THE BIRTH OF CANSURVIVE AND THE PERSONAL STORY OF… EVE
Cansurvive Research Association was first registered in July 1995. in Qld Australia. The founders were Eve Williamson and David Hurst.
The well known Dr Ruth Cilento, became our patron later that year.
Cansurvive was established because of a need at the time for a Support and Information service for cancer patients. A service that offered a greater awareness of the benefits of holistic, non-invasive cancer therapies, which was Dr Ruth Cilento’s speciality at that time. Cansurvive has grown over the years, into a centre offering various facilities and support groups, providing a window of light into the world of healing for those challenged with cancer, where the word “Terminal” becomes a challenge, not a death sentence.
The support groups are aimed at being informative, educational, and certainly self empowering, and uplifting. Today they continue to support many on their personal journey to healing. A learning curve like no other, leading to an exciting and rewarding journey into the many avenues of holistic non invasive cancer therapies, along with the recent exciting new research into immunotherapy and Gene therapy in the treatment of cancer.
Perhaps this little quote can be viewed as one of the gems to healing.
“Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food”
How did Cansurvive come to be?
The following is the story of Eve Williamson and her own personal journey through cance, leading to the establishing of Cansurvive in Australia and the promotion of future support groups in Australia and overseas.
My name is Eve Williamson (Nee Petrie) A Scottish lassie from the glens in the highlands of Scotland. My how the years have passed and many avenues travelled to have reached the point where this story picks up in Brussels Belgium. No it wasn’t a mid life crisis, although it felt like that at the time, when given a diagnosis of cancer when living in Brussels Belgium in 1990.My then husband had been posted there to run the Hong Kong desk which was a diplomatic posting and a rather exciting place to spend three years.
I had previously been married with three children when living in Hong Kong with my first husband, an airline Captain. We had divorced and I had remarried. This posting to Brussels was early days in my second marriage, we had been in living in Brussels for about a year and I was planning to return for a family wedding in Australia of my Son. I had been experiencing flashing lights in my left eye which I thought was quite pretty, but didn’t understand why they were happening.
I thought I had better check out with an eye specialist before flying out to Australia for the wedding. He promptly told me, if I were to fly, there was a chance I would lose my eye sight due to a detached retina. He did mention the possibility of there being a tumour or some other reason for the detached retina. He sent me off that very day to St LUC’S Hospital in Brussels for a scan and further tests. I was beginning to feel a sense of fear and apprehension, and knew it was possible that there could be some thing more serious in the offing.
Those fears were to be realised. I was devastated when told the scans showed a melanoma tumour in my left eye. I am sure all cancer patients think, “Who me, why me?” I am healthy and well, this just can’t be happening, they have got to have made a mistake! This is such a familiar emotion when you are first diagnosed with Cancer…
The day of my son’s wedding in Australia was spent lying in bed in St Lucs Hospital in Brussels, having been through a fairly trying surgical procedure to my precious beautiful eye. I was feeling vulnerable and a little sorry for myself, missing my family and friends. When you are in a stressful situation and a frightening one, you feel the need of kith and kin.
I had so much wanted to be at my son’s wedding and to share that beautiful day with all the gathered family members. Phone calls from family during that day, were so welcome, just the sound of their voices made me weep. Communication had been difficult in the hospital as I did not speak Flemish, only a little French. Dr Croughs, who was the eye specialist handling my case, spoke excellent English and was fantastic.
I was out of hospital within a week sporting an eye patch and getting used to navigating my way around with one eye. Although I did have a few mishaps with the sensing of distance and depth over a period of time resulting in a couple of broken bones in my feet and a few bruises. At least I was on the mend! I was assured that my sight would not be affected by the radium treatment I was receiving at the time.
There were many other follow up treatments such as laser treatments to eliminate cataracts that were forming. In September 1991 having returned to Hong Kong for a period of time, I eventually had a series of two operations, performed by Professor Patrick Ho. In Hong Kong. One being a lens replacement, followed by a PCIOL implantation along with a peripheral iridectomy. The implantation was to cause great problems and certainly intense pain. The end result was to cause total blindness in my left eye. I was told that my sight would return in a few days after the operation and not to worry!
My sight was never to return.
Through all of this one remains thankful for the good health that is with me today. I may have lost the sight in one eye, but the challenge of melanoma cancer is no longer with me. There were many avenues to follow on the healing path, some were stunningly rewarding. All of these experiences led me to be where I am today, and gratefully thankful for life’s many blessings.
