The Leap KQED's storytelling podcast about people making dramatic, risky changes, told by award-winning public radio reporters Amy Standen and Judy Campbell.
The Leap

The Leap

From KQED

KQED's storytelling podcast about people making dramatic, risky changes, told by award-winning public radio reporters Amy Standen and Judy Campbell.More from The Leap »

Most Recent Episodes

Suddenly Everyone's Favorite Communist

Brace Belden was 27 when he snuck into Syria to enlist in a Kurdish militia, leaving his girlfriend, job, and hometown of San Francisco behind. Even he thought it was a dumb idea, but it was also a chance to finally put his beliefs into action.

I'm Your Man

April hasn't seen Steve in 15 years. So when she gets a call from a lawyer asking about him, she's not sure what to think. As memories from long ago crowd her mind, she's also confronted by an ugly new truth. One that haunts her present and makes her doubt the past. "The Last of the Artizans" by Ron Dembosky, April's dad. She gave a copy to Steve's parents.

17andMe

Daley Dunham was a junior in college at UC Berkeley when he decided to donate sperm. He likened it to donating blood — an opportunity to do something good for a person in need. Except when you donate blood, you don't get a tidal wave of children crashing into your life twenty years later.

The Company We Keep

Two stories of odd ducks and unlikely friendships. A man posts an ad to sublet his office and ends up the sole friend of an eccentric old man at odds with a changing city. A woman finds companionship with a catfish that leads her on a journey to the Amazon.

Her Double Life

My Linh Le has been lying to her parents about who she is for decades. When she's with them, she gives them the daughter they want, and she keeps the truth about who she is to herself. But then one night, My Linh had a strange dream and woke up wondering, at 31 years old, was it finally time to own up to all the lies she'd been living since high school?

S3 Episode 1: Little Girl Lost

Sunday, December 9, 1984 is a day Beth McGhee will never forget. It's the day her three year-old daughter, Neola, vanished, kidnapped by her ex-husband. As Beth launched into the painful search for Neola, she had no idea how long she would be waiting for her daughter to come home. Or if she would come home at all.

S2 Episode 6: Listener Stories- A Boat, a Baby and the Blue Skies of Montana

We've been asking for your stories, and on the last episode of Season 2, we highlight three of our listeners' leaps. Gavin McClurg embarked on a death-defying adventure on the Pacific that changed the direction of his life. Amy Gotliffe decided to adopt a baby as a single mother, an experience that brought her both joy and heartbreak. And, at 58 years of age, Bette Giordano left her husband, her ailing father and her way of life for a journey of self discovery in the West.

S2 Episode 6: Listener Stories- A Boat, a Baby and the Blue Skies of Montana

S2 Episode 5: An Unorthodox Life

Henny Kupferstein grew up in the Belz sect of ultra-orthodox, Hasidic Jews in Borough Park, Brooklyn. From early childhood, she felt like a misfit. After getting married to a virtual stranger at age 18, Henny began secretly rebelling against the confines of her sect. When she was 34, a startling diagnosis would lead her on a dramatic path away from the Belz and everyone she knew, including her four children. You can read about Henny's work with autistic kids and her book, Perfect Pitch in the Key of Autism, on her website. Music for this episode was composed by Nicholas DePrey, Chris Colin, Seth Samuel, and Henny Kupferstein.

S2 Episode 4: The Elementary Kool-Aid Acid Test

In the early 1960's, a psychologist named Gary Fisher carried out a radical experiment on severely emotionally disturbed children at a residential hospital in Southern California. Fisher believed these children's behavioral problems could be traced back to profound trauma they had suffered in their early childhoods, but had never adequately processed. He thought very large doses of LSD might cure them. Whether Fisher's experiment was reckless or whether it was heroic depends on how you think about science, and what risks we're willing to take in pursuit of something groundbreaking. Nancy, a patient at Fairview Developmental Center in the 1960s, before she began LSD treatment with Gary Fisher. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) Before treatment, Nancy spent much of her time in restraints, in order to keep her from injuring herself. (Courtesy of Erowid and Gary Fisher's family/ KQED) Nancy, after beginning treatment with Gary Fisher, cutting cake at a birthday party. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) After receiving large doses of LSD and psilocybin, Nancy (center) was no longer injuring herself, according to Fisher and Fairview records. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) Psychologist Gary Fisher and Nancy. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) Fairview psychologist Gary Fisher (far left) and Nancy (center) in the 1960s. (Courtesy of Purdue University Libraries, Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections/ KQED) Psychologist Gary Fisher tried LSD for the first time in 1959. (Courtesy of the Fisher family/ KQED) Gary Fisher holding his daughter, Bess. (Courtesy of the Fisher family/ KQED) Fisher and Bess. (Courtesy of the Fisher family/ KQED) Recent photo of Fairview Developmental Center, a hospital for individuals with developmental disabilities. California plans to close this center by 2021. (Courtesy of Fairview Developmental Center/ KQED) Recent photo of a hallway in Fairview Developmental Center. (Courtesy of The Center for Investigative Reporting/ KQED)

S2 Episode 3: Mirror Mirror

Jill Sutherlin has been numbing her feelings of emptiness with food, drugs and alcohol since she was a child growing up in California's Central Valley. Several years ago she did something she's always wanted to do, something she didn't know she was capable of. She embarked on an extreme weight loss plan and lost more than 200 pounds in just over a year. Everyone told her she looked amazing. But she knew something was wrong.

Back To Top