Kansas City Portraits: Christina Eldridge and Red Dirt

Photographer Roy Inman captures stories of the people of Kansas City.

Christina Eldridge: Mission in Progress

“Christina…you had a heart attack”

“What?…But…but…I’m a vegetarian!”

A couple of years ago the week before her 37th birthday, she was sitting at her desk and fainted. When she came to, she soon realized she needed help. It was not “just” food poisoning or the flu. Fortunately for her, she was and is a development director at St. Luke’s Hospital, so she was taken to the ER ASAP.

“‘A spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection” is a rare event in the heart world,” Eldridge says. “An artery just decides to rip itself open. This is not a pleasant experience. Quintessentially, when someone gets in the ring with Death and wins, there must be a review of life’s priorities.”

She came to the conclusion that she wanted to start a social impact business that would benefit people. Christina was already a volunteer and had made a number of trips to Mali. The result was Red Dirt, an art-based online company that sells mobile phone covers and donates a percentage of the profits to the cause of providing clean water to those most in need. Dawn Taylor is her business partner, and neither takes a salary.

As Christina said on the two-year anniversary of her brush with death, “This evening I am going to raise a glass or two and toast life and the pursuit of happiness. Ponder your passions, then fill your days with them.”

Christina Eldridge started a new philosophy and a new charitable business around the same time.