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The RadioDana Diaries

Author: Dana Wright KMBZ

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Kansas City broadcast veteran Dana Wright has spent 25 years telling stories as an investigative reporter and news anchor and now an afternoon talk radio host. One day her son said to her, "Mom, the news is so depressing you should start telling good stories!" Thus, "The RadioDana Diaries" was born. Tune in each week to hear inspiring interviews and good news through weekly conversations with people who make our world a better place.
15 Episodes
Grace was an outgoing, popular, and athletic teenager when the pandemic first began.  But when the country went on lockdown,  she became obsessed with exercise and lost an alarming amount of weight. And Grace isn't alone. Across the country, the number of young people diagnosed with eating disorders has exploded.  The problem is so bad,  doctors told Grace's mother, "There are so many kids suffering right now, we don't have enough beds."  Experts blame a perfect storm of anxiety, isolation, and social media.  What's worse?  Social media giants like Instagram now acknowledge that their own algorithms pushed dangerous content to vulnerable teenagers searching for information about eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.  When asked about the past year, Grace's mother says, "It's been hell."   She is telling her family's story in hopes of saving someone else.  Saving Grace is Diary Entry #14.
If you don't think a pair of socks can change the world... you haven't met Laura Schmidt.   Laura is the 'Chief Positive Person' of 'Notes To Self Socks' and she believes that WORDS MATTER!!!  One MILLION pairs of positive socks later, she sits down with the 'RadioDana Diaries' to explain how it all came about.  YES, famous people wear her socks.  But so do a TON of my friends because I started giving them out as gifts several years ago.  YOU are SMART, YOU are CONFIDENT and YOU are BRAVE!!!  Just ask Laura Schmidt!!!!  She is my friend, and she is Diary Entry #13... 
My guest this week uncovered an extremely dark past in our collective history regarding women, sex, and mass imprisonment.  Between the first and second World Wars, thousands of women were rounded up, tested, and forcibly incarcerated over suspicion that they'd contracted a sexually transmitted disease.  Some of the women who were imprisoned were married.  None of them had done anything wrong.  In fact, the youngest prisoners?  Were children.   Dr. Nicole Perry, with the University of Kansas,  spent ten years researching this deeply disturbing chapter in U.S. history before penning the book, "Policing Sex in the Sunflower State."  Dr. Perry's research lends a voice to these young women with lessons that continue to resonate today.  Their stories - are Diary Entry #12.
This week marks the 40th anniversary of the deadliest accidental structural collapse in the history of the United States.  Career engineer and lecturer Robynn Andracsek joins us this week to talk about what happened, WHY it happened, and why it is critically important to get young girls excited about engineering beginning in grade school!!!  She is a fierce advocate and ROCK STAR of SCIENCE.  And she is diary entry Number 11.
The RadioDana Diaries is BACK!  This week, we welcome 54 year old Anne Fraser.  Four years ago, after losing both of her parents to Alzheimer's Disease, Anne started noticing subtle changes in her memory and cognition levels.  She soon learned that she is one of a small percentage of Americans battling Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, or Pre-Alzheimer's Disease.  When you meet Anne?  You would never know it.  She says some small but incredibly important lifestyle changes have made it possible for her to stay ON her GAME!  Anne is my friend.  And she is Diary Entry #10.
The first time you meet Kristen Christian you will want to hug her and be her best friend.  In that order.  I have known Kristen for a little over a year through her AMAZING organization business, "Bee Organized," in Kansas City.  She's the kind of woman you just fall in love with.  She lights up a ROOM.  I only recently found out that this fierce, funny, energetic mother of four?  Is also a breast cancer survivor.  I was thrilled that she agreed to sit down with me during 'Breast Cancer Awareness Month' to share her story with ALL of you- because I truly believe her story will save lives.  What does breast cancer feel like?  Why did her mammogram miss her cancer?  How did SHE find it on her own?  Kristen is my friend.  And her survivor story is Diary Entry #9. 
You've probably heard about the extremely popular antibiotic known as "Bactrim," which is used to treat all kinds of ailments from acne to urinary tract infections.  But two local physicians recently figured out - that for some teenagers - the common prescription can lead to devastating reactions, including death.  I welcome Dr. Jenna Miller and Dr. Jennifer Goldman to The RadioDana Diaries.  Their story is Diary Entry Number Eight.  
