Published on September 5th, 2016 | by Jae Monique0
Who is Latasha McMillan Founder of BAIR Foundation and We Boss Productions?
“I knew I had to fight. Not just for me, but for my daughter.”
After being diagnosed with Addison’s disease in 2011, the absence of optimism was overwhelming, but Latasha McMillan was strong-willed to survive. She overcame adversaries and has used her struggles as motivation to live a full life. Latasha is now the founder of the BAIR Foundation and We Boss Productions. BAIR stands for Be Aware I’m Rare and it’s a non-profit organization geared toward bringing awareness, education, support and inspiration to those who are afflicted with various rare diseases.
In an exclusive interview, McMillan shared how she overcame the adversaries of Addison’s disease to run two successful businesses, the power God has in her life, and her vision for BAIR Foundation and We Boss Productions.
Jae Monique: You are the founder of BAIR (Be Aware I’m Rare), a non-profit organization that brings awareness, education, support, and inspiration to the 2% of the world afflicted with varying rare conditions. When did you start the organization?
Latasha McMillan: I started the BAIR Foundation in May of this year so it’s fairly new, but it’s going to help and touch a lot of people’s lives. The reason I started the BAIR foundation is because I have an auto immune disease myself and I had a lot of problems with doctors not knowing how to treat me and not knowing what to do for me, and pretty much giving up. That’s what actually sparked me to create the BAIR foundation– to spread awareness, support, and better communication between doctors and people who have these rare disorders and diseases.
JM: How did you overcome adversaries of Addison’s disease to become the success you are today?
McMillan: I can’t say that it was easy, it was very tough. I had my days where I wanted to give up because I couldn’t take it. I began joining support groups and I have seen thousands of women and men that had my same struggles and a couple of them passed way. One in particular couldn’t take it anymore and she gave up. That just really touched my heart in a deep, deep place. From that moment on, I just decided I’m going to push myself, I’m going to research myself, and I’m going to do everything I can to be a guidance for other people and let them know regardless of our situation with what our bodies are telling us, we all can be healed, but healing starts with your own self. You have to have a really strong backbone to deal with any disease whether it’s rare or whether it’s a common disease. If you don’t have that type of support, you can easily fall apart. Me having those people and those support groups and seeing what they’re struggles were let me know that I wasn’t alone. Other people needed help and something needed to be done. I began to work on myself and once I moved from Nevada to Atlanta, I got with better doctors, I began feeling better, I began eating better. Once I started doing that, I started to see a change. I meditate a lot and just give myself love. I wake up every morning and let myself know ‘You’re going to make it through this day, you’re going to be alright’ and I just push. I try not to think about my sickness. I try to think more about my future and what I can do for other people
JM: For those who are unfamiliar, what is Addison’s disease?
McMillan: It’s when your body doesn’t produce cortisol. Cortisol is the homeostasis of your body. It’s produced by your adrenal glands which sits on your kidneys and it gives you adrenaline. It keeps your body balanced, your hormones balanced, it keeps all of your systems intact and running. If something happens to your adrenal glands, just like it did to mine, and they can no longer produce cortisol, then your body can no longer function and it begins to shut down. You have to take a form of steroids every day in order to keep everything balanced and working. That’s pretty much what Addison’s Disease is, it’s adrenal insufficiency and a lack of cortisol being produced in your body. Mine is secondary, which came from a doctor overdosing me on bad medications and that shut down my adrenal glands. When it’s called Addison’s disease, it’s primary and it can come from the pituitary, it can come from something else going on. It can come if you have some type of infection or anything that’s attacking your body. It can also cause your adrenal glands to fail, so it’s very important for people to be cautious of what you eat, cautious of even the water that you drink. It’s very rare, but it’s easy to develop.
JM: Where are you at now with the disease, especially in comparison to before?
McMillan: I have to take steroids every day for the rest of my life to stay alive, but not on a big dose, but if I have a crisis then they have to give me big doses. Back in January, I was pretty much bed ridden. I could barely walk, I was very weak, and I just got tired. Now, I work with a trainer. I train three to four days a week. I box three to four days a week and I lost about 60 pounds. I definitely came a long way from being bed ridden to being able to walk, run a foundation, and run a recording studio
JM: You said “God built me up for this moment. God has made me a unique force in the universe and I will spread my light to share my testimony and help other people. I can’t afford to fail them.” At one point, there was only a 1% chance that you would be healed. Can you tell the audience your standpoint of divine intervention and the power God had on your life?
McMillan: God has been amazing in my life. I’m a woman of struggle and I’ve came through a lot in my life. At 11 years old, I was having back operations and learning how to walk. When I was 15 years old, I saw my brother get murdered and at that time, a girl got pregnant by him and I ended up having to raise the little girl and she was my motivation. When my brother passed away and when I had my first back operation is when I really started seeking God because I didn’t understand what I was going through. I was just a kid and somebody sticking needles in you and making you go to sleep on purpose was a scary thing for me and that’s when I started putting it in his hands. The things he’s brought me through personally makes me know that there’s a wonderful place for me in Heaven because anybody who’s life that’s just filled with emotion and trauma and you still believe in God, and know he’s not the one allowing this stuff to happen to you, he has to love you and he’s going to spread his light on you and put you in a universe and a space where you need to be. Right now, I feel that my faith has brought me to this point because I could have been dead. I almost died three times. He’s put me in this space where I’m at peace.
JM: You own two businesses. What are the two businesses you own?
McMillan: I own a music production company called We Boss Productions. I get together creative engineers and songwriters and we create beautiful music. Right now, I’m getting ready to produce for two artists’. I just hired a new engineer. We’re getting ready to shoot a couple of music videos. I want to put together a team of women because we’re the minority in the music industry especially when it comes to engineering. We have people like Missy Elliot and a couple other great engineers. We have some female artists behind the scenes who lack the support that we need. I’m building a team of very successful entrepreneurial women that direct, women that engineer, women that produce, and women that pretty much do everything. The things the guys can do, we can do too. I’m in the process of creating a whole female movement.JM: You were attending IADT in Las Vegas, Nevada for the Audio Production Program when your body became ill due to a routine pain management program that was introduced. Since regaining your strength, have you been able to complete the program?
McMillan: I haven’t been able to complete the program because they don’t have it in Atlanta. I hired an engineer to come in and show me everything that they were showing me at school so I can get a refresher because when you go through what I went through, it messes with your memory. I lost a lot, I even lost a lot of childhood memories. I was very upset at first that I couldn’t finish school, but everything happens for a reason.
Find out more information about BAIR:
Bairfoundation.com. Proceeds from items will go to the BAIR foundation.
Find out more information about We Boss Productions: