Sara Salo, MPH

Health through

Serendipitous connections, part 2

Continued from “Serendipitous connections, part 1

2010, School Food Tour Planning
Opportunities appear when we are open to them. Serendipity continued to guide my path through the conception of the School Food Tour (SFT).

Following my “AHA” moment while trail running along the River Trail in Bend, Oregon, I began to conceptualize the SFT within the safe confines of my own mind. Finally, I gathered the courage to announce to my roommates that I intended to “ride my bike around the country promoting healthy school food.” They looked at me sideways for a minute, chalked it up to another crazy Sara idea, and went about their day. But that pronouncement prompted a cascade of energy within me, and the more I talked about it to others, the more definite the concept became.

However, one major problem remained – how would I fund the trip? I threw myself into writing grant applications, but without 501(c)(3) status I was almost entirely out of luck. However the Sea Otter Classic, an annual bike festival in Monterey, CA, that kicks off the professional race season, was quickly approaching and I set my sights on attending. My goal was to spread the word about the SFT and gain some traction within the bike industry. Little did I know that I would meet one key person with the capability to move the SFT from concept to reality.

While wandering through the Sea Otter exhibitor booths and snacking on sample energy bars, I stopped to admire an eye-catching bike that was completely adorned with gemstones. The man behind the booth struck up a conversation and soon we were chatting about food, bikes, and the SFT. This friendly stranger turned out to be a staff member of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation (JWCF), and before I left we exchanged contact information and agreed to keep in touch.

Two weeks later, the conversation had blossomed into a full-blown sponsorship, and I was moving full speed ahead with scheduling SFT site visits, selecting gear, and conducting media outreach. None of this would have been possible without that spontaneous conversation at Sea Otter and the subsequent support of JWCF. I am SO very grateful for the opportunity provided to me by JWCF and that they trusted me to be an ambassador of their organization and the legacy of John Wayne.

The takeaway:
Don’t be afraid to talk about your dreams – you truly never know what might develop from one simple conversation.

For more information about the programs of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, click on the logo below.

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