Tech billionaire Sean Parker made headlines earlier this year when he announced that he was sinking $250 million into an effort to “solve” cancer through immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight the deadly disease.
While Parker’s philanthropy is being hailed far and wide, cancer survivor and integrative therapy advocate Ann Fonfa finds all the hoopla about the “relatively new area of research” amusing.
“The mainstream is always abuzz about the latest thing,” Fonfa tells Newsmax Health. “For a while it was genetics. Now it’s immunology, which actually came from the world of alternative medicine.”
And it’s hardly a “relatively new” concept to her.
“I first heard about immunology in a hallway discussion about dendrite cells at a cancer conference in Philadelphia in the 1990s,” says Fonfa. “The research back then was being done in Mexico and other countries and was considered backroom by mainstream medical people.”
Ironically, when Fonfa was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, she says, her doctor said her immune system was not a factor in her condition or her survival.
“My doctor told me my immune system had nothing to do with it, and neither did diet or exercise,” she recalls. “Now we know better.”
In fact, diet, exercise and attitude are three pillars of Fonfa’s cancer-fighting protocol, which she preaches through the Annie Appleseed Project, her Delray Beach, Florida-based nonprofit.
“The first thing I tell cancer patients is to stop eating products with added sugar because cancer cells feed on it,” she says. “Avoid deep-fried foods, and add more organic fruits and vegetables to your diet. Get moving because activity is good for the immune system, and learn how to reduce stress. You be surprised how much taking seven deep breaths will relax you.”
Fonfa notes that some 13 million people have visited the Annie Appleseed Project’s Website since it went online in 1999. It offers a wealth of resources about the many therapies cancer patients can try to battle the scourge.
“I came up with that name because we’re spreading seeds of information, which reminded me of Johnny Appleseed,” she explains in a phone interview from San Diego while attending the 14th Annual International Integrative Oncology Conference. “The mainstream is always looking for a silver bullet, but there isn’t one. So I say, try everything.”
And she’s living proof that it can work. Due to a chemical sensitivity and her oncologist’s insensitivity about her concerns, she passed on chemo treatments following her 1993 lumpectomy.
And when the techs at the radiation center told her she’d have to use whichever radiation machine was available first—the “old” one or the “new” one—she passed on that too.
Instead, she researched other options and started taking control of her own health. She started eating organic food; taking supplements like resveratrol, coenzyme Q10 and dietary enzymes; and “worked on being happy.”
Meanwhile, she joined a cancer support group and noticed that while her health seemed to be improving, the others were going downhill. So she created a “whole health study group,” which eventually morphed into the Annie Appleseed Project.
Still, her cancer returned. She had two mastectomy surgeries in 1996, but it came back again on her chest wall the following year.
“I had invasive globular cancer,” she explains. “At one point, I had 25 tumors, so I started trying everything from magnets to metabolic enzyme therapy.”
Despite her efforts, she still had 14 tumors in 1997 when she was diagnosed with advance Stage 4 cancer—often a death sentence.
But Fonfa refused to give up, and in 1998 she met Chinese herbalist Dr. George Wong at a cancer symposium. He prescribed an herbal regimen, and within a year, her tumors were gone. An MRI in 2001 showed “no discernable cancer,” and she says she remains cancer-free to this day.
Now 68, Fonfa continues to eat organic foods, take supplements, munch on raw garlic and travel the world spreading the word that you can beat cancer by adopting strategies to boost your overall health and the function of your immune system.
“You’re not going to win all the time,” she acknowledges. “But I’m someone who had 25 tumors and lived to laugh about it.”
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