Alison Smithies

"Late 1999 at the age of 57, I was diagnosed with Follicular lymphoma stage lllA,Grade1. I blamed the past particularly stressful three years and began to investigate ways in which I could change my life for the better. As a nurse and cardiopulmonary technician I was well versed in traditional medicine and wasn't keen to take powerful drugs without having tried a kinder option first. I retired from work and put my energies into researching all sorts of alternative therapies finding the most beneficial results coming from diet, exercise, yoga and meditation. My supportive husband even moved us to the mountains where we built a "toxic-free" house. It was during this time that I read about the Gawler Foundation and went so far as to acquire the forms for a course in Melbourne but could not afford the cost. For five years I kept reasonably well on my regime but then the cancer suddenly became aggressive and transformed to a diffuse large B cell lymphoma. I was too ill to opt out of chemotherapy any longer and had eight cycles of R-CHOP with good effect. A year later the disease was back and I was given a different cocktail of chemotherapy with the understanding that I could not have the same drugs each time. There was an expectation that the disease would recur quickly and the availability of other drugs would become more difficult.

It was then that I learned of the setting up of the Canlive cancer support programme [a branch of the Gawler Foundation] in Central Otago, only an hour away. With my husband as my support person I enrolled for the first course and there found the answers to my original questions on alternative self help. I had made a start and was on the right track but the resources at Canlive were concentrated in one package. We learned how to extract the best from our foods especially in regard to the anti-cancer nutrients. We learned the value of regular exercise. We learned to examine our behaviour and personality traits and given the tools to modify them to help healing, to become more confident, less negative, more forward thinking. Learning to meditate seemed to bring all these things together and gave acceptance and contentment. The passion has returned to life.

I am certain that my success in keeping the cancer at bay for nearly four years now can be attributed significantly to my attendance at Canlive. In an ideal world, modern medicine would encompass The Gawler Foundation's guidelines along with the traditional methods of diagnosis, surgery and drugs. This really would be integrated medicine."

Rebecca Honiss

"The holistic mind, body and soul approach gave me practical easy, day to day techniques that provided me with direction and hope."

“Cancer arrived as an unwelcome guest and stole my confidence. The medical system implemented everything within their powers to fight the cancer and reduce the risk of recurrence. This implementation was necessary but brutal and further stripped me of wellbeing and confidence. Then the day came when the medical system and the unwelcome guest had finished with me and spat me out the other end – exhausted, fragile and without direction. Canlive gave me the gift of addressing all that had occurred, dealing with the issues and providing me with the tools to start rebuilding hope and confidence – reminding me that there was a whole life to be lived. It without a doubt got me back on track and not only ready, but confident to take my place back in society. Thank you Canlive!”

Maria Henry

The 8 days we spent on the retreat were some of the best days of my life. I've never been looked after so well and everyone was so caring. It was life changing actually - which of course it was meant to be. Thank you so much.

The 'food be thy medicine' diet is going well. Probably I don't have quite as many juices as I should or I'd like, being at work all day but, that will change when I take my leave of absence from work in January.

I'm doing ok with the meditation too. I go to the quiet room at the Polytech after lunch and meditate before going off to my job in the library and I do another one in the evening at home. They have quickly become part of my life that other things fit around. I've swapped my Thurs morning teaching so I can meditate then with a small group at the spiritual gallery in Timaru  - a nice atmosphere meditating with others and the guy who leads us is lovely too. I still have many thoughts clamoring to fill any still places in my head but I remember you saying that no meditation is a bad one and that it took you a while so I feel heartened.

I'm also looking into options for dealing with the emotional issues. I've started reading The Biology of Belief by Bruce Lipton which is great.

So all in all I'm doing well, I think. Certainly my outlook on life has changed to more positive, calm and happy.

Kevin meditates first thing in the morning and is more than happy to eat what I have. He remains my number 1 rock!

 The family were very interested in what we learnt at the retreat and keen to support me so that's been good.

Jane Egerton

Attending CanLive gave me a feeling of control over my health and well being which directly or indirectly has given me a positive health outcome"

(My cancer has not advanced despite a 5 month 'drug holiday')

Pete Smith

"I believe that the starting point to surviving cancer is having hope. I was given no hope by conventional medicine. However, through the knowledge and support obtained from the CanLive programme I believe I have found a viable way forward and am now on a path to healing. The knowledge gained has given me further hope and the support provided by the group gives inspiration and a sense of solidarity."