After going through blood cancer when I was 23, I had a vision to create a movement around cancer that focussed on health, collaboration and proactivity. Trew Fields was born as the world’s first cancer awareness and holistic health festival. The festival- more like a festival- is a weekend of inspiring talks, holistic health workshops, music and play on a beautiful farm in Dunsfold, Surrey, where the atmosphere’s been described as ‘like walking into a giant hug’. It’s a gathering of international cancer experts, holistic health teachers, patients, doctors, nutritionists, complementary therapists, yoga teachers, musicians and creatives.
I daydreamed about starting a festival one day but it was a cancer diagnosis that made the dream a reality. When I was diagnosed adulthood was just kickstarting and my life was fairly non-stop. I started to have symptoms like night sweats and fatigue, but I put it down to being run down. After a series of misdiagnosis, including tuberculosis, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Before starting 6 months of intensive chemotherapy I asked my doctor if there was anything, I could do to help myself, craving a sense of empowerment over the painful situation. He told me, ‘there’s nothing you need to change, leave it to us, cancer’s a lottery, there’s no reason why you got it.’ 5 years on from this, I’m reassured to see many brilliant doctors working in the field of lifestyle and integrative medicine. Back then, that was a lightbulb moment for me, realising the gaps and lack of proactivity, everything felt very reactive. I wanted to take an active role in my health and as a journalism graduate, researching and asking questions was how I coped.
Chemotherapy stripped me of my life force. As I started to research more about integrative medicine, learn about gut health, nutrition, exercise and the power of the mind, I began to make changes. I noticed I recovered quicker in between treatments and didn’t have many of the side effects friends on similar chemos were having. Over the past 5 years I’ve continued researching integrative health around the world and have met many inspiring people. Through Trew Fields I wanted to bridge the gap between both sides of the health debate in an uplifting festival setting where people can come together and learn from each other. Bridging the gap between both sides of the health debate- allopathic and more holistic, sharing knowledge and experience feels important- the only conflict I found myself in when I was ill was my treatment choices. I don’t think treatment for cancer can ever be ‘one size fits all.’ It feels important to empower people with the knowledge and resources so they can work in partnership with their medical team and help themselves.
This July is the 4th year for Trew Fields and the event has grown in size every year. Many people describe it as a ‘life changing weekend for them and their families.’ It’s so special to see the friendships formed. It’s a space to discuss taboo topics, connect with members of the community, rejuvenate and learn about ways to live healthier lives. Some speakers for this July include: David Hamilton Phd, Dr Gemma Newman, Kris Hallenga, Professor Robert Thomas, Dr Sam Watts, Dr Kathryn Mannix, Patricia Daly, Dr Catherine Zollman, Nutritank, Martin Powell, Dr Lauren Macdonald and many more!
Workshops include: Breathwork, Ice Baths, Massage, yoga, meditation, silent discos, dance, woodland workshops, fermentation, gut health, herbs, cooking demos, ayurveda, qi gong & more.
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