

GLOBAL GOOD FEATURING ROUNDTABLE AMBASSADORS

NATALIE ASATRYAN

“Did you know that this month is National Yoga Month? It is. Did you know that Natalie Asatryan is the youngest certified yoga teacher in this nation? She is. Tannish Harding from RoundTable Global had the pleasure of interviewing her.” - Jack M. Tanith: Natalie you are the youngest female certified yoga teacher in America, what made you decide you wanted to become a yoga teacher at such a young age? Natalie: By the time I was 9 years old, I had tried many activities like sports and dance. I couldn’t really find a sport that I liked enough to want to continue and wasn’t interested by much else. I then realized that after every other activity I tried, I always went back to yoga. I started practicing a little more seriously, leaving my children’s studio and instead attending adult classes. I quickly got used to being the youngest yogi in the room which definitely helped prepare me for teacher training. That year, I decided I wanted to become a yoga teacher. My mom called every yoga studio in our area and more asking if they would let a 9 year old into their teacher training, they said no. Mom and I spent three years calling studios and every time we were met with another “no”, I told my mom to please keep trying. I was determined. When I was 12, we finally found a studio that would certify me and I took my 200 hour training in a room with 10 lovely adults and I got certified. Tanith: Since winning your first Global Youth award in 2018 what have you been up to? Natalie: I’ve been fortunate enough to win a Global Youth Award twice and it's been such a blessing. I’m working with many different charities and non profit organizations to give back. I am working with The Unstoppable Foundation to build a school in Kenya through donations I receive from the yoga classes I teach and also the Red Nose Day Organization raising thousands of dollars for the work they are doing and work with The Red Cross. I am blessed with a great platform to spread awareness of social issues as well as spread positive messages and teach people about yoga. Since winning my first award, I have been spreading awareness about the awards through social media and collaborated with many of the award winners on different projects. I’ve become amazing friends with people in the community and its so great to see how much we can all support each other on the work we’re doing. Tanith: What would you say the benefits to entering the Global Youth Awards have been? Natalie: I’ve found an amazing community of people who get me! In this community, everyone has different projects going on and they understand the work that goes into them. Because of this, they’re always willing to offer support, and I always do the same for them! I've also learned so much! Tanith and Tiffany are helping me embrace my leadership skills and push me to become a better version of myself. Tanith: Natalie, you became a certified yoga teacher at age 12. At what age did you start practicing yoga? Natalie: I actually started practicing yoga when I was 5 years old! I had a friend in kindergarten who invited me to a yoga class and I accepted! I kept practicing for a little while before I decided I wanted to branch out and explore new things. I tried basketball and soccer and volleyball and ballroom dancing and even cheerleading. While I still love doing many of those things, I realized that yoga was what was right for me. 59 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Tanith: Yoga offers so many benefits, what is your favorite? Physical, mental or spiritual? Natalie: The word “yoga” directly translates to “to yoke” or “to unite”. It is literally the unity of the mind, body, and spirit. Therefore, you can't practice yoga and experience benefits in only one of those areas. I love the physical benefits it gives me, like more balance, flexibility, and agility, but the best part in my opinion is the mental aspect. Practicing yoga has greatly improved many aspects of myself and my mind. I am able to focus for longer periods of time and I can stay calm in stressful situations. I’ve used the breathing techniques in many different situations to bring myself back to my center. I think that right now, with all that is going on, these mental benefits are so important. There is SO MUCH negativity out there and it feels like everyday we get more bad news from all directions and it’s overwhelming. This can take a toll on a person’s mental health but I was fortunate enough to be introduced to yoga at such a young age and to be provided with all these tools to keep myself stress-free. Yoga has helped me tremendously in being able to acknowledge what’s going on and I want more people to find a state of calm in these trying times. Tanith: What is your favorite pose? Natalie: My favorite pose is uttanasana (forward fold), it reminds me of my strength and progress. When I was younger and did cheer and dance, the forward fold was my least favorite. My hands were no where near my toes and I felt like I would never be able to do it. I was surrounded by girls who could perfectly fold themselves in half like and I was a little envious. When I got to teacher training utanasana was one of the first poses we covered. When we started, I was a little uncomfortable, almost embarrassed, as all the adults could do the pose, while I, supposedly flexible little kid, couldn't do it. It was through this I learned that yoga has no room for embarrassment or envy. Every night after our 12 hour day, I would practice that pose. I tried pushing and I would wake up sore. By the end of the 200 hours, uttanasana was my favorite pose! Its the easiest pose for me to get into and I love the stretch it provides! Every time I do the pose, it reminds me of how far I’ve come and how much more I can still improve.

