How You Can Join Team Gerson and Run for Real Healing!
You’ve probably heard of Susan G. Komen’s Race for the Cure, right? Part of me loves the idea – thousands of people across the country, each getting in shape, spreading the message and raising money in their local communities. But there’s also a lot I don’t love about Komen’s Race for the Cure.
My problem? All those thousands of dollars go to fund research that largely ignores holistic treatments and instead goes toward funding yet more pharmaceutical drugs. The research those organizations fund focuses narrowly on the specific symptoms of disease, while ignoring the imbalances in the body that cause the disease. It’s quite the opposite of the Gerson approach, which approaches diseases from their root causes—toxicity and nutritional deficiency—and brings the body to full restoration. But there aren’t any races that support alternative cancer treatments… yet.
So? We decided to do our own version of the race model – a Run for Real Healing!
We’re forming a team to run the Temecula Half-Marathon (13.1 miles) and 5k (3.2 miles) on October 20, 2013. If you live in the San Diego area and are thinking about running, join us! If you live far away but still want to participate, you can form a team to hold an informal 5k in your area. Keep reading to find out how you can get involved!
What’s so great about running?
There are a lot of things I like – and, okay, a lot I don’t like – about the Race for the Cure model. One of the things I like the most is that it involves, well, running. Many people can’t imagine anything worse than running, and even though I run on a regular basis, there are some days I feel the same way. I’ll be the first to admit that running can be tough at the beginning. But things that are good for you aren’t necessarily easy; just ask anyone on the Gerson Therapy! And if you train with others, are willing to listen to your body and go at your own pace – it really can be a lot of fun.
There are a lot of reasons to run. The most obvious is fitness and health. In today’s world, most of us end up sitting at a desk for about eight hours a day. Our minds may be active, but our bodies aren’t. And exercise is important for your body, even if you flout the system and eat a basically “healthy” diet. Running helps boost your immune system, increases your lung capacity, and lowers your risk for a variety of medical conditions.
However, fitness and health (and, yes, let’s be honest, how you look) aren’t the only benefits of running. Running is an excellent outlet for stress and is especially helpful for anyone struggling with anxiety or depression. If you are caring for a sick loved one, or just dealing with the inevitable sorrows and stresses that come with life, you may find running a way to avoid taking a prescription drug to help you through a down time. A 1999 study found that aerobic exercise was just as effective as an anti-depressant in elevating mood and longer lasting.
Why running is better with friends
One thing I’ve always liked about the Race for the Cure model is the importance of having a team, a supportive community. Every year, people who have never run before end up finishing 13 or even 26 mile races after just a few months of training. Many of us run for years and never get to those distances. What’s the secret?
For beginning runners, having a team is key to helping you stick with it. Knowing that you are going to be running with others provides the motivation to keep going, even when putting on your running shoes is the last thing you want to do. You feel accountable to your teammates – and, it’s just plain more fun to run with others!
For those of us who have already been running, having a team helps force you to make the time you need to get the mileage in! Even if you’re fast, it takes time to run ten miles. When left to my own devices, it’s incredible how difficult it is for me to find even 30 minutes to spare for a Saturday run. Yet, when I’m running with someone else, I can always seem to find at least 90 minutes!
Finally, a team can help you learn to listen to your body and respect your own limits. One of the main reasons people stop running – and many other exercise regimes – is that they push themselves too hard in the beginning. Running shouldn’t be torture. If it is, you’re going either too fast or too far! Your body isn’t ready yet, so slow down and build the distance gradually.
A good secret is maintaining a speed at which you can converse comfortably. However, always listen to your body. If your joints still hurt even after you decrease your speed, don’t keep suffering. Walk until you’re comfortable picking up the pace again. If it’s still painful the next run, take a break from running, and try yoga and strength exercises to give you more strength and stability.
You might also want to consider visiting a running store. Many stores that specialize in running shoes will find an ideal shoe for you by having you run on a treadmill and looking at your stride and foot strike (the way you place your feet as you run). They will let you know if part of the discomfort is coming from the way you’re running, and they’ll make sure you have the right shoes for the way you run.
But this run is about much more than personal fitness…
Although I don’t agree with the approach to cancer research that many cause-based runs take, one thing I do like is that they create a structure that allows people to benefit themselves, raise awareness and support a cause all at the same time.
As a nonprofit organization, the Institute depends on the generosity of our supporters, and I am grateful for the many people who feel a deep enough connection to Gerson to make an online donation or send a check through the mail.
However, many people want to give in a way that helps them feel directly involved in the work of an organization. Weaving action, outreach and fundraising together allows people to connect, spread the word and generate revenue simultaneously. And we wanted to offer you the same opportunity – a chance to connect to Gerson on a deeper level. One of the things that can help you get through the training – even on the tough days – is remembering why you’re running. It’s knowing that each mile you run helps someone else and makes the work of the Institute come alive.
Why is your support so important?
Even though the Gerson Institute has grown a lot in the last few years, we’re still quite small, and sustaining our recent growth is currently a major challenge. Many people confuse the Gerson Institute with the clinics that practice the Gerson Therapy, but actually we are an entirely separate non-profit organization. The Institute licenses the clinics to ensure that they provide proper care, but they are wholly independent of the Institute.
