Carla Shuford: 54-Year Bone Cancer Survivor

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Carla Shuford grew up on a small dairy farm in North Carolina. Though the organic movement was not as established as it is today, in the mid-1950s her father decided to stop using pesticides in his garden in favor of adopting organic farming practices.

Though in retrospect it seems incredibly prescient, her father had no idea yet that this decision would become instrumental in saving his daughter’s life.

In 1958, at age 15, Carla Shuford was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma, which had metastasized to her lymph nodes. Osteogenic sarcoma is the second most common type of primary bone cancer, which typically presents in the leg or shoulder. It is most commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents.

The doctors did not feel that radiation would be helpful in her case, and instead opted for radical surgery, amputating Carla’s leg at the hip. Despite the surgery, Carla received a grim prognosis: her doctors told her she had six months to live.

Carla’s mother, unwilling to give up hope just yet, rushed to New York to meet with Dr. Max Gerson. Carla said:

“Although it would have been preferable for me to be a resident of Dr. Gerson’s New York clinic, circumstance made that impossible. Because of the extreme demands of time, energy, and the difficulty of acquiring toxin-free foods, along with the thoroughness and exactness that the program required, Dr. Gerson was reluctant for patients to handle the treatment at home, especially in the beginning stages.

However, he was impressed with my mother’s intelligence and untiring dedication to detail. In return for his trust, she made him the promise that she would follow his prescribed regimen to the letter.”

Carla’s mother stuck to her promise, and her family devoted five years to Carla’s round-the-clock care. Her father’s organic garden provided some of the food she needed for juicing and meals, but there were crops that Carla needed that her father’s garden did not provide.

So, Carla’s father went to other farmers in the area, and asked them to allocate portions of their gardens to be pesticide-free for Carla’s use. While the Shuford’s neighbors did not share his interest in organic farming, they were happy to help, and dedicated pesticide-free patches in their gardens to Carla for her treatment. Thanks to her neighbors’ cooperation, Carla was able to procure all her needed produce for the duration of her five years on the therapy.

Carla received a death sentence from her doctors back in 1958, yet she is still alive and well, and will soon turn 69. Carla remains on a strictly organic diet, and enjoys swimming daily. She is an active member in her local organic community in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Last year, she gave an interview for a project documenting the Carrboro Farmers’ Market for the Southern Foodways Alliance, and spoke of her experience on the Gerson diet, and how it has led to a lifelong passion for organic produce. Enjoy Carla’s interview below:

Top photo and video source: Southern Foodways Alliance

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  • Rita Berman

    Carla Shuford is the subject of my book, Still Hopping, Still Hoping, published by Righter Publishing Company.  She is a long time and well-known resident of Chapel Hill and went strawberry picking today.  Her activities in spite of being an amputee are truly inspiring. Rita Berman

  • http://www.vitalitopia.mionegroup.com/ Jo Jo

    What a wonderful woman! Thank you for sharing her story.

  • Linda Marie

    An incredible story, well worth reading.

  • Jlugalindo

    I like to know if anybody overcome protein c deficiency

  • GersonInstitute

    Hi Jlugalindo! Contact our office, one of our Education Specialists would be happy to speak to you and share any information they may have about that condition. 
    http://gerson.org/gerpress/contact-us/

  • Azmandella

    Miracles do happen. Good for you Carla.

  • Karen Scobie

    The power of food never ceases to amaze me.  Thank goodness for Max Gerson.

  • Sonia

    Im 50 years old and have suffered from severe Migraine for 30 years. I’ve tried anything and everything and spent thousands of dollars.  Finally came across an amazing cleanse which is all natural food supplement and almost all organic and my life has totally changed since doing a 30 day cleanse about 5 months ago.  I’m now sleeping through the night, have energy, numbness in hands at night has disappeared, migraine is almost non existing. Had to quit work 18 years ago because of my health and it was all because my body was so toxic.  Nothing like an amazing cleanse and nourishing your body with the best food possible. You take care of your car…why not take care of our body. To me..it has been a miracle also.  Sonia

  • Agnieszka

    Unfortunately we have lost the memories of all good things that were happening before. We were raised up in chemical world and we did not look for answers. Now with Gerson Institute and other non chemical methods of curing the cancer we can come back to the magical world of natural healing -that once was the only way of healing. I hope that more and more people will understand that we were created by nature and we can be cured only by nature.

  • Jeri

    Inspirational….A must listen to video!! Someone I would love to meet:)
    Thank-you Carla for sharing your story. When your child is sick or facing death, what wouldn’t you do as a parent….It seems so simple to change old habits and adopt new ones for the sake of of one’s health!!!

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/H26S5AW5RT3DVFVCQ56WUC4PJE diana

    Carla, thank you for your friendship and love for Jonathan, my husband and I.  Thank you for sharing this video that is an inspiration for Jonathan and all of us.  We needed to know this part of your story because we were wondering how Jonathan’s life will be when he is out of the Gerson therapy.  It is going to be  two years since he got started with the Gerson Therapy this summer and he is still alive and feeling much better!  You are his role model since he has the same type of cancer you had in the 1950s.
    God bless you.  We love you!

    Pablo, Diana and Jonathan Hernandez

  • Sarah

    What cleanse did you take? What did you do to get better?my Mom hands get numb that it wakes her up in the middle of the night.

  • Dktrpain

    Is “osteogenic sarcoma” the same as Ewing Sarcoma?  Thanks.

  • Nana

    my husband has myxoid sarcoma at the moment his protein level is far too low for an operation to be performed  i AM IN DESPERATE need of advice on what is the best diet for him

    Nana    -   South Africa. 

  • GersonInstitute

    Hi Nana! Please contact our office directly, one of our Education Specialists would be happy to speak to you and answer your questions: http://www.gerson.org/gerpress/contact-us

  • http://www.facebook.com/melissa.lueders Melissa Lueders

    My daughter was 7 when she got Osteosarcoma. She did chemo and limb salvage surgery. It came back this year in her lungs. She had the surgery to remove her cancer and we are doing the Gerson Diet the best we can. She is 9 now and it is so hard to get kids to eat healthy. She loves juice so she will take that. We also switched everything to organic. She just cleared her 3 month scans again. Also she had one spot on her other lung that disappeared. I love your story. You are an inspiration to everyone. Thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/shantel.o.cooke Shantel Cooke

    Dearest Diana,

    Can you please contact me? My daughter was recently diagnosed with osteosarcoma. I would love to connect with you for advice, tips about the Gerson therapy, etc.

    Thank you,
    Shantel Cooke
    shantelco@gmail.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/shantel.o.cooke Shantel Cooke

    No. Conventional treatment is also different.

  • Nicole

    Sorry, I accidently down-voted a couple of times, because I thought there were more comments that were hidden! Awesome story!

  • mary

    I too suffered from migraines for probably a good 40 years and was on Imitrix for 15 yrs.which is a headache medicine that can cause heart attacks. It was the only thing that would knock them out within minutes. I am 60 yrs old. Almost 2 yrs ago after watching Charlotte talk about the mercury fillings, I had mine take out-$11,000.00. I have not had one migraine since then.

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