When I first started asking around about the strong and amazing women that I NEEDED to know in my life? More people than I can count, replied, "Deliece Hofen." Deliece is a warrior and a cancer survivor. And so is her little boy. In one TINY window of time, cancer knocked on her family's door not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. In this week's "RadioDana Diaries," you will hear about this mom's fierce, tandem fight to save her son Braden's life and her own. You will also learn a stunning truth: an adult's road map to remission looks nothing like a child's when they're both facing a similar diagnosis. How could that be?  Deliece was in a terrifying and unique position to ask that very question when she and Braden started chemotherapy at the exact same time. Their journey has inspired people all over the country to join in the fight at Please support this incredible organization which is changing the landscape of pediatric cancer research RIGHT HERE IN KC!!  Deliece Hofen is a warrior. She is my friend. And she is Diary Entry Number Seven.
In this week's "RadioDana Diaries," I'm asking you to think about all of the different ways people die in our community and the questions we ALL have when a young person, in particular, is taken from us. The nightly news is filled with car accidents and house fires and homicides and drug overdoses. And all of these deaths, generally, have at least one thing in common: family members almost always know what happened.  Think about it. In most cases, people know how and when and where and WHY their loved ones died. But when a police officer in the state of Kansas is cleared in the shooting death of a citizen? None of us has a legal right to find out WHAT HAPPENED. That's because Kansas "open" records laws are among the worst in the country. Overland Park mom Sheila Albers had never given it much thought until her teenage son was shot and killed in the family's driveway on January 20, 2018. The death of 17-year-old John Albers sparked a two-year fight to change the law. Their story is Diary Entry Number five.
I read a jaw-dropping article a few weeks ago in the New York Times. It was called, "The Unbearable Heaviness of Clutter." I love that word. Heaviness. Because that is what clutter has always felt like to me. The very SIGHT of crap in my house gives me anxiety. My brain is wired to NEED order on the main floor of my home (we'll talk about the basement storage room later...) Wadded up laundry on the floor makes me agitated. An overflowing trash can? Agitated. Kids' books and papers and jackets and shoes on the floor? Agitated. Everyone in the family KNOWS this about their crazy Momma. They have grown up surrounded by storage bins and custom cabinets because cabinets hide the CRAP that I can't stand to look at. I NEED ORDER. (Now, you may be wondering, is the crap INSIDE the closets and cabinets 'in order?' OH HELL NO, I'm not THAT crazy). When I was little, we had a dark, wet, dank basement filled with...clutter. I remember the car was filled with...clutter.  We're not talking "Hoarding" episode-level clutter, but enough clutter that it made me uneasy at a very early age. As an adult, then, I became a compulsive "thrower-OUTER."  If my children didn't make it by hand?  I toss it. If my grandmother didn't knit that baby blanket? I toss it.  If Kris has a shirt with a hole in it?  I toss it.  Then set it on fire.  Then toss it again.  I HATE CRAP. It feels GOOD to me to donate, to throw things out.  My mother? Oh, dear. She is a beautiful, loving complete opposite of her daughter. She is a supreme gatherer of STUFF. My mother has never met an amazon purchase, QVC line, or Blue-Light Special she didn't fall in love with AND order in triplicate. I cannot count the number of times that beautiful soul will send me something in the mail and say, "Now Dana, don't throw that out!" Once, she sent me a shirt from a Goodwill store in Topeka. I gathered 3 bags of donated stuff and RE-donated it. It ended up BACK in the Goodwill store in Topeka. You can't make it up... which brings me to Diary Entry Number Four. Did you know, according to researchers, clutter can actually cause stress and anxiety?  I'm NOT CRAZY!!!  THIS IS SCIENCE, PEOPLE!!!!  In this week's episode of The RadioDana Diaries, I am so excited to introduce you to the WONDERFUL world of professional organization. Did you know there are SEVEN types of clutter personalities? And there are only TWO rules of organization? Those are just a few of the gems you will hear in Diary Entry Number Four:  "Bee Organized:" Why Clutter is Slowly Killing Our Soul... ENJOY!  xoxo - Dana
People always ask me, "What's the craziest story you've ever covered as a reporter?"  You would be hard pressed to find a crime more baffling and bizarre and unbelievable than the one involving Toby Dorr.  Dorr was a married mother of two, named Toby Young, who'd never had a traffic ticket in her life. In 2004, she started a volunteer program inside of a maximum security prison in Kansas. She spent hours inside prison walls, helping inmates train and foster stray dogs.  About a year after the canine prison program started, Toby fell in love with a convicted murderer and smuggled him out of Lansing Prison in a dog crate.  The pair spent two weeks on the run before a dramatic high speed chase brought it all to an end.  But if you look beyond the sensational headlines, Toby's story is actually one of redemption. She was handed a 27 month prison sentence, and now says her time behind bars -as an inmate- saved her life.  Toby said to me, "I have never been closer to anyone in my life than the women I met in prison."  Toby is now out of prison, happily married and on a mission to help other incarcerated women.  She tells them that her fall from grace wasn't pretty, and made international headlines.  But she also reassures them, "No one is as bad as their biggest mistake..." Toby's story is Diary Entry #3.
