Meet our Herbie of the Week: Lucy!
Lucy was nominated by her mother, Anita, who is sharing her truly amazing story today.
At 2 years of age, Lucy was diagnosed with leukemia and went through 2 years of chemotherapy. Halfway through her treatment, Anita decided to switch her family to a plant-based diet to optimize Lucy's chances against cancer and protect their health.
The results for Lucy were immediate: constipation from taking steroids and chemo disappeared, the acid reflux she had since she was a child is now nonexistent and she had more energy. Fast forward 4 years, Lucy is cancer-free and she no longer suffers from hypothyroidism!
This 8 year-old's plant-based journey is one you don't want to miss! Read on to be inspired!
Lucy just turned 8 years old. Although she is young, she has been through a lot. Lucy has Down Syndrome and just after her 2nd birthday, she was diagnosed with leukemia (A.L.L.). She endured just over 2 years of chemotherapy. Halfway through her cancer treatment I read a couple of books on nutrition and diets, including Dr. T. Colin Campbell's, The China Study. Being Lucy's mother, I decided to start cooking 100% plant-based for the family to optimize Lucy's chances against cancer and to protect the family's overall health in the long run.
The results of going plant-based were immediate. Being on steroids and chemotherapy made Lucy prone to constipation. After she switched to a plant-based diet, her constipation disappeared. She also had more energy. Even going through chemotherapy, she stopped taking naps (at age 3). Lucy also had acid reflux since she was a baby and was on a prescription for it. When she went dairy free, she was able to stop taking medication for it and hasn't had any signs of it since. In my heart, I believe that her healthy, plant-based diet helped her fight and beat cancer and helps to keep her healthy today. This coming July will mark four years cancer-free! Woohoo!
Also, this July will mark five years being plant-based. Four years ago, Lucy was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. This basically meant her thyroid function was starting to slow and most likely would lead to hypothyroidism. At last year's annual endocrinologist appointment, it was determined that she had hypothyroidism but not to the extent that she would need medication. She recently went in for this year's appointment and the doctor called to tell me Lucy's blood numbers were all in the normal range. So her thyroid functions had reversed and gotten better. No more hypothyroidism! She told me to keep doing what I was doing because it was working.
Due to the Standard American Diet and a more sedentary lifestyle, kids are susceptible to weight issues today. Low muscle tone and potentially slower thyroid functions compound these problems for kids who have Down Syndrome. Being plant-based helps Lucy to maintain a healthy weight and allows her to stay very active.
Today Lucy is a healthy and active girl who goes to taekwondo 4 times a week, loves to swim anytime she can, and travels extensively with her family. She has hiked up to the two-mile mark in elevation at Rocky Mountain National Park, climbed up into Native American cliff dwellings, explored caves at Carlsbad, and hiked up sand dunes.
As her mother, I am so thankful that I stumbled upon books promoting veganism as a healthy alternative to the Standard American Diet. I know that Lucy is a healthy, medication-free girl because of her vegan lifestyle!
Thank you so much Anita for sharing Lucy's amazing story with us!
UPDATE June 2015
Lucy (and the whole family!) are traveling full time now! She recently visited her Aunt Lori who is a park ranger at Capitol Reef National Park. Lucy's been looking at petroglyphs, hiking canyons, and playing in rivers. She is definitely living life to the fullest!
UPDATE July 2016--from Anita:
Lucy has been vegan now for six years. That's two-thirds of her life so far! Lucy had her five-year-out-of-treatment checkups yesterday.
Lucy reached five years out of treatment and being cancer-free! She had a big day today with appointments with three specialists and many more support members.
Oncology: All of Lucy's blood work came back fantastic! She remains cancer-free and will now start going in for oncology appointments only once a year.
Endocrinology: All of Lucy's blood work came back great for thyroid function. Her thyroid and pituitary hormones are right where they are supposed to be -right in the middle of the normal range. No Hashimoto Thyroiditis and no hypothyroidism! She will get blood work every year, but doesn't have to see an endocrinologist anymore unless the blood numbers come back abnormal.
Cardiology: Lucy's heart is strong and healthy, plus her two small holes she was born with are completely gone! Her heart is completely normal for any kid, less alone one with Down syndrome. Lucy now only has to see her cardiologist every other year.
Lucy also saw two neuro-psychologists, one regular psychologist, a genetic counselor, a nutritionist, and a pediatric nurse. Everyone agrees that Lucy is quite healthy and very happy and well adjusted!
Thank you for all your recipes and making Lucy the Herbivore of the Week last year!