Tara Haaland-Ford - The Friendship Paddle 2013

Tara Haaland-Ford

Tara has always had a love for the water and the ocean. She met her husband Jon Ford while lifeguarding at Los Banos Pool. They bonded over their love of the water, ocean, masters swimming and the beach. Jon lifeguarded for both the City of Santa Barbara and the State Parks. Jon works for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and is a part of the water rescue team where he continues to use his water safety and lifeguarding skills. Jon grew up in Santa Barbara and is an avid waterman. Their family spends most weekends at the beach swimming, surfing, paddling, sailing, and treasure hunting.

Tara and Jon have two beautiful daughters Madison, 8 and Lucy, 6. Both girls attend Washington Elementary School. Tara and Jon are passing on their love of the water to their girls. Madison rode her first wave with her dad at 18 months old and has already started to build a quiver of surfboards. Lucy loves the water and is usually the kid at Leadbetter Beach hitting the waves without a wetsuit. Both girls are members of the Santa Barbara Swim Club and swim at Los Banos.

Tara attended college at UCSB and continued her education at the University of San Francisco School of Law. She returned to Santa Barbara in 2000 after finishing law school. Tara was in the top 10% percent of her class and graduated Magna Cum Laude. While in law school she interned at the Bayview Hunter’s Point Community Defender and the Santa Clara Public Defender’s Office. She also taught street law in juvenile hall and was an Editor on the Law Review.

Tara is a criminal defense attorney in private practice. She volunteers her time in a wide array of legal oriented groups and organizations. She is a current Commissioner and former Chairperson of the Santa Barbara Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention Commission, a current board member and past president of the Santa Barbara Teen Legal Clinic, a board member for City at Peace, a former Teen Court Judge and a member of the Washington Elementary PTO.

Tara runs the Santa Barbara Teen Legal Clinic out of her office, where she conducts all initial intakes of the children and teens that are facing a variety of legal issues. She either finds pro bono representation for these children or represents them herself. She is also engaged in opposing the gang injunction proposed for Santa Barbara City. She is providing all of her services pro bono to the defendant she represents.

Tara is a member of many legal organizations. She was recently awarded the Heroes for Justice award by the Santa Barbara Legal Aid Foundation, the Humanitarian Award by the Santa Barbara County Bar Association and the Civil Rights Hero Award by the ACLU.

Tara was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer on Friday, November 9, 2012, the same day she was to receive the Humanitarian Award. She had surgery the next day and began the fight for her life. Although they were able to remove the tumor from her colon they were not able to take the tumors from her liver or lymph nodes. Tara’s motto is Tara Says F*ck Cancer or TSFC. She has a blog at www.tarasaysfuckcancer.com. She is fighting cancer on all levels. She is working with Dr. Woliver at the Cancer Center receiving chemotherapy every three weeks, working with Dr. Han at the Herb Clinic, seeing a healer, Sarah Martin, working with a nutritionist, Dale Figtree and doing Reiki with Krista Keiding. Tara is determined to beat cancer. The beach has become a place of healing for Tara. The side effects from the chemotherapy are hitting her hard on her hands and feet and she finds that swimming in the ocean water helps to quell the pain. When Tara is feeling stressed she finds solace at the beach listening to the sound of the waves and taking in the smells of the ocean.





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