Shari Bookstaff is a marine biologist from Wisconsin, specializing in marine mammals. Always adventurous, after earning her Bachelor’s degree in zoology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she moved to the whale-infested waters of California and eventually received her Master’s degree in marine biology from San Francisco State University. She is a tenured biology professor at Skyline College in San Bruno, California, and has been teaching since 1990.
In July 2006, Shari was diagnosed with a benign brain tumor and her life changed drastically. The surgery left her unable to walk, talk, eat or swallow–until she relearned these skills. She has worked hard every day to regain these basic human functions, along with her dignity, her livelihood, and her spirit. As a single mother of two wonderful children, Shari knew she had to do everything she could to reach her full potential.
In January of 2009, Shari went back to work, participating in an Adaptive Physical Education course, creating online courses, and developing a course on the human brain! Shari didn’t allow her brain tumor to get in the way of living her life. In 2010, she earned her Black Belt in karate that she had been working toward before her surgery. People continued to tell her that her determination was inspiring, so she decided to share her experiences by writing a book.
Putting a positive spin on life’s disasters doesn’t always work, but looking for, and accepting, positive things in spite of life’s disasters works. Instead of making lemonade out of lemons, she adds life’s sweet sugar and cranberries to her lemons. When Life Throws you Lemons...Make Cranberry Juice! is her story.
Shari’s story is meant to inspire people to look for, and accept, positive things in life in spite of, not because of, negative things. In other words: don’t try to make lemonade out of lemons. Add sweet stuff to your lemons instead!
As a community college biology professor, Shari has both the teaching skills and the science background to engage her audience and motivate them into action. Shari can customize her presentation to meet your needs. While in each program Shari emphasizes a different aspect of her recovery; she always shares her story and offers tips for coping with tragedy.
Shari Bookstaff offers a dynamic multimedia presentation that will inspire you. She shares her story of recovery from a brain tumor in a touching, yet humorous way. Through her personal struggles, Shari has gained tremendous insight into overcoming adversity. Shari’s story is unique and she inspires people to work hard for their goals without letting life's lemons stop them.
First Do No Harm
Medical professionals are amazing in their quest to save lives every day. No “but,” you are amazing! Especially difficult is remembering that a completely non-responsive patient may be aware of EVERYTHING going on around them. When I was in ICU for almost a month, on tracheotomy and feeding tubes, completely dependent on nurses, doctors, and therapists, what I craved most was non-medical, human contact. Let me share my story with you and help you be even more effective.
Stop, Look, Listen
Communicating with your doctor can be as difficult as being sick! The more educated you are, the better. Even if you don’t know all the terms, and you wouldn’t know a medulla oblongata if it hit you over the head, you can still be armed with tools on those doctor visits. Shari reminds us that doctors are human and she reminds doctors that patients are people. A little bit of science is included, but as Shari is an experienced teacher, she gets her point across!
Ashes, Ashes, We All Get Fired Up!
Shari’s target audience for this presentation is parents. If your world gets turned upside down (or even sideways) by an illness, death, or other life-altering event, how does that affect your kids or your ability to parent? Shari went through some major role reversal with her kids during her recovery from a brain tumor. She shares her story, and offers tips to empower your kids and set them up to succeed!!
Strive to Thrive!
It didn’t take brain surgery for Shari to realize how much she loved her career, but she certainly gained appreciation for its stability. A good education gives you choices, flexibility, and power. Unexpected, dramatic, life-altering bumps in the road happen to everyone along life’s journey and being better prepared leads to a better outcome. Don't settle for "surviving. Strive to thrive! This presentation works for all adult audiences as Shari shares her story of survival and determination and how she modified her career to match her abilities.