From Jessica Porter:
Dear friends of Sanae,
You'll notice that we have already reached our initial goal (WOOT, WOOT!!) but we are continuing this campaign... please read the update below (on this page, posted on June 25th) to find out more about that...
Back to the story:
I decided to start this campaign (together with Eric and the amazing Amanda Plant) in order to help finance the chemotherapy Sanae is currently receiving. It’s never easy to ask for help, and Sanae is especially polite and humble when she needs assistance. So I thought I’d step in.
If you haven’t heard yet, Sanae has a rare cancer called Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL). It’s a non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the diagnosis of which was a big surprise to all of us. As you know, Sanae eats and lives very naturally. She recovered from ovarian cancer over twenty-four years ago using the macrobiotic diet and a holistic lifestyle--forgoing radiation and chemo--and since then she has been spreading the word of natural healing in every direction: She has written books, opened restaurants, and counseled other individuals in healing crises… all the while raising dogs and cats, knitting sweaters and hats, making jewelry, teaching cooking classes, becoming a yoga instructor, making soap, growing organic gardens, studying Bach Flower remedies and aromatherapy. Even after her first chemo treatment, she knitted her own hat for her newly bald head (Eric shaved it), and says she is looking forward to sewing a dress when all of this is over. Phew!
So how did this happen?
In 2001, Sanae was in a very serious car accident, after which she was in a coma for three days. It was one of the many miracles of her life that she survived that accident, and doubly amazing that she can walk, not to mention hike and teach yoga.
However, during her recovery from the accident, she received a blood transfusion that contained Hepatitis C. She has been fine up until now, but especially after the age of sixty, Hepatitis C has a nasty way of setting the stage for other diseases, and Sanae’s form of lymphoma shows up at a disproportionate rate among people with the Hepatitis C virus. The tumor is in her liver, which points even more strongly to hepatitis being an underlying factor. Unfortunately, even though she and Eric did everything they could to shrink the tumor naturally, it was growing at a very rapid rate.
The good news is that the type of chemo she is receiving (Rituximab+EPOCH) has a 60-70% cure rate for this type of lymphoma, even when the tumor is in the liver. Those are fantastic odds!
The bad news is that she and Eric must pay $5,000 per round of chemotherapy, of which there are six rounds over the next five months. And that’s just a 20% co-pay after insurance has paid the bulk of the costs. That’s $30,000, altogether. And it’s not as if they can just let the bills pile up and deal with them later. She will not get treatment every 21 days until the $5,000 co-pay is paid.
As you might expect, the money pressure is high, and Eric is still doing private cooking to pay their day-to-day expenses, while Sanae is obviously unable to bring in any income for the foreseeable future.
So, I am here to ask for your support. If you have been affected by Sanae at some point on your life’s journey… if you have been inspired by her, or learned from her, or eaten at Seed Kitchen… this is a wonderful time to return that good energy. All we need is 300 friends to donate $100 each in order to reach the goal. Or 600 friends donating $50. No amount is too small, and every single donation will be met with deep gratitude. Of course, if you are in a position to afford a larger donation without being burdened financially yourself, bless you: This money is saving a life. Literally.
Let’s make the financial lifting easy so that wonderful Sanae can relax into getting the treatment she needs.
One final thing: I have seen Sanae many times in the last few months. When I first found out she was sick, I came to visit and her energy was pretty low. Over the next few weeks, it got worse, and worse. I became very afraid for her. Soon she was in terrible pain, as the tumor took over more and more of her liver. Amanda and I were with Sanae and Eric last month when she met her second oncologist--a female doctor straight out of Grey’s Anatomy--who told us that Sanae had only weeks to live unless she got aggressive treatment, and that this type of chemo could be effective. Within an hour, we were checking her into the hospital.
I visited a few times, but five days into her admission, when she was still receiving the medicine, I had a shock: She was strong, happy, and energized. The pain was gone.
But that’s not all.
Because she’s Sanae, she was taking 30-minute walks throughout the hospital twice a day. She was doing a hot body scrub every morning and night. She practiced yoga in her room, did self-massage between visitors, ate Eric’s healing macrobiotic food, and meditated like a champ. None of it felt compulsive or intense; she just had (and has) a profound love of life and an unflagging determination to live it. The nurses on the ward were saying she needed to come back and teach them cooking classes and yoga, which I’m sure she will do.
I will never forget sitting across from her, just absorbing her energy. I was profoundly moved and inspired. This is a warrior, I thought to myself. And she is. She is a living example of how strong natural foods can make us, and how they can nourish us deeply through the big challenges of life. If anyone is going to kick cancer to the curb (this time, with medical assistance) it is Sanae Suzuki. Will you please help her kick the medical bills to the curb, too?
Thank you so much for your time and attention. If you’ve read this far, I really appreciate it, and I know Sanae does too.
P.S. Please share this with anyone you know who might be interested.
You can also support Sanae by purchasing her and Eric’s beautiful books. Every dollar you spend on books (minus shipping) will go directly into the chemo fund.
If you’d like personalized signed copies from Sanae and/or Eric, buy them here. Consider getting a few and giving them as gifts!
Unsigned copies of all Sanae’s books are also available on Amazon. As is Eric’s delicious dessert book.