TANITH HARDING Director of International Development, The Legacy Project, RoundTable Global
 www.roundtable.global Tanith is leading change management through commitment to the RoundTable Global Three Global Goals of: Educational Reform, Environmental Rejuvenation & Empowerment for All. She delivers innovative and transformational leadership and development programmes in over 30 different countries and is also lead on the international development of philanthropic programmes and projects. This includes working with a growing team of extraordinary Global Change Ambassadors and putting together the Global Youth Awards which celebrate the amazing things our young people are doing to change the world.

60 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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NATALIE ASATRYAN www.natalieasatryan.com

Multi-talented and incredibly articulate Natalie Asatryan, 15-year-old certified yoga teacher combines her creative passions to inspire a new paradigm of intellectually active, spiritual children and teenagers. She’s using the power of yoga and mindfulness to create positive change in the world. Natalie became a certified yoga teacher at age 12 and is the youngest certified female yoga teacher in America. Natalie proves there is no age limit for pursuing your dreams and using your gifts to make the world a better place. She is often quoted saying “There is no age limit for changing the world.” Within just over three years of teaching yoga, Natalie has raised thousands of dollars to support the Red Cross, Red Nose Day and the Unstoppable Foundation, a non-profit that she holds dear to her heart. Through her partnership with the Unstoppable Foundation, Natalie is helping a village in Kenya build a school and get access to education, nutritious food, clean water, sanitation and healthcare. 61 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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As human beings we like to go the route of least resistance but that's not always the best route for our planet. TIFFANY

FOUNDER OF BEYOND BAMBOO 62 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH TIFFANY KELLY

BEYOND SUSTAINABLE AWARENESS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

“And then you meet someone who makes you want to change all of your purchasing habits, and I mean ALL of them. For me, that person was Tiffany Kelly. The platform is Beyond Bamboo. This is the interview conducted by Tanith Harding. ” - Allié M. Tanith: Tiffany, you are the founder of Beyond Bamboo which is a new movement and community focused on going beyond sustainability that also includes an online ethical marketplace. What made you decide to create this platform? Tiffany:

I’ve always been really passionate about sustainability, and a vegetarian. Looking for ethical

alternatives I was finding that I was having to go to so many different places to order things and find nice products. Some places were saying they were selling ethical and sustainable but actually weren't. I got to a point of frustration and needed to do something so what we've created is a whole concept and movement around beyond sustainability. It’s about creating something that is restoring and rejuvenating the environment whilst tapping into local communities and enabling and empowering people to change their mindsets around becoming more conscious consumers. The most important thing about Beyond Bamboo is that it's a movement for global culture change with a hub of knowledge, and resources. So if you want to become more ethical, we want it to be really easy for people to make conscious decisions.

Tanith: We all know that consumer habits need to change for the sake of the earth but what sets Beyond Bamboo apart from other ethical marketplaces? Tiffany: So firstly I want to say those marketplaces are all amazing, the fact that we now have choice and that there is knowledge around supply chain and plastic packaging, I think is awesome and every single person contributing to that is doing an amazing job. What makes us different is that we are trying to create something truly inclusive and global. In addition to that, every one of our partners that we're working with, we work with personally. We've tried to understand where they are at and where they need to be. We offer them coaching and consultancy to ensure they're working towards this concept of beyond sustainability. We’re really aware of the entirety of their supply chain, and of course you know nobody, not even us, is 100% perfect, but we're trying to help everybody on the journey to reaching that end to end striving towards the perfection of making sure that consumerism is as conscious as it possibly can be.

Tanith: People are thinking a lot more about our environment now, what would be the simplest changes you would recommend to maximise impact on the planet? Tiffany: I think the first thing is awareness, every time you make a choice ask yourself the question, is there something I can do differently, or is there an alternative. As human beings we like to go the route of least resistance but that's not always the best route for our planet. Ask yourself the question do you need to eat meat every day? It’s those little adaptations and I think that's one of the unique selling points about Beyond Bamboo because we're a community and a movement. There's a whole area on our website where we supply knowledge and resources about going waste free, recycling, upcycling etc to make those decisions easier for consumers.

