For most people, a cancer diagnosis stirs up fears of chemotherapy or radiation and dread over what the future may hold…but Janette Murray-Wakelin is not “most people.” When she received a cancer diagnosis at 52 years old, she turned to a raw vegan diet and exercise to give her body the strength it needed to heal itself. She went on to not only beat cancer but also run 366 marathons— in just 366 days! Read on to hear more about this inspirational woman’s natural health care journey and victory over cancer.
The Couple’s Story
Married couple Alan Murray and Janette Murray-Wakelin have long prioritized an active and healthy lifestyle. Janette has been vegetarian or vegan for most of her life and once remarked, “I had already eliminated meats as a child, dairy in my teens, and I had never eaten processed or junk food.” When Alan got on board with Janette’s healthy lifestyle, he quit smoking and upped his physical activity and nutrition. As a result, he lost 50 pounds and completed his first marathon in just his first year of healthy living.
Alan and Janette have two children and five grandchildren. Even as young parents, healthy living stayed at the forefront of the couple’s lifestyle. On their website, they explain, “Our personal lifestyle throughout 45+ years of marriage and raising a family…has always been centered around health and wellness and sharing our consciousness with others.”
Sailing, Traveling, and Raising a Family
Alan and Janette not only exposed their children to healthy lifestyle choices but also to a wide variety of life experiences through extensive travel, which they were able to enjoy while homeschooling the children. Their adventures included sailing a 40′ sailboat throughout the South Pacific. In reflecting on that experience, Janette told one interviewer, “It was a carefree life with very little stress. Our food was mostly fresh fruit and vegetables, and our environment was pretty clean and green.”
Janette’s Breast Cancer Diagnosis
At the age of 52, Janette was diagnosed with a highly aggressive stage-3 carcinoma breast cancer. Doctors told her she had only six months to live unless she underwent chemotherapy and radiation, which may give her an additional six months. Janette was surprised by the diagnosis, later telling a reporter, “Apart from a bout of scarlet fever and measles as a tiny child, I have never been sick in my life. I have never had so much as a cold, and I’ve never taken any drugs, not even an aspirin!”
Traditional Breast Cancer Treatment Course
Doctors recommended chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but Janette knew right away that it wasn’t for her. She once explained, “My intuitive response to the recommended treatment was that it did not make sense to compromise the body’s system further. It seemed obvious to me that I should be helping the body to rejuvenate and rebuild, thereby reversing the problem.”
The Decision to Let the Body Heal Itself
After a lifelong dedication to health and nutrition, Janette wasn’t sure how or why this had happened to her. She ultimately attributed it to a painting accident that resulted in high levels of exposure to toxic paint and a travel adventure that exposed her to the Chernobyl disaster’s toxic fall-out. Once she settled on that explanation, she said, “I felt more empowered to do something about it. I knew that I could take control of the situation myself, doing 100% the best I could for my body.”
Exercising and Juicing
Janette consulted with a naturopathic physician to design an all-natural plan to battle her cancer. She turned to immune therapy, infrared detoxification, ozone treatments, increased exercise, and juicing. Although already active, Janette added yoga and long-distance running to her exercise routine. She also reported, “My nutritional intake took a huge leap. I started juicing in earnest.”
The 11-Year Raw Vegan Lifestyle That Followed
Janette’s decision to pursue natural healing techniques worked, and she has continued to live long past the projected six months. On their website, the couple explains, “We have been actively following a raw vegan lifestyle for over 11 years after Janette was diagnosed with cancer.” They go on to proclaim, “We have proven beyond any doubt that living a raw, vegan-conscious lifestyle results in optimal health where physically, mentally, and emotionally, anything is achievable.”
Founding the Centre for Optimum Health in Canada
After seeing the power of exercise and a raw vegan diet to help the body heal itself, Janette and Alan founded the Centre for Optimum Health in Canada as a way to share their knowledge with others. The couple explained, “Our focus was on encouraging healthy conscious lifestyles through living nutrition and exercise for the mind, body, and spirit. Our vision was to share our knowledge gained through our multitude of life experiences, and to encourage natural, healthy conscious lifestyles within our community.”
The 80/10/10-Inspired Diet by Dr. Douglas Graham
After her initial diagnosis, Janette turned to juicing for most of her nutritional intake for about 18 months. Eventually, the couple adopted an 80/10/10-inspired diet— a raw vegan diet championed by Dr. Douglas Graham. The plan recommends getting 80% of your total calories from carbohydrates (by eating raw, sweet fruits), 10% of your calories from fat, and 10% from protein.
The Marathons That Inspired Many
In 2013, Alan and Janette took their healthy lifestyle to a record-breaking level when they ran a marathon every day for 366 days in a row. In that one year, the couple ran almost 10,000 miles all across Australia. In one interview, Alan reflected, “The first few weeks we were sore, breaking ourselves in. After that, it’s actually become easier every day. I really don’t think we’ve had any days we didn’t think we could make it.” Janette added, “We know that we have touched thousands of people by what we’ve done.”
Exercising and Cancer
The inspirational year of marathons was made possible by years of healthy eating and exercise, including the long runs Janette embarked on during her cancer treatment. While reflecting on exercising while she had cancer, Janette once explained, “My running became more meditative. I chose to run on trails in the mountains or barefoot in the sand along the beach. I could feel again the sense of freedom that I remembered when I ran as a child.”
Alan and Janette were thrilled that their marathons provided them with an opportunity to share the power of healthy living with others. On their website, they report, “Since finishing our record-breaking Run Around Australia, we have been inundated with global media interviews for TV, radio, podcasts, newspapers, magazines, and blogs.” In 2014, the couple was even approached by a film production company who wanted to make a documentary about their running and health-conscious lifestyle.
Raw Can Cure Cancer: Highlights from a True Story
Janette also put pen to paper and wrote a book to share her story with as many people as possible. Titled Raw Can Cure Cancer, the book aims to provoke thought and inspire others by telling the story of Janette’s decision to reject traditional cancer treatments for an alternative treatment method and the victory over cancer that followed.
A Typical Day of Food
People often wonder how the couple could sustain such extreme activity levels on a raw vegan diet. In order to get the calories they needed, the couple consumed massive amounts of produce. For breakfast, the pair often shared 10 bananas, a grapefruit, and a date smoothie. Throughout the day, together they would consume another 10 bananas, a green smoothie, a fruit salad, three oranges, two avocados, vegetable juice, and one last salad at dinner.
Following Their Lifestyle
In an effort to continue sharing their story and inspire others to adopt a healthier lifestyle, the couple shares further tips on a raw vegan diet on their website, rawveganpath.com. There you can find more information on Janette’s book, the upcoming documentary, and how you can follow the lifestyle that fueled their unforgettable 366 marathons.