Our New Cancer Coach Answers Some Questions About Our Tree of Life Anti-Cancer Lifestyle Community and Programme
We are thrilled to introduce Sara Spinks, a Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach, Holistic Health Coach & Mentor (Mind, Body & Spirit) and Cancer Coach, and part of our expanding team of Cancer Coaches. Following Sara’s own breast cancer diagnosis in 2018, she walks her own ‘w’holistic health talk daily to optimise her health and life moving forward. She supports clients to take action to transform the lifestyle & behavioural foundations of their Physical, Mental, Emotional & Spiritual Health for optimum outcomes, improved quality of life and so they are best placed to prevent, navigate, or recover from symptoms, illness or disease. Sara helps you find the motivation and energy to create small changes & larger breakthroughs that provide a cumulative and synergistic benefit for deep sustainable change.
Here, we explore how The Cancer Coach and Tree of Life make a difference, with a thoughtful Q&A with Sara.
1. Why did you choose to work with The Cancer Coach?
Having been told at my own breast cancer diagnosis that there was nothing I could do to support myself, and being a strong advocate for supporting my health holistically, I started a journey of curiosity into the deeper ways that we can create optimal health and healing from the roots; physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
I left a 25 year corporate career and trained with Integrative and Functional Medicine Doctors as a coach & mentor to support others going through, what can be, an incredibly challenging and isolating time.
I have seen many holistic health ‘models’ but none as comprehensive, easily accessible and latest evidence-based as the Tree of Life Programme, from The Cancer Coach. Coupled with the multiple ways it supports different learning styles and approaches to health behaviour change, I was incredibly keen to join the fabulous coaching team and use this comprehensive model to empower people to create change for themselves.
I am honoured to be a part of something so powerfully health and life-changing.
2. What type of a lasting contribution do you want to leave?
I don’t want anyone to feel as hopeless and powerless as I felt when I was diagnosed with breast cancer and told I could do nothing to influence my treatment or health outcomes.
I am so grateful that this was very short-lived having historically found alternative approaches to support my own health challenges (where mainstream couldn’t deliver) and for being brave enough to know that cancer was no different.
But everyday I see the impact that fear and overwhelm, coupled with a lack of knowledge and self-trust, has on the cancer journey and outcomes.
I want people to feel as motivated, empowered and hopeful in their health as I do today.
I want to be part of a radical movement promoting an integrative approach to health (including cancer), looking at people ‘w’holisticallty vs a series of parts & symptoms. I want to support a deep systemic change that empowers people to understand themselves deeply in terms of what makes them well and creates a body, mind & spirit conducive to health vs illness.
I love supporting people feel totally different about cancer and to understand all the options open to them, taking an integrative approach, as well as to feel confident in making choices that are right for them.
I would love to be part of a revolution where the tide turns back to a healthier population where a holistic approach to health is the ‘norm’ and a way of living vs a ‘healthy’ option or worse, a trend, only found when we are in a health crisis.
3. What are the challenges facing people with cancer and how does The Cancer Coach and Tree of Life address them?
I think the greatest challenge of anyone going through cancer is being catapulted into the fear juggernaut! It affects our confidence, decision-making ability, whole experience and outcomes.
If we can create confidence enough to put the brakes on a little and look around at what will support treatment, quality of life and outcomes at a foundational level, and take a breath to understand how we want to approach this challenge, it can be a game-changer.
If we start to throw everything at it without getting basic lifestyle foundations in place I feel we are missing the main trick! Often the body & mind just need to come back into balance.
However, even in the scenario where we do this, we are then faced with so much information (including conflicting information), a horribly steep learning curve and it is a complete minefield to navigate a clear path forward. Even if we can afford expert integrative support and treatment we can get differing opinions or still have missing pieces of our own unique health puzzle.
Stress, the one thing we know affects health and healing, just morphs into a different face and it’s understandable why ‘woo-woo’, ‘complementary’ or ‘alternative’ gets a bad name and people steer clear of anything outside of the mainstream cancer model!
Sifting through the plethora of information (especially evidence-based) can be exhausting at a time when we need our energy for healing. Finding support on top of this that actually empowers us to make our own choices and find supportive resources vs having someone make them for us is also a challenge.
The Cancer Coach & Tree of Life Programme addresses all of these challenges in one place and I believe the quality of the provision is second to none. Our Chief Clinical Strategist, Dr. Penny Kechagioglou is an experienced clinician, oncologist, and clinical leader in the NHS and private sector. She ensures all information shared in the Tree of Life Programme is up to date with the latest research.