63 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Tanith: Beyond Bamboo is brilliant and we love the Behind the Label feature that tells the story of the sellers and why they set up ethical, sustainable businesses, what do you do personally to go beyond sustainable? Tiffany:

I just want to thank our sellers and our suppliers because the Behind the Label feature is about

holding them up as a shining light and saying look at these amazing people, what they're doing is really important! I am personally buying second hand, doing clothes swaps with my friends, and if I am buying anything new it’s from Beyond Bamboo. I also don't buy any animal products because they are actually in some things that people don’t realise.

Tanith: Many of the current sellers are UK based, what are the next steps for BB and when can we expect to see more sellers in the USA? Tiffany: We've got huge ambitions to grow and to scale globally and we've already done a lot of the work, in the next few months people are going to start to hearing the name Beyond Bamboo. We've already started to collate and onboard sellers and suppliers for wholesale globally. So, you know, in terms of Where's Beyond Bamboo going to go next…everywhere. We really want it to be a household name and we've got a strong global team already.

Tanith: We hear you have big future plans for Beyond Bamboo including a Near You mobile app, what will it do and where can we sign up to find out more? Tiffany:

I’m super excited about this, we've been using public domain technology for the business to

consumer marketplace just while we've been doing our user testing, and in the background we've been having our own bespoke piece of technology created, which is going to be such a wonderful experience for people who want to come and make those choices, and also make it really easy for people to understand what's local to them. The Near You app is in development at the moment would allow you to understand which local organisations are working towards sustainability and ones that we've vetted and made sure that supply chain is meeting our criteria. I think that post COVID, it's super important that we're supporting local communities, and that we are boosting economies and Beyond Bamboo can absolutely do that. To learn more about Beyond Bamboo, visit www.beyondbamboo.online.

TANITH HARDING Director of International Development, The Legacy Project, RoundTable Global
 www.roundtable.global Tanith is leading change management through commitment to the RoundTable Global Three Global Goals of: Educational Reform, Environmental Rejuvenation & Empowerment for All. She delivers innovative and transformational leadership and development programmes in over 30 different countries and is also lead on the international development of philanthropic programmes and projects. This includes working with a growing team of extraordinary Global Change Ambassadors and putting together the Global Youth Awards which celebrate the amazing things our young people are doing to change the world.

64 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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With all of the challenges and uncertainty facing our country today, it is critical we all exercise our right to vote to effect change. Having members of our league registered to vote was an important goal for us, and we encourage our fellow athletes to do their part and be heard on election day. JAZMYN JACKSON | @JAZMYNRENEE

PLAYER & MEMBER OF ATHLETES UNLIMITED’S RACIAL EQUITY WORKING GROUP PHOTO CREDIT: JADE HEWITT, ATHLETES UNLIMITED 66 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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PERSONAL STATEMENTS FROM ATHLETES UNLIMITED

BATTERS FOR BALLOTS PASSION ON THE PLAYING FIELD & AT THE POLLS

“In it’s inaugural year, the Athletes Unlimited 2020 Softball Season introduced us to players who proved to be ‘all in’ not only at the stadium but off the field as well. From racial equality to voter participation, this organization is of its people, by its people and for ALL people.” - Allié M.

“Civic leadership has been a core priority of the league from day one. We believe that the qualities that lead to excellence on the field are the same qualities that create strong civic leaders and participants in civic life. Voter participation and making one’s voice heard in the democratic process is one important way to engage and bring about positive change. We want to support our athletes to not only make their own voices heard but also to help them engage their own communities around the importance of voting.” Jonathan Soros Co-Founder of Athletes Unlimited
 @auprosports

PHOTO CREDIT: JADE HEWITT, ATHLETES UNLIMITED 67 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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I have always taken pride in showing up when my number is called. This year's election is going to be determined by the people that show up and use their vote to make a change. I can’t wait to be a part of that. ARIANA WILLIAMS | @ARIANASHEREE ATHLETES UNLIMITED PLAYER

PHOTO CREDIT: JADE HEWITT, ATHLETES UNLIMITED 68 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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I have always taken pride in showing up when my number is called. This year's election is going to be determined by the people that show up and use their vote to make a change. I can’t wait to be a part of that. MANDIE PEREZ | @MANDIE_PEREZ55 ATHLETES UNLIMITED PLAYER