One of the turning points in my healing journey was meeting up with a man named Matthew Manning in Hong Kong in 1992 He was a well known healer based in Burry St Edmonds in England. He had been invited out by the Cancer Fund in Hong Kong to give a talk, demonstration and week end workshop. That week end experience was to play an important part in turning my life around In the most amazing way. I had been to the specialist that morning before attending the workshop.
The news had been anything but up lifting. Dire warnings were issued about my reluctance and indeed, perhaps bloody mindedness about having my eye removed and replaced with a coral like implant. I just could not accept that avenue of treatment. Even although the predictions were fearful. Some thing in me knew there had to be a better way. Matthew was the catalyst to prove that to be so.
I arrived at the Centre In Wong Nei Chung Gap Rd. A beautiful place set high above the bustling city of Hong Kong, overlooking both sides of the Island, Deep Water Bay and Repulse Bay sparkling like a jewel in the distance. It was a cool Autumn day when I drove there from the specialists appointment to meet with a dear friend, to attend this healing week end workshop and seminar. Wrapped in a bottle green Highland cape for warmth, (yes it gets cold in Hong Kong in the winter) My eye after the mornings treatments was looking any thing but sexy, half of my face was swollen and my eye was painful.
Neither my friend and I had any idea what the days events would entail. I had no great expectations, but was certainly curious about the healing phenomena of this man Matthew Manning. He was a flamboyant young looking man in a polka dot sports jacket! Some how your image of those that are blessed with God given healing abilities, would be dressed accordingly. Dog collars or flowing robes or something akin to that. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover should be the motto! It proved to be an amazing experience. I find it hard to put into words to explain what happened to me during that blessed long week end. The swelling went down, the eye became calm, my nausea had dissipated.
He would place his hands on my shoulders, the heat would begin to feel intense, causing my body to vibrate. It felt, in a spiritual sense as if I were being lifted beyond the physical body, a feeling of floating, being surrounded by intense light and all embracing love. An expansion of the soul is about the only way I can explain it. It was truly an amazing experience.
About a week later, on returning to the specialist for my periodic follow up treatment, Professor Ho does the usual scan and examination to see how the tumour is behaving its self. He shows surprise! “What have you been doing?” he says, “Your eye has settled down, the swelling has gone and the tumour is beginning to melt away.” I smile like a Cheshire cat, and think to my self “should I really confide in this starched white coated medical supremo.” What would he think? I know my truth, what do I have to lose? This inscrutable Chinese face looks at me without emotion. Which basket is he placing me in? I am not sure. I don’t care, I feel well, I am well, and what’s more (although I hadn’t told him) I had tossed out my medication! From now on I was going to be the person who would take care of ME. (By the way, I don’t suggest you do this!!)
He surprises me with his comment. “If this is what healing has done for you, then continue, but I can’t be seen to be party to this type of treatment” He then told me, I could perhaps help others who were in the same boat as myself. The timely meeting of Matthew Manning has been one of the catalyst in my life, helping to pull together part of the holistic picture, clearly defining to me, that a major part of the healing journey is within ones own control.
The tools are there to harness, we have the reigns, and the control. It’s each and every persons own personal journey.
Cansurvive is about that journey.
I returned to Australia in November 1993 to visit my dearly beloved Father who had suffered a heart attack and stroke. He died the day after I returned, it was also the unfortunate end of my own troubled marriage. It was a stressful difficult time in my life. A triple whammy!
There was an obvious need for me to find a support group that would uplift and encourage wellness and health, be informative and stimulating. At this stage, along came David Hurst, a Buddhist Monk, just the right person to meet at the right time. He was an amazing man, with a wonderful ability to support, and encourage people towards self healing. His healing meditations had a large following, they were greatly uplifting and supportive events. He wasn’t the solemn detached guru living in his own little world, he had a great sense of humour and loved life. We became close friends and shared a common interest and desire to open a supportive service for those who were challenged with cancer.
Nothing was available to the public at the time. There were support groups, but nothing in the field of holistic therapies and nutritional advice, meditation and support. It was a blank page and it needed filling. So what do you do when it isn’t there?
You go do it!
After much thought and effort by various members of the community Cansurvive was eventually registered in July 1995. A cancer charity that offers much in the way of information and support to the cancer patient, their carers and family members. David Hurst died the month Cansurvive was registered. His teachings go on through his regular column in the quarterly Cansurvive Magazine and can also be found on the net.
