We're delighted that Health the Way Nature Intended was recently featured in the North Shore News!
West Vancouver's The Cancer Store releases guide to living well with a stoma
Erin McPhee / North Shore News
February 14, 2016 12:00 AM
In 2013, when cancer struck West Vancouver resident Leanne Chan's family twice in three months, she dedicated herself to researching things that could help, investigating treatment options, diet and nutrition.
"When you first get diagnosed you put so much energy into trying to amass information," says the 43-year-old busy mom and yoga teacher with a background in communications, marketing and corporate philanthropy.
As her family members' cancer journeys continued, Chan found herself engaging in conversations with others who shared they too had experienced cancer, either personally or within their friend and family networks. They willingly shared the resources they had discovered along the way, as well as expressed an interest in hearing more about her findings.
"You can imagine, all of a sudden our whole family, our whole nucleus, got very, very focused on cancer, anticancer, nutrition, alternative therapy. . . . And because maybe we had two people going through it at the same time, we were always collaborating resources," she says.
This prompted Chan, in partnership with her fiancé Darren Pedersen (who had been diagnosed with stage three rectal and colorectal cancer), and his sister Kelly Schmidt (who had been diagnosed with brain cancer a couple of months prior), to launch The Cancer Store, a one-stop online shop featuring cancer guides, recipes, wellness videos and resource recommendations.
In addition to maintaining their not-for-profit website (thecancerstore.ca), the family has participated in a number of fundraisers, like the Diamond Rally, as well as launched the One More Day Campaign, providing families affected by cancer with an opportunity to make lasting memories with the ones they love, in addition to raising awareness of the importance of early detection.
Currently Schmidt is continuing to undergo treatment and Pedersen, after undergoing radiation, chemotherapy and two major surgeries to remove his entire colon and lymph nodes, is doing well, and is just being monitored.
All of the family's continued efforts are intended to help empower families facing a cancer diagnosis - their own included.
"Our medical system is great and we are eternally grateful to Darren's surgeon and whatnot but you really do become a bit of a number. And it's scary, you're going in to see a doctor who almost holds your life in their hand, whether it's your oncologist or your surgeon, and he's flipping through your files because he can't quite remember who you are because he has seen 50 people that day. It's scary for anyone," says Chan.
By arming people with knowledge, they hope to help them easily get back on the road to good health.
To that end, the family has just released a new book, written by Chan, entitled Health The Way Nature Intended: Your Complete Guide To Eating And Living Well With A Stoma. The lifestyle guide was designed for those living with a stoma or compromised digestive system due to colon cancer treatments, colitis or Crohn's disease and offers daily meditations, mindfulness training, shopping and meal planning advice, recipes for juices and smoothies, as well as suggestions of exercises to strengthen and nourish the body.
The book came about as a result of Pedersen's work schedule as the 45-year-old financial advisor has offices in both Vancouver and Nanaimo and therefore splits his time between both communities.
"I created this book for him for the time that he was away from me," says Chan.
Realizing the information she had compiled would be of use to other families, the book project continued to snowball and was made possible thanks to the support of other contributors, JoAnne Strongman, of JMS Food Styling and a fellow West Vancouver resident, and award-winning food photographer Bruce Law, who donated their time.
Proceeds from Health The Way Nature Intended will support The Cancer Store's philanthropic efforts to help individuals and families thrive through their cancer journeys - past examples of which include helping families directly or in the purchase of medical equipment for local hospitals.
Copies of the book are available at healththewaynatureintended.com.