She’s So Inspiring – Gabriella Kasley

She's So Inspiring

My life has been touched by some uber amazing women whose passion for life and the way they  choose to live it have really inspired me.  A few years ago, I started the She’s So Inspiring series to showcase these women of awesome and their amazing stories because I knew that they would inspire others.  Some of these inspiring women are bloggers, some are not, their lives are all different and  they are all incredibly special. I am so honoured that they are sharing their stories and sprinkling a little bit of their awesome right here. May you be wom-inspired!

Meet Gabriella Kasley.

I’ve found that in life, once you put your heart into something, the universe can and will deliver and that’s certainly what happened, with She’s So Inspiring V.2. I was worried how and where I would find so many women of awesome, but really I shouldn’t have because inspiring women are everywhere!

No sooner  I had decided to bring back the series, than I met Gabriella in a Run Disney Facebook group no less, and in case you’re wondering, Run Disney Facebook groups are totally a thing, and very awesome things at that. Her story was inspiring to me and so many others there, that I knew she had to be part of the series. Thus far, we’ve only met in cyberspace, but we’re hoping to do a real life meet and greet later this year at the Disneyland Half Marathon in September. Stay tuned for that!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, having an illness does not make a person inspiring. It’s one’s attitude and actions that inspires others, and that’s why Gabriella is part of the series. She’s really is so inspiring.

She's So Inspiring - Gabriella Kasley

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My Name is Gabriella and I live in Los Angeles, California. I am living with AIDS and Cancer but I managed to graduate from UCLA while going through chemotherapy and radiation. I am in my mid 20’s and should be living life to the full but it can be a struggle when I spend most of it in the hospital. But that hasn’t stopped me! I have raised thousands and thousands of dollars for AIDS Walk Los Angeles and have run a few half marathons, 10ks and 5ks. I live alone with my medical alert beagle, Burrito. He is my lifeline and best friend, we do everything together!

She's So Inspiring - Gabriella Kasley

Tell us 3 things you are and 3 things you’re not. 

Three things I am, a fighter, a goofball, and giver!
Three things I am not, a quitter, a complainer, and selfish!

Complete this sentence, ____________________  changed my life. How and why?

AIDS and cancer have changed my life. Because of cancer I developed a lesion on my lung which was removed last year in 2016. In 2015 my kidney failed due to AIDS. Everything I do revolves around my medical treatments and what my body decides to do. I have really sick days where I am lucky enough to get to the bathroom and days where I feel fine and can run for miles!

What has been life’s greatest lesson?

I lost a really good friend from cancer and she taught me an important lesson. She always told me to find a reason to smile at least once a day, even if I am sick. I have to look at things in a different way when I am so sick. On days where I can’t leave my bed, I think  that I have a wonderful medical alert dog that will never leave my side and will protect me and that always makes me smile! It is so important to smile everyday and think of one thing that makes one’s life good!

She's So Inspiring - Gabriella Kasley

What is your biggest achievement?

Well actually, I have two big achievements… One is graduating from UCLA even though I didn’t step into class one time during my senior year. I did my finals in the dorms and in the hospital but still managed to graduate. School was the biggest distraction from my pain that I was in from all the treatments. My second big achievement was running in  the  Disneyland Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend.  I ran a 10k and half marathon (on two consecutive days) with one lung and one kidney! It was the best feeling to cross that finish line!!!

She's So Inspiring - Gabriella Kasley

What has been your toughest obstacle and how have you overcome it?

The toughest obstacle for me is to remain positive. I have really bad anxiety and depression and sometimes when treatment gets me very sick or I get bad news, I sink into a really bad depression and lose hope and want to give up. It can be hard when you are in constant pain and sick all the time. It  definitely plays tricks on my mind. But when days are hard I reach out to my friends and they come over or we FaceTime and that always helps. And of course, having my dog, Burrito helps too. He licks my tears and I can’t help to smile at him!

She's So Inspiring - Gabriella Kasley

Viktor Frankl says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.” Everyone needs a purpose, what’s yours?

I feel like my purpose right now is to just take each day as it comes and inspire people to not give up no matter what the circumstances are.

What are your words to live by?

I live by the words Ohana, and Ohana means “family, and family means no one gets left behind, or forgotten.” Oh, and the sentence, “I’m a Big Brave Dog/Pup!”

If you could play hookie for a day what would be on your list to do?

If I could play hookie I would definitely travel around the world. I have been to quite a few countries and want to keep traveling, but right now I am too sick to travel on a plane somewhere far. But there is hope in the future!

You give so much to others, what do you do to take care of yourself?

I always treat myself once a month, either buying myself something expensive or going out doing something fun with my friends like a nice dinner in Malibu, or seeing a play. In August I will get to see Hamilton and I am so excited for that!

Thank you for sharing, Gabriella.

Gabriella is currently in Oklahoma receiving medical treatment and will be there for some time. At home in LA, she has a Hope Wall – a wall with cards that friends have sent her to remind her to keep smiling, keep fighting and to never give up. Now she can’t take the wall to Oklahoma but we can take the wall to her! Gabriella is going to make a scrap book of cards that she receives in Oklahoma and will sketch around them. If you want to send her some happy mail, share the love and make her day, leave a comment or send me a message and I’ll send you her address! Didn’t you know that sending happy mail feels as good (if not better) than receiving it?!