Today Cansurvive is expanding, with the opening of further groups by those who request our support.. Cansurvive is also registered in Malaysia. They run a series of internationally based seminars yearly which are well received by the community and overseas visitors. Cansurvive in Australia is run purely by voluntary help, dedication and commitment. The groups offer educational seminars, supportive workshops, healing meditations, counselling, comprehensive library, net access, practitioner information, and information on a range of holistic clinics both here in Australia and overseas. The Support groups are run as donation only, making it available to all who seek our help.
The quarterly Cansurvive Magazine is a travelling support group in it’s self. It reaches many areas in Australia, giving help and support to those, where no support group is available. We also have members based overseas. The main branch of Cansurvive is now based in Nambour Qld on a beautiful four acre property of rain forest and tropical gardens.
The original Support group was held in my Caloundra pent house apartment which had wonderful views over the ocean and over the Glass House Mountains, It had three bedrooms and a large walk out terrace overlooking the ocean, a great spot to hold the group, the only draw back was one had to climb three flights of stairs to access the place. For some who were not in the best of health, it was a effort to make the climb. For me it was my daily exercise, I would go for a morning swim in the ocean, then do a quick trot back up the stairs.
On the day of the support group, I would pull out the boxes of books residing under the bed in the spare room, set up the group, and away we would go. The group was to prove very popular and soon expanded. My past business experience was some how to prove helpful in the setting up and organizing of Cansurvive. That experience ranged from, nursing training in my early years before marriage.
When my three children were a little older, the setting up and running of a travelling Salon mostly for the Expat community in Hong Kong where I lived for a period of 23 years. This venture also included the manufacturing of a product, “Silky Smooth” Depilitory Wax Gel which was packaged and sold bulk to salons and to the public through a chain of Chemists in Hong Kong. This was very successful and fun to work with. I certainly learned a lot about marketing and sales, challenging and cut throat, but fun!
I also taught Yoga and healing meditation, a practice I have embraced over the years, a major tool to healing. “Food for the soul”.
I eventually sold the Travelling Salon, then moved into interior design and managing property. I loved this as I had always had a passion for decoration and design, I ended up being responsible for the interior design and management of 24 properties in Hong Kong. These were heady days in 1989 and I loved my work.
In 1990 I remarried and moved to Brussels Belgium with my husband. In hind site you look back over the kaleidoscope of life and try to make sense of the many turning points that have evolved. There have been stressful difficulties to cope with, but some how in a strange way, they have tempered the steel of endurance creating wonderful learning curves that would not have presented had one not been put to the challenge. Sometimes the explosions that can disrupt the path of your life create a new dimension of thinking and being, and often in hind sight…a blessing!
In 1997 I decided to lease out my delightful apartment in Caloundra and bought a beautiful hinterland property in the Maleny area. It offered 4 acres of heaven, with lot’s of out buildings, a perfect place for the running of a Cansurvive centre. The large country home was used for various seminars and work shops, the verandas for Devonshire teas and fund raising events. The gardens were open to the public once a year.
In 2004 It was decided to move Cansurvive out of my home base in Maleny. Cansurvive was eventually established within a commercial environment closer to the Sunshine Coast area. And to be near the large general hospital which had opened a new cancer wing.
In 2005 a generous benefactor, a member of the Sunshine Coast community very kindly donated funds to Cansurvive for the establishing of a Centre. This wonderful bequest allowed us to expand the services we offer the public by the purchasing of a 4 acre property for Cansurvive in the Nambour area. It’s a delightful property, meandering paths through rainforest and lawns. A little creek runs through the property straddled by two red painted wooden bridges. Yes, it’s a perfect retreat for cancer patients and their families to visit.
Cansurvive has grown in leaps and bounds over the years and is now a well established organization. It is run entirely by the wonderful support of dedicated volunteers. It is funded by personal Cansurvive membership, Co sponsorships, Magazine sales, advertising and greatly appreciated donations from members of the public. With support also given by the local Sunshine Coast Council.
To me Cansurvive is a dedication, and a commitment to the cause.
18 years ago, when visiting Scotland, the home of my birth, I made a Highland pledge, high in the rugged mountain cairns at the top of a Glen near Loch Brandy, overlooking Glen Doll and Glen Clova. The place of my childhood, a pledge to my Mother and Sister who both died of cancer at an early age.
“That I would attempt to make a difference, not even knowing how I could, but that I should…. and that I would!”
How much more of a push did one need to take the leap of faith to launch Cansurvive into the future?
The tools of healing are within, seek guidance, information and support. It’s there to tap into…
God’s grace is in all that we are and all that we achieve.
May your journey shine an inspirational light to guide your steps to healing.