BloomBars’ John Chambers Wins Award & Saves His Life

Dear Friend of BloomBars,

It’s your humble Chief Executive Gardner John Chambers here. Well, I guess I should say “humbled” as the past week has been one of the most humbling times of my life.

It started when I walked up to a podium to receive The Community Foundation’s 2012 Linowes Leadership Awards for civic excellence, also known as the “Unsung Hero Award.” It was the first time I had ever received such an award and I was more than a little embarrassed to receive recognition that should go to our entire community. Humbled.

My brief remarks were about the “leap of faith” I took almost five years ago when I first held the keys to 3222 11th Street, now known as the headquarters of BloomBars, and had my brother Shane W. Evans paint “YOU BLOOM, WE BLOOM” above the doors. Fortunately, my speech was overshadowed by my two-year-old daughter continually grabbing the microphone. It got a lot more laughs and helped me to articulate my final point – that I believe leadership is modeling what we want to see from her generation and generations to come and mirroring the childlike qualities that we tend to lose as adults.

As I looked out into a packed audience at the Mayflower ballroom, I could hardly make out a single face. It was almost a complete blur. I was losing my vision. Unlike the other symptoms I’ve been experiencing the last few months – like dramatic weight loss, as many of you have noticed and expressed concern about – I couldn’t chalk this one up to stress. It was the final straw that broke through my stubbornness.

The next day, I went to a clinic to get checked out. My blood sugar was the highest they had ever seen. Too high for their instruments to read – putting me at immediate risk of stroke, diabetic coma or death. Little did I know, I have diabetes. Humbled.

Obviously, there are more than a few lessons in this story I’m lucky to be alive to share. The ones that stand out you’ve heard before: go to the doc, especially when you think something isn’t right; listen to your friends and accept their help; get your blood sugar checked; and diabetes can effect a seemingly healthy vegan like me. But the one that’s really guided me through this week: “I can’t do this alone.” I need your support. I need your nurture. Because when I bloom, we bloom. Time to own that.

In this season of giving thanks, I’m especially thankful for all of your love, compassion and support of my passion – growing our community at BloomBars and helping us realize our potential.

Until soon, keep Blooming.

In service,


Seek. Seed. Sow. Bloom.

PS, yes this was all a surreptitious ploy to get lots of hugs. Keep’em coming.