The alternative formats for learning ensure that knowledge of all health root-cause influencers is provided in an easy-to-access and comprehensive manner.
The Cancer Coaching support then empowers people to take action, and make choices, with the knowledge in implementing new habits and behaviours that dovetail into their lives to create sustainable health change which is where knowledge gathering alone often falls short of influencing health outcomes.
4. How does The Cancer Coach and Tree of Life educate the population on cancer prevention and what are the aims?
At a recent conference I attended a talk about cancer called “Prevention is the Cure” meaning that irrespective of whether we have had a cancer diagnosis or not, implementing key influencing lifestyle behaviours that prevent cancer is also supportive of health & healing in a cancer journey.
The Cancer Coach and Tree of Life Programme supports the education and implementation of the solid foundations (roots) for our health & wellbeing (tree) that reduce disease risk, and if already diagnosed, optimise experience, treatment tolerance and outcomes by bringing body, mind & spirit back into balance.
So whether we are looking to prevent cancer or navigating a current diagnosis or moving forward after cancer, the supportive lifestyle foundations are all the same.
5. What features of Tree of Life are most important and who would benefit from using them?
I love the comprehensive, evidence-based, videos for each module, but I feel the order of them, and the fact the first module is offered free, is incredibly insightful. The programme starts by looking at Stress (which includes reflecting on our Values, the Mind-Body Connection and how to support ourselves with Mindfulness and Support Systems. Until we recognize the state of our nervous system (our stress and energy levels) and learn how to better regulate it, we can find it very challenging to change other aspects of our behaviour including, for example, what and how we eat. Often in being able to better manage our stress and daily challenges, other pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place more naturally anyway.
The benefits of the modules are also compounded by the Workbook which is also provided free! Knowledge without action is akin to not having the knowledge, so this reflection and implementation tool is so important to ensure that we create action to ensure sustainable changes in habits and behaviour that works for us as individuals and our health. The application of the knowledge is key. This is also of course where personal coaching comes in for those that would love that extra support and ally in the process of creating change.
It’s all there!
The benefit of creating holistic lifestyle change using the Tree of Life Programme is broad, not least in its impact on health and vitality, but for anyone who chooses to improve their life and health at the foundations, the roots. It’s for anyone looking to prevent illness and dis-ease (not just cancer), anyone navigating this currently, or anyone who is moving forward from a diagnosis, and/or treatment, and looking to create health at a foundational level for improved outcomes and quality of life.
6. What support is currently available for caregivers and what does The Cancer Coach and Tree of Life offer to enhance the level of support?
Supporting someone with cancer is one of life’s greatest challenges, especially if it’s a loved one.
It can present all sorts of issues from emotional repression, as you don’t want to be a burden on the person with cancer, to potential conflict or disagreement around treatment choices.
Looking after yourself as a Caregiver becomes of paramount importance as you are pulled in many directions, on top of what you may be juggling in an already busy life.
This is why at the Yes to Life Charity we are starting a new Online Caregiver Support Group. Having a safe space to explore challenges with others with a shared experience, in a non-judgemental environment, is incredibly health supportive.
The Cancer Coach and Tree of Life enhances this support exponentially by empowering Caregivers to put their own oxygen masks on first. Caregivers also need to support their health from the roots, at the foundations, in order to be who they want to be for those they are supporting, as well as fulfilling their own responsibilities and futures.
The Tree of Life Programme is therefore as relevant to Caregivers as to those navigating, or looking to prevent cancer. The Coaching Support is equally powerful in helping Caregivers process their experience, listen into their own health needs (mind, body & spirit), as well as making sure space is carved out to take action steps each day for optimal health & wellbeing at a very challenging time.
7. What does Support, Inspire and Empower mean to you?
Support for me means creating a gentle and nurturing space to enable someone to feel safe enough, seen and heard so that they can see through fear and overwhelm to find clarity and confidence to find strength and their own answers deep within.
Inspire for me means finding something or someone that lights a little spark within you that creates hope, perhaps a little excitement, new possibilities and way of thinking that opens up a new way forward.
Empower, for me, means trusting oneself enough to listen into our own intuition and feelings to find our way forward. This starts by creating a deeper awareness of the self and our own unique needs (body, mind and soul). It means moving forward with curiosity, knowledge of where to find the right support and resources, and an unwavering confidence that we will find our way knowing what’s best for us and our health.