Our budget comes from a variety of sources, including the sale of educational materials, workshop registrations and some licensing fees. It also comes from the generous support of our donors.
Our donors make it possible for us to…
- Have an Education Team that works full-time to answers questions about the Gerson Therapy for people from around the world, entirely free of charge.
- Provide a Coaching Service to patients following the Gerson Therapy at home, which we can now offer to patients far below the actual costs of running the program. It also allows us to provide coaching scholarships to the many patients who need all their resources just to keep on the Therapy.
- Keep our Juicer Loaner Program going
- Conduct a supportive follow-up program with patients on the Gerson Therapy
- Provide scholarships and donate educational materials to libraries and low-income patients
- Provide support to patients on the Therapy by helping them network in their communities.
We know the Gerson Therapy can be difficult to manage when you’re on a budget, so we’re currently working on a series of free infographics and videos that will provide time and cost saving tips, as well as creative fundraising ideas. We hope to have them ready by January 2014.
However, what really motivates me – and probably you as well – is the actual people that these programs help. I always knew our Education Team did important work, but it wasn’t until I read this email from a patient in England that I realized just how important this service can be for patients.
“I shall never forget your kindness to me when I have telephoned the Gerson Institute. Your practical advice, reassurance and “being there” in my darkest moments, propped up flagging spirits and helped me regain my normal optimism and positivity.”
– D, England
This is why I Run for Real Healing, why I’m willing to volunteer my Saturday mornings to make Team Gerson possible.
Because there are people all over the world who have decided that they want to pursue the Therapy and need support. They need a place to call, where they can receive not just information but compassion.
And with each mile, I help make that possible.
So, Let’s Run for Real Healing!
Thanks to the passion and dedication of Amanda Onken, Team Gerson’s coach (and the Institute’s Medical Assistant/Patient Follow-up Coordinator), Team Gerson was born. For the last two years, Team Gerson was composed primarily of the Gerson Institute’s staff and friends. When the opportunity to try and create a more formal team came up, I was hesitant. Even though it was just a team for a local race, I was unsure. After all, we aren’t Susan G Komen. The Gerson Institute is tiny by comparison, and we have nowhere near the resources, finances or manpower available to do the kinds of massive events they put on.
Then I went for a run. With fewer stress hormones clouding the brain, I could see that it was a fine time to try our “Run for Real Healing.” After all, it’s not about being perfect. It’s about doing the best you can with what you have.
So if you live in the San Diego area and would like to be part of the Run for Real Healing, please email Mika at [email protected] for more information. The Team has already started training, but if you’re a runner we’d love to have you join us for the half-marathon! If running is new to you, we’d love to have you start training for the 5K! And if you’d just like to join us on the day of the race, you can register here – but please email me at [email protected] so I know to look for you the day of the race!
So You’d Love to Join Team Gerson, but Don’t Live in San Diego…
At least this year, we will not be able to directly organize runs in other cities. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t run for real healing, too! Even if you enter into your local city half-marathon, you could still create a Run for Real Healing fundraising page on GoFundMe.com or Crowdrise or any other online fundraising sites to support the Institute.
Also, we hope that Gerson persons around the country will decide to host informal 5Ks on the same day we run the Temecula Half – October 20th! Please contact me ([email protected]) if you’d like to lead a team. Later, we’ll post information on potential runs so that other supporters can join! I’ve already heard from folks in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Portland and Washington, DC. You can also leave a comment at the bottom of this post to see if there’s anyone else in your area that would be interested in forming a 5k with you.
Have you been thinking about trying to get more fit?
Do you believe in nutritional healing?
Do you believe in the work of the Gerson Institute?
Then join us and Run for Real Healing!
Important note for Gerson patients:
I am in generally good health, and am not currently following the Gerson Therapy to treat any kind of disease. In writing this article, I’m hoping to reach others like myself who are not ill, but want to help others who are sick while also improving our own health. The information in this article about the benefits of running is intended for people who are in generally good health, and not currently following the Gerson Therapy.
A patient who is on the Gerson Therapy to treat a serious condition is not permitted to run or do any other kind of strenuous exercise. The Gerson Therapy works hard to restore the body’s immune system, and the healing process takes a great deal of energy. Exercise can be depleting for a patient on the Gerson Therapy and can impede the body’s ability to heal on this Therapy. That’s not to say that all physical activity is prohibited, just exercise that can be exhausting, depleting, or cause you to sweat heavily and cause electrolyte imbalances. Recommended exercises for the Gerson Therapy include using a rebounder, walking, and doing gentle (non-heated) yoga and stretching exercises.
My apologies if I got any Gerson patients excited about running again. But even if you can’t partake in a run yourself, you can always pass this on to a friend or family member to encourage them to take up running, and specifically running for the Gerson cause!
Mikhaela Payden-Travers is the Gerson Institute’s Development Coordinator, managing the Institute’s various fundraising programs. A grassroots fundraiser with experience working for small organizations in the United States, Guatemala and Mexico, Mikhaela joined the Institute in the summer of 2009.
She is currently enrolled in the Nonprofit Management Masters program at the University of San Diego, but when she’s not at school or at the Institute, she enjoys running, reading Umberto Eco and rescuing Tijuana street dogs.