As I’m moving through some of the traditional stages of life—college, marriage, kids—my dreams have definitely shifted and morphed. What I notice most, or what concerns me more, is not that my dreams have changed but the intensity I once had for them has diminished—greatly.
So when you meet someone like Kristin Van Donk, who walked into Brave beaming with enthusiasm and good-old American spunk, you can’t help but pay attention. You are in the presence of a young woman on a mission with great, exuberant intensity.
Kristin Van Donk, Brave Collective
It’s easy to be quick to judge that this twenty-something beauty is so “chipper” and driven because she hasn’t yet been bashed down by life’s atomic missiles. But within the first 10 minutes of meeting her we’ve become friends (as women do so well) and she begins to tell me her tale of woes that has led her to this moment—to Bend, to Brave.
Kristin is in Bend working on her golf game—not just any game—she wants to be good, really good. Her dream is to be a player on the LPGA tour. This giant aspiration started when she was seventeen in Chico, California. Her mother told her that women were getting college scholarships for golf. She tried it, and being from an athletic family, she was a natural and loved it.
But just as she was beginning to set course records at local courses one of life's blows struck. Kristin while in college was diagnosed with cervical cancer. She left school, as well as golf, to heal but the thought of playing pro persisted.
After a couple of years recuperating, broke but healthy she started to follow the sun and moved to Palm Springs in the winter and Bandon in the summer. She played golf year round, found pro coaching and her first sponsorship. She got caddie and beverage cart jobs at courses to be able to play for free. She slept in her car, showered at the clubs and ate mostly peanuts from the snack bar. This was the grind that fueled her fire—what she says believes made her not quit.
She came into Brave to buy a dress—for her birthday. She contemplated. I could tell she didn't make purchases frivilously. She's got her priorities. But the minute she put this beautiful paisley maxi on with deep purle hues everyone in the store gasped. It was perfect for her and she knew it. Just like the life direction she's chosen for herself. As hard as it might be at times, and how far away her dreams feel, she's not giving up.
Kristin is in Bend continuing to pursue her dream to become a golf pro. What makes Kristin such a Badass Brave woman is her perseverance and unbridled determination to do what she loves.