Ali Gilmore was born in Seattle Washington and was raised in the northern suburbs of Everett in a typical, middle class, Catholic home with 6 older siblings, a mom who was a nurse and a father who was Principle of a local school district. Ali has always been an adventurous spirit with an active imagination and a bit of deafness towards rules as duly noted on her report cards. This adventurous spirit stayed with her as she grew up, picking up and moving (sight unseen) to places like Honolulu, HI to work in retail, Tokyo, Japan as an ESL instructor and Houston, Texas for education and career opportunities. Ali’s main passion has been for music from the time she was a small child and pursued it through college, but struggled with the stage fright. In the mid 90’s she set aside her musical aspirations to focus on a career in technology where she excelled rapidly into network and web management.
But, a successful career wasn’t enough for Ali. She felt a big part of her was missing, so in November of 2008, Ali picked up a guitar and followed through on a promise she’d made to herself to learn to play and to find her voice again. She found the best of teachers, but somehow lost the natural rhythm of her youth, struggled with playing “in time” and how songs were originally arranged. To get around the frustration, she made a game out of it by writing her own songs, thinking cleverly that she can’t be corrected on how a song should be played if it was hers. One by one she started to play her songs for friends who encouraged her to keep going. Wanting to do something heartfelt and more meaningful than the usual gift of a tie and a bag of licorice, she recruited the help of her friends, found a local studio and recorded a 6 song CD for her long encouraging Pop in honor of his 80th birthday that summer.
Impressed by her blind determination, friends, family and readers of her music blog encouraged Ali to put her songs on-line. “There they sit on iTunes and Amazon, just waiving hello to people in places around me and ones I’ve never been to…how cool is that~”. She aimed for the fall of 2010 to record her first, full length CD, but an unexpected turn of events in that summer put up an abrupt physical and financial road block, when Ali was blindsided by the diagnosis of Stage IV colon cancer. A cancer that had spread to her lungs.
Even with a massive deterrence such as this she seemed unwavering in her determination to follow through on her dream; “I always joke about being Super Human. I guess now’s the time to prove to the world (and myself) that I am.”
Since her diagnosis, Ali has been through two surgeries, several targeted radiation treatments, over 40 chemotherapy cycles and beaten Stage IV cancer 4 times. In between treatments, Ali not only accomplished her goal of recording her music CD, she has also pushed herself to experience the following firsts: jumped out of an airplane, became a freelance sports photographer with the highlight of photographing such greats as Kaka, Landon Donovan and David Beckham at his final US match, published two witty yet vital cancer survival guides, sang at the Festa del Pesce in Positano, Italy, traveled around Ireland and chased down the Northern Lights in Norway.
After all that, what’s next? Ali’s developing a series of 12 short films entitled, 12 Adventures, designed to inspire others to go after their bucket lists regardless of their own challenges. “My hope is that viewers seeing an out of shape, Stage IV cancer fighter on a micro budget going on 12 bucket list adventures will inspire them to get up off the couch and go for it. Life is short and we’re not as limited as we think. So, what are you waiting for?”