She's so inspiring - Gabriella

Gabriella doesn’t have a blog but you can follow her adventures on instagram and check out this mini movie of her story.

Linking up with Kylie for IBOT

  • Wow! Just wow. Incredible woman. Best wishes Gabriella and thanks so much for sharing. I will head across and follow on Instagram to share the love.

  • LydiaCLee

    Wow. That is a lot to overcome. What an attitude. And I’d never heard of the MediAlert Dog. What a great idea.

  • Wow, Gabriella! Dealing with 2 illnesses but remaining so positive can’t be easy all the time. It must be a conscious decision on your part- good for you.I hope there are many more days of feeling like you could run miles- and what a cute pupper!

  • Wow Gabriella, you are amazing. I love that you try to smile every day no matter what. Your hope wall looks fabulous and I wish you all the best while you fight this particular fight in your illness, you have people all over the world sending get well vibes. Sammie, this is a lovely interview x

  • What an inspiration!!! I just love that tshirt in the first pic. Gabriella you have such a beautiful outlook on life. You’re incredible. Keep fighting girl, keep giving, keep being positive. I just love that pup – a girl’s best friend.

  • Aren’t dogs just the best for unconditional love?

  • Gabriella you are a true inspiration. Your smile is so warm and genuine. I’m sending great big Aussie hugs to you. Stay positive xxx

  • Hugzilla

    Man, what a fighter. As a runner myself, damn I have respect for what she has achieved.

    • I’m totally in awe of her mad running skillz (and that was before I realised she ran a half marathon with one lung and one kidney!)

  • Wow! What an inspiration and of course Burrito is so cute.

  • That sure was inspiration Sammie. I have read this very closely and took notice of her words for my own, just started, journey. May I offer her all the good and healing wishes that I can from here to there. Thank you so much for sharing Gabriella’s story. D xx

    • I know your “journey” is just beginning and I hope there’s some positive take aways for you but I think we can all learn a lot from Gabriella, she really is such an inspiring woman.

  • What a fighter you are Gabriella and your attitude is truely inspirational especially in one so young. Its so nice to see this series back Sammie – thank you xx

  • What an amazing woman. Finding joy and motivation in the hardest of circumstances. Completely inspirational. Sending her so much love. Would love to send her something.

    • I love her attitude and the way that despite her challenges she always works so hard to help others. I’m so pleased our paths crossed online and am looking forward to them crossing in real life.

  • What absolutely amazing inspiration! Attitude (as in a positive one) is definitely everything! Such an incredible story, thank you for sharing xx #teamIBOT

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    She truly is amazing and inspiring! Thank you for sharing her story with us Sammie 😊

  • Wow! What a story!

  • What an amazing Wonder Woman!! So inspiring!! Burrito is just adorable. I hope you get the chance to meet Gabriella on real life, I bet she’s even more gorgeous in real life ❤️

  • kbilbrey

    I want to start by saying thank you for highlighting Gabriella! This is a well written blog that is doing great things. I hope you don’t mind if I say this as well.

    My first thought when describing my friend is that “This woman is gorgeous”. This woman is not just gorgeous though. You see, gorgeous usually talks of a woman’s looks. While Gabriella is absolutely stunning, with hair or without, she is so much more than that. This is a woman who “gorgeous” doesn’t touch. Her passion for life and her ability to inspire others is above gorgeous.

    Some people call her amazing, some people call her awesome. There are many words used to describe her. Instead, I like to say this woman is truly phenomenal. She is a caring mother to her Burrito beagle, she is a unwavering friend through even her roughest days, she is a positive glow of inspiration for all individuals (not just those who are ill). This woman, most important of all, is significant. She touches the lives of many and she matters.

    I hope that all of you who have read this blog do not just see Gabriella as a woman who is overcoming what has been placed on her plate. Instead I hope you see her as I do. As a woman of significance. A woman, who matters. A woman, who the world is better because she is here.

    • I don’t mind if you say that at all. You know when I have to introduce the women in this series, it’s always so hard to find one adjective, because usually they merit a string of them. And you’re right, gorgeous does usually talk of a woman’s looks but I use it with wild abandon, to talk about not just a woman’s looks, but as in this case, her soul, because I know you will agree, Gabriella is beautiful inside and out.

      I love how you have articulated so perfectly what I tried to say is that Gabriella is featured here not just because of her challenges, but because she is a woman who lights up the lives of, and inspires others.

    • howbwchu

      I couldn’t agree with you more. To know her is to love her!

  • I’d love to send some happy mail to Gabriella. It sounds like it’s been a tough slog for her, but she’s still kicking so many goals! Her medical alert beagle is the cutest, and I almost started crying when I read that he licks Gabriella’s tears when she cries. Thanks so much for sharing her story with us!

    • I’m so honoured that Gabriella has shared her story here and I’m in awe of the goals she sets and how she fulfills them! I will send you her addy 🙂

  • Merilyn

    Thankyou sammie!
    Gabriella is so amazing, … seems trite! I mean courageous beyond words!
    I’m in awe of such people! … so inspiatioal!
    Sending much love m)xx

  • Now that is what you’d call a fighter! Stay strong, Gabriella and keep swinging!