Hi friends! I have been very open the last few years about my anxiety issues. I am so excited about this week's edition of "The RadioDana Diaries" because I get to introduce you to a local therapist who has helped me tremendously. I first met Maribeth Blunt-Olson over a year ago after my oldest child, my son, left for college and took my right arm with him. I actually felt like a part of me was missing. I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't stop crying. I was 24/7 CERTAIN, something TERRIBLE was happening. Or going to happen. Or had already happened and I just didn't KNOW it yet because the phone wasn't ringing. Make no mistake, I was born with anxiety. It has always been there, as long as I can remember. When I was a child, I didn't know what it was or what to call it. As I grew older, I learned to recognize it when it came knocking, and I gave it a name: It's a volcano. A sneaky little asshole volcano. When my son left, it unleashed an amygdala explosion that covered me and everyone around me. It was the first time in my life that I knew I needed to talk to someone. Enter Maribeth Blunt-Olson. She has an MBA AND a Masters in Counseling. I remember asking her, "can you get rid of this? Can we blow up the volcano? Can we hide it before my husband loses his mind, too?"Here's what I know today. Maribeth couldn't kill the volcano- but she's helped me quiet it down. She introduced me to the numbers four and eight and seven, which you'll hear about in this podcast. She listened to my stories about my Anxiety Volcano and introduced me to something better called, "My Anxiety House." It was so helpful, I booked her to speak with a local mother/daughter organization I'm involved in. To this DAY, women will text me and say, "Hey, remind me how I track down the woman who drew that house?" Thank you for your continued support of the Diaries, which is another outlet to help keep my anxiety at bay.  It's still there - but it's further in the distance. Life is GOOD. Everyone is healthy. I have a family and a career that I love.  And I am so glad that you are here!
As I was sitting down to write this, I was thinking how much I wish that I knew my friend, Mindy Corporon, for a reason OTHER than the one that brought me to Mindy Corporon. Like me, Mindy is a boy mom. She is a public speaker and a wife. She has kind eyes and a soft and beautiful smile. She's the kind of woman you WANT to be friends with the second you meet her. I hadn't yet met Mindy back on April 13, 2014, when her world came crashing around her. That day, she pulled into the parking lot of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas.  She got out of her car and found her father, Dr. William Corporon, and her teenage son, Reat shot to death. The pair were senselessly gunned down during a hate crime moments before.  The spree also claimed the life of a mother of three named Terri Lamano at a nearby retirement community. I remember watching Mindy, less than 24 hours after the horror unfolded, addressing a crowd of young people who had gathered for a vigil for the three victims. I remember thinking, how is she standing? How is she offering comfort to so many when her life has just been ripped out from under her?  As a member of the local media, I came to know Mindy in the years after the crime and its aftermath. Oh, how I wish the circumstances were different. Mindy continues to amaze me. She is one of the bravest women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.  Despite what happened that day, she has continued to shine a light of hope, peace, and understanding throughout KC and beyond. Mindy Corporon is my friend. And she is Diary Entry number six....
When I first decided to launch “The RadioDana Diaries” podcast,  I knew I wanted to focus on bringing everyone good stories about good people who are making the world a better place right here in KC.  Today I want to introduce you to my friend Karen Houck.  Karen came up to me at a live remote one day and handed me some rocks, which may sound crazy until you hear her beautiful story.  Let me tell you a couple of things about Karen. I loved her immediately.  She’s from Long Island, lives in Lee’s Summit with her husband, and is an absolute no-bullshit kind of gal.  She has been through hell and back and has an incredible calm about her in spite of it.  I cannot imagine a better fit for my inaugural podcast than the story you are about to hear.  If you want to find Karen?  Follow the road to the kindness rocks garden out in front of her home.  Take a rock.  Leave a rock.  The world is a better place because of her family’s story.
Comments (1)

C Nichols

Enjoy the podcast but Dana sounds like she is inside a tin can when she talks.

Feb 18th
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