Friday, April 05, 2013

A Right Carry On ....

from Jacqueline

This week I am going to tell you about my tote bag, the one I use all the time.  And you menfolk, do not scramble to get off the page, because I think you will like this story.  So SIT!  STAY!  There, now you’ve been told.

I am a bit of a bag/purse-a-holic. Always have been. Always will be.  But there’s one bag I come back to all the time now, and in a way, all other purses and bags vanish into the mist beside this one – quite literally.  OK, so it’s a bit garish, and very bright, but I get compliments on it all the time – which allows me to tell the story of the bag and send more people to the website where they can buy one.  You see, I have a Yali Bag.  And now I’m going to tell you about it.

I first read about Yali on some online news site.  It was a compelling story.  Yali is a young woman who spent much of her childhood in hospital fighting leukemia.  A year in the hospital is a long haul for anyone, especially a child who has to go through rounds of chemo and a bone marrow transplant.  For this kid, what kept her spirit alive was the creative art therapy provided in the children’s oncology unit of the hospital where she spent so much time.

When she was 16, this creative soul had the opportunity to work with that mistress of the bright bag, Kate Spade, and set up her own trademark – Yali’s Carry On.  The words “carry on” come up time and again when you are facing a life threatening illness – so it was an inevitable leap to create a carry-on bag bursting with color and life to remind us of that we can carry on through any of life’s challenges. Yali used the peacock as her talisman – the peacock sheds each feather during the course of a year, and replenishes as it goes along.  Isn’t it wonderful?

When my cousin, Martine, was in hospital for the best part of a year, I sent her a Yali bag – more than anything I wanted her to carry on fighting leukemia.  We didn’t want to lose her.  Sadly, she passed away without ever using the bag, so her husband sent it back to me, and I have used it ever since.  But it doesn’t make me sad to use it, instead it fills me with joy – not only because my cousin was one of the most colorful people I have ever met in my life (oh yes, I remember those pink hotpants, the orange t-shirt, yellow socks and bright white tennis shoes – all worn together, at the same time …) and it reminds me of her, but because Yali’s Carry On Bag makes people smile when they ask me about it.  And then I tell them the story and they can go and buy a bag exactly the same and more money goes to a good cause.

And Yali?  According to her website she is training to be a children’s oncology nurse, not a handbag designer after all – that’s just a sideline.  I was asked about the bag three times today, while taking a walk in Cambridge, MA, where I am currently on my book tour (off to LA by the time you read this).  Those people took down the website details, and I hope they’ll buy a bag just like mine.

Have a lovely weekend.  Buy a bag ….


  1. What a great story, Our J. I'm also a tote bag aficionado and avid collector, so I just ordered this one in Khaki.

    All the best on your book tour.

  2. from Jacqueline

    Oh, well done you!!! And isn't her story so inspiring? I just wish the grey were still available. I was going to write something completely different this week, and then I had so many people asking about my bag, I thought, well, why not ...

    1. Just ordered the khaki...looks like the perfect summer tote! Yali's story is wonderful, and I'm so glad she is training to be a nurse.

      From an appreciative reader and Nurse Practitioner in Colorado


  3. Oh Jackie, this brought tears to my eyes! Two stories of two wonderful ladies, Martine and Yali. Inspiring and such courage.
    Ruby (Toronto)

  4. Oh that so gorgeous! I am going to have to get one of the khaki ones! I'm not a purse girl, but I do like funky stuff and things that make a positive impact :)

  5. from Jacqueline

    Wow, this is great - that more people will have these bags!! Thank you, all, for reading, and for ordering from Yali!

  6. On behalf of all the kids at Lurie Children's, Yali and my fellow board members at KIDSS for Kids, I'd like to thank each of you for your support of Yali's Carry On. Yali's dream is that her story inspires others to "carry on, despite their medical baggage". The passing along of her story and the handbag that represents it is a fulfillment of that dream for which she remains incredibly grateful.
    ~ Dori M, Board Member of KIDSS for Kids