Digital Journal

Emmy winner Leeza Gibbons opened up with Digital Journal about how she almost lost her father ("Pops') as she calls him to a heart attack but, technology, the Philips Lifeline, saved his life.

The only way Gibbons was able to get her dad to wear a medical alert device was to give it to him as a gift, where he would never turn down a gift from his daughter; furthermore, Betty White wears one, thus making it "cool" for his generation. "Part John Wayne, part eccentric professor, all raconteur. That's my dad: a strong independent man with a mind of his own! He's always been my hero, but after my mother died and dad was living alone, I worried about him. What if something happened? What if he needed help? It took some convincing, but I finally talked dad into getting a personal emergency response system. That gave me a lot of peace of mind knowing that help was just the push of a button away and for a couple of years he wore his Philips Lifeline without anyone even knowing that he had it. And then, as it always seems to happen, out of nowhere he had a heart attack and hit the floor. If he hadn't been wearing his Lifeline, my dad wouldn't be here today," she said. 

The talk show host is honored to be a spokesperson for Lifeline, along with television icon Betty White. "Well, Betty White is my favorite optimist and just the ultimate cool isn't she? I've known Betty for a long time, but I didn't know that she also had a Philips lifeline for years. Who knew Betty White would report to the set with a little life-saving button hanging around her neck discreetly tucked underneath her blouse? Betty and I saw an opportunity to open up the dialogue around how accessible technology is and how many ways there are to apply it to your life. For example I've loved meeting people of all ages who use their lifeline to combat depression, or anxiety attacks, or just to feel more safe and secure while taking a walk after dark. You can design a personalized system to reflect your needs. My dad now has what they call a GoSafe. He can travel anywhere in the United States, including on a boat in the water or in the shower and the service goes with him. So, for example, if dad is out fishing and he passes out , his GoSafe would automatically call for help even though he would be unable to push the button. Response operators would be able to locate his exact position and send help," she elaborated.

On her plans for the future, Gibbons responded, "I'm trying to stay more present and I think I'm getting there. Still, it's always good to have goals and dreams so big that we can grow into them. I get lots of energy from lifting others to a higher platform so they can have a better, brighter view of the future. Whether that's my kids, tv audiences, readers of books or guests in one of my support centers, I like to be a source of inspiration or connection, so many of my goals take me closer to opportunities to do more of that through TV shows or live events."

"The effort of trying my best is at the center of everything," she said, about her daily motivations." As basic as that sounds, it's true. Whatever is on my agenda, whatever plans are in the calendar and no matter who I'm meeting with, I try to be present and give it the best I can in that moment. Those choices are the foundational supports for creating what's next and I'm big on moving forward, so that's the frame I like to put on each day."

Throughout her career, she won an Emmy award for "Outstanding Host in a Lifestyle/Travel Program" for My Generation and she won Celebrity Apprentice "I'm very proud of those big moments, of course, but it's the more internal ones that resonate with me. When I was a young reporter, my boss, the news director, warned me against taking a chance with my next career move advising me if I didn't stay in traditional news that I may never work again. I'm proud that I listened to my gut and choose to veer off into other programming which led me to my work in the entertainment industry. I also forged my own path when I chose to take a break from my on-air work for a while to start a nonprofit to support family caregivers after my mother and grandmother got sick with Alzheimer's disease. I've never regretted following my heart, starting a nonprofit (Leeza's Care Connection) and pursuing something that has come to meet so much. I'm most proud when I stay grounded in my values, believe in myself and trust that I am enough."

For aspiring television personalities, he said, "As with any industry, failure is your greatest teacher, so be prepared to embrace the times you mess up, fall down and don't make the cut. We learn the most about about ourselves and other people do too, when the chips are down. Be fair, gracious and kind, but that doesn't mean you have to be a pushover or relinquish boundaries. When your work speaks for itself don't interrupt. If you can't handle stress, you won't manage success, so learn to re-frame how you think about when things fall apart."

"When your gifts and talents are used to their highest capacity for the greatest good in a way that creates the most abundance (however you define it), that's success," she said. "For me, personal life and work are fluid things and both important parts of me. I've felt successful at finding peace because I stopped looking for the elusive balance a long time ago. Now I try to invest my time versus balance it."

For her fans, Leeza Gibbons concluded, "Thank you for allowing me to fail, to try again, to be real and to share the journey. I often tell family caregivers at Leeza's Care Connection that it's important to sometimes: 'stop achieving and start receiving.' I have been blessed to receive so much love and support. I'm grateful."

To learn more about Emmy winner Leeza Gibbons, check out her official Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.

For more information on Leeza's Care Connection, check out her official website.

  • Say Yes!
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism
  • Love Your Haters.
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism
  • Get Back Up.
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism
  • Use This Moment.
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism
  • Excited About Today!
    – Leeza Gibbons
    Fierce Optimism

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