PHOTO CREDIT: JADE HEWITT, ATHLETES UNLIMITED 69 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Democracy is not a spectator sport… we all have a role to play in using our voices to shape America’s future. DOUG PALLADINI

GLOBAL BRAND PRESIDENT, VANS 70 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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FEATURE STORY BY ALLIÉ McGuire

‘V’ IS FOR VOTE

ALSO FOR VANS WHO IS STEPPING UP TO SUPPORT VOTERS

“On September 22, I was incredibly inspired by so many promoting National Voter Registration Day. Scrolling through my feed on LinkedIn, it was a specific post and a particular call to action that caught my attention (along with anyone driving on the 405 in The OC).” - Allié M.

“Today is US National Voter Registration Day, a vital reminder that democracy is not a spectator sport and that we all have a role to play in using our voices to shape America’s future. If you’re on the 405 in The OC, look for the Vans’ HQ call to action for everyone to be registered and ready to vote in the upcoming November 3 election. To make this possible, we’ve partnered with non-partisan organization HeadCount to launch www.vans.com/vote, a tool for you to check your voter registration status online. As Headcount combines activism, music and culture to mobilize people to vote, we are also proudly making a $15,000 donation to their organization to help amplify and expand the group’s vital mission!” Doug Palladini
 Global Brand President
 Vans September 22 was National Voter Registration Day, which calls attention to the power and importance of voting, and ensuring that everyone that is eligible to vote in the U.S. election, is registered and well-informed on how they can use their voice to shape their future. With this in mind, Vans stepped up in a big way to build awareness and provide education and resources for consumers ahead of this year’s U.S. election on November 3. I connected with George Pedrick, Brand Communications for Vans, who filled me in on what Vans is doing to support the vote…

71 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Vans Partnership with HeadCount “Earlier in the month, our Vans Family and CSR teams launched our partnership with HeadCount, a non-profit that combines activism, music and culture to mobilize people to vote. Through this partnership, our new www.vans.com/vote page directs consumers to check and confirm their voter registration status. Consumers can also access this resource through our Vans Family app. We are also proudly making a $15,000 donation to this non-profit as we look to support their mission and help expand their impact across the U.S.

Vans Vote T-Shirts Consumers can also purchase limited-edition Vans Vote t-shirts via vans.com to help raise awareness to the importance of voting and having your voice heard. Our retail associates across the country have also been gifted these t-shirts to wear if they chose: www.vans.com/shop/vansvote-tee

Vans HQ ‘Go Vote’ Banner We have also issued a call to action for everyone that travels on the 405 by installing a banner encouraging commuters to vote in this year’s election and directs them to our dedicated www.vans.com/vote page.” As the Co-Founder of Awareness Ties and all about raising awareness, I am beyond inspired by how Vans decided to use their iconic ‘V’ to support the vote. Using the power of their brand to empower others is more than ‘noteworthy’, it’s noble. One thing is for sure, in addition to getting my Vans Vote t-shirt, I’m due for a new set of kicks. That said, I have my eye on a particular pair of Vans. Love supporting brands that back the people who support them. (In case you are wondering, this is the pair I have in mind: Anaheim Factory Sid DX.)

72 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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73 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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We gave the older generations their chance to prove that they would take action on the climate crisis. WILL SHAIN

UNIVERSITY STUDENT & CLIMATE CHANGE ACTIVIST 74 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW SERIES BY ALEXANDER TAYLOR

