The tumor had been growing for over 8 years. Yet, at only 51 years old, Terry Sutton felt healthy and strong. He was still actively running his real estate development company, working long days with energy left over. So, when the routine colonoscopy results showed a massive tumor, Terry and his family were shocked.
Further test results brought more bad news as they learned the cancer had metastasized to his liver and lungs. Yet Terry was determined to beat the cancer, and his wife, Brenda, and son, Ben, rallied beside him. Ben stepped up to run his dad’s business while Brenda dove into book after book about different treatments.
The family took a holistic, “big picture” approach, believing your emotional and mental well-being are as important to healing as physical treatments. In addition to surgeries and Western medical treatments, they heavily researched and integrated other promising treatments, some of which could be considered unconventional.
Terry held a firm belief that he could beat this. “My body made it. My body could get rid of it. I just needed to give my body what it needed to get rid of something bad it made.”
Ultimately, a combination of surgeries, chemotherapy, nutrition, and integrative, holistic, and naturopathic treatments turned a dire prognosis into a hopeful one. And all the while, they didn’t overlook his family’s mental health.
“Caregivers need special attention,” Terry says. “My wife and son carried so much of the burden that the disease could’ve crushed them, too. We made sure to factor their health into my recovery plan.”
Terry was beating the cancer, but his body needed one more thing to be rid of the final tumor ‘for good’: a new liver. Brenda and Ben were not a match, nor were the 50 friends and family members who volunteered to be tested.
Finding a virtual stranger to donate a piece of their healthy liver seemed like an impossible task, yet such an angel appeared.
A new neighbor, Danielle Donovan, discovered through neighborhood chatter that Terry needed a live liver donor. This mother of three young children drove 4 hours to Pittsburgh to see if she was a match for a man she had barely met. She was.
“My journey of surviving a terrible disease seems too good to be true to others battling their own disease,” Terry says. “But it comes down to knowledge and discovering what your body needs to fight.”
That conviction and the abundance of knowledge they’d amassed led Terry to found Ocean Dreams Healing Center, a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of those battling disease and their caregivers and promoting holistic healing therapies.
Ocean Dreams Healing Center’s vision is to build a world-class healing center, including a retreat center, research facilities, and short- term housing for individuals and their families dealing with disease. The next step toward that vision is to introduce the community to all the healing outlets available at a new local event.
On February 17 & 18, 2024, Ocean Dreams Healing Center’s first annual Community Health Festival will be held at Key Largo Community Park. The festival will feature great food, live music, and an array of vendors whose services can aid healing.
Ocean Dreams Healing Center is calling for such vendors to claim a booth, whether you are a physical therapist or art therapist, nutritionist or meal service, estate lawyer or accountant– anyone whose services can help people fighting disease or their caregivers. You can also join Ocean Dreams Healing Center’s network of resources on their website.
To reserve a booth, volunteer, sponsor, donate, or learn more, visit OceanDreamsHealing.org.
Ocean Dreams Healing Center thanks all its supporters, including R. Hendrick Construction, who has generously advertised for the cause in Keys Life Magazine.
– Jerrica Mah is a writer, Army wife, and freelance book editor, who loves to travel with her family.