By: Jacob Robinson
It's All About Making a Difference.
I talked with Jay Willis a few hours before her death in Van Horn Texas.
I talked with a woman whose burning desire to make a difference, left a mark on the lives of Charlotte’s under-privileged children.
I talked with a humble, yet excited, and loving human that will be sorely missed.
We lost a hero in Jay Willis. This is just part of her story.
If you read no further, visit Jay’s passion - I Dream in Colors and consider supporting its mission to assist youth with low socio-economic backgrounds in Charlotte.
She Was on a Mission
I first met Jay Willis at the Comedy Zone. I was invited to be a judge for the Comedy Cook-off, hosted by our mutual friend Stacey. The Cook-off was a fundraiser for a non-profit called I Dream in Colors…A non-profit that Jay started in 2014. It was an amazing night full of laughter and delicious food. Towards the end Stacey asked Jay to stand on stage and tell everyone about I Dream in Colors and her upcoming adventure.
What adventure you might ask? Jay and her partner Jeff Turner were going to bike across the country, from San Diego to Charlotte to raise awareness and money for their non-profit! Read her Tour Journal Here.
Jay humbly stood on stage and discussed her life’s passion. No frills. Straight to the point. She was on a mission.
She Was Making a Difference
A few weeks after the Comedy Cook-off Jay and Jeff headed for California to start their Journey and a few weeks after that, I received an email from Jay. She asked if we could do an interview on EatWorkPlay. We set up a phone call for a Tuesday.
Tuesday came, and I managed to get Jay on the phone (cell phone reception in Texas was not always guaranteed). She was in Van Horn Texas. They were supposed to be riding this day, but bad weather required them to take the day off. Listen to entire interview.
We talked about I Dream in Colors and her bike tour. It amazed me that her ride was not only focused on I Dream in Colors, but also on helping local communities that they biked through. In everything she was doing, it seemed she was making a difference.
She Was an Amazing Woman, Mentor, and Leader
If everything had gone as planned, this is where I’d tell you all about I Dream in Colors (please take a minute to visit their website to learn how you can make a difference in Charlotte’s youth). I’d invite you to the celebration at the finish line. But life, as it sometimes does, didn’t go as planned.
I learned on the Thursday following our phone call that Jay and Jeff had passed in a car accident just hours after we had talked.
I was in shock and my heart ached for her family. How could such an amazing woman, mentor and leader be taken from us?
Go Ahead. Make a Difference.
But, here’s the truth. Jay Willis did more in her short life than many of us can even hope to do. I know she wouldn’t agree with that statement. She’d challenge every single one of us to make a difference in the lives of others and to try to be better ourselves each day we’re on this earth.
I’m left thinking about how I can be more like Jay. How can I make a difference? I hope you’re thinking the same. Whether it’s with I Dream in Colors or another organization…Go make a difference. We can do it. We can make a difference just like Jay Willis.
I’ll leave you with some words of inspiration from Jay herself.
“He who fears the unknown of what’s on the other side of the mountain will always remain at its base. He who presses forward will discover the blessings on the other side.” - Jay Willis