ARTICLES WITH ALEX FEATURING 1M2030 YOUTH LEADERS

WILL SHAIN

“This month, I am happy to share an interview with Will Shain, a student who is passionate about being the change he wants to see for climate change.” - Alexander T. Alexander: For those who don’t know you, Will. Please introduce yourself. Will: My name is William Shain. I am half US American and half Brazilian, and I grew up in California’s San Francisco Bay Area. When I was 13 years old, my mother’s childhood friend invited my family for a trip to her cattle ranch deep in the Amazon Rainforest. Our voyage included four stops to get to the city of Manaus, in the state of the Amazonas, where we capped our travels off with a private six-seater Cessna which we flew in for a little over an hour. I had been ecstatic for weeks in anticipation of the lush jungle that I would see from above, teeming with natural life. Instead, I found myself looking down upon kilometers of desiccated, charred landscape, still smoldering from the recent abuses it had endured. Devoid of any signs of life, the ‘lungs of the Earth’ appeared less like the fertile ecosystem one would expect and more as if it had been chainsmoking for decades on end. This monochrome panorama is singed into my brain to this day, and with it has come an inability to conform to complacency as well as a drive to engage in climate action. Fast-forward the better part of a decade, and I am now in my second year of university. I study in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, where the atrocities of our planetary degradation are concealed by a buffer of thousands of kilometers. I am privileged in many ways, one of which is my ability to physically and emotionally detach myself from the daily onslaught that ravages our natural habitats across the globe. I study International Relations and Political Science, with minors in Sustainability and Social Justice, in hopes that I will soon have the knowledge and resources to take on politicians and multinational corporations as they attempt to annihilate the final remnants of this planet’s natural habitats.

Alexander: How do you believe youth can be part of this change? Will: I believe that youth are quintessential to the fight against climate change. We gave the older generations their chance to prove that they would take action on the climate crisis. As early as July 1977, scientists at Exxon knew that the burning of fossil fuels has a calamitous impact on the Earth System, but no change was enacted. Two years later the first World Climate Conference took place. And still, we stand here more than four decades later seeing that our carbon dioxide levels are reaching exceptionally hazardous limits, and there is yet to be a comprehensive climate accord which accurately holds countries to their pledges. Youth are the only chance that we have to make climate the leading point on any and all agendas. With the UN estimating up to one billion climate refugees by 2050, those whose lives will be shaped in the next three decades are willing to face the severity of the climate crisis head-on, rather than questioning the science and politicizing the arena.

75 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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Alexander: How is Artem NexGen positioning you for successfully launching your environmental goals? Will:

Artem NexGen is offering me a professional platform through which I can launch my articles and

express my thoughts on the climate crisis. By further connecting myself to a network of individuals passionate about a variety of subjects, I can educate myself on how better to utilize an intersectional approach to the politics of climate change.

Alexander: What is the importance of the 1M2030 initiative for youth advancing sustainable development? Will: One Million Youth Leaders by 2030 is absolutely paramount to achieving environmental justice, which also goes hand in hand with economic and gender equity. Sustainable development must be at the forefront of all governmental efforts moving forward. Having youth be critically engaged in the decision-making process allows for their progressive perspective to be taken into account. It was the late great Nelson Mandela that said “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” Unfortunately, the climate crisis has shown that despite all of Mr. Mandela’s wisdom, we cannot wait for our youth to assume their positions tomorrow. The world needs our radical change today.

ALEXANDER TAYLOR Founder & President of Artem NexGen
 www.linkedin.com/in/artemnexgen Alexander Taylor is a public speaker and youth ambassador that empowers young social entrepreneurs to address societal, community, and environmental issues. He is the Founder & President of Artem NexGen and Youth Ambassador to The Global Challenges Forum in Geneva, Switzerland, representing the 1M2030 Initiative in partnership with the United Nations Institute of Training and Research, as well as an honors student at Morehouse College. He developed Artem NexGen and scaled 1M2030, as international youth leadership organizations, to provide access to professional opportunities for youth leaders of the rising generation and to raise 1 million youth leaders towards UN sustainable development goals beyond 2030 respectively. Alexander spent 7months overseas in Senegal after high school and presented his leadership work at the UN European Headquarters in Geneva five months after his return. 76 AWARENOW / THE LIFE EDITION

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SIP OF HOPE IS THE WORLD'S FIRST COFFEE SHOP WHERE 100% OF THE PROCEEDS SUPPORT PROACTIVE SUICIDE PREVENTION AND MENTAL HEALTH EDUCATION. Prevention starts with a conversation, and the conversation starts here. To learn how you can break the silence, visit SIPOFHOPE.COM

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Profile for AwareNow

AwareNow: Issue 8: The Life Edition (Suicide Prevention & Alzheimer's Awareness)  

In this special edition of AwareNow, we present conversations to inspire a new narrative for individuals and society with regard to Suicide...

AwareNow: Issue 8: The Life Edition (Suicide Prevention & Alzheimer's Awareness)  

In this special edition of AwareNow, we present conversations to inspire a new narrative for individuals and society with regard to Suicide...