There are people out there making a BIG impact on our community and the lives many of children and we wanted to take a moment to share some of them! As we all know, the word cancer is a terrible and dreaded thing. It’s especially tragic when a child receives the life-changing diagnosis. That’s exactly what happened to Audra and Justin Wilford, when their 4-year-old son, Max, was diagnosed with brain cancer (mixed-grade glioma) in 2011. In response to this situation, Wilfords formed MaxLove, an organization close to our hearts that was formed out of love to help “superkids thrive against cancer and life-threatening conditions” with a focus on whole foods, whole body wellness and integrative medicine (everything we believe in) to promote lifelong ‘thrivership.’ Through helping Max overcome his cancer, they have developed a 7-point action plan called, ‘Be Super’ that we feel can be applied not just to those battling the terrible ‘C’, but to everyone seeking to THRIVE! In this way, little Max has made a big impact us all!
Boost Yourself With Super Thoughts
MaxLove encourages parents and children to see the world through a ‘growth mindset.’ This mindset acknowledges the changing nature of one’s body and mind and embraces it. It’s a well-known, well-researched aspect of educational psychology that reinforces the necessity of changing through simple daily actions (encouraging healthy habits to form) to promote good health. The lesson here is we are malleable and change is good and attainable.
Action Step: Try thinking about your personal health as something that can be changed. Break down your goals into baby steps to keep you focused on how you want to change your body for the better.
Eat Super Fierce Foods
As you know, we’re big proponents of eating well for optimal health. We are also huge believers in the power of vitamins to help give your body the extra boost it needs to stay strong and healthy.
Vitamins and nutrients are essential for thriving through any health challenge, which is why it’s important to be intentional and purposeful in the foods you eat. One of the best ways to boost one’s immune system is by eating what MaxLove calls ‘fierce foods.’ Basically, these are superfoods that are packed with antioxidants, nutrients and vitamins that help ward off illness and strengthen the immune system.
Here are a few of our favorites:
1) Cherry tomatoes are full of the superhero phytonutrient lycopene, an antioxidant that fights off bad guys.
2) Carrots have Beta-Carotene, a superhero antioxidant that protects and builds strong eyes and brains.
3) Cucumbers have lignans and cucurbitacins that may sound like Dr. Seuss characters, but are actually super strong cancer fighters!
4) Strawberries are super tasty and decrease inflammation better than most fruits and vegetables. They are also naturally low in sugar!
5) Blueberries impact blood sugar less than any other fruit and have both super fighter antioxidants and decrease inflammation.
6) Kale, like broccoli, is another super cleaner with 45 different flavanoids that help the body get rid of bad guys.
It’s also essential to recognize seasonal nutritional needs. As we approach winter, kids (and adults) who don’t get a lot of sun exposure can try supplementing with foods like fish, eggs yolks and mushrooms or a supplement like Yummi Bears Sugar Free Vitamin D.
Action Step: Today, try to think about what you are putting in your body before you eat it. Ask yourself, is this a fierce food that will help my body? If not, consider fresh fruits, veggies or a lean meat. And remember to take your vitamins!
Unleash Your Super Strength
Physical activity is a fun, challenging and powerful way to heal your body. Activities like yoga, walking, team sports and even standing more throughout the day can greatly improve the health of cancer patients and survivors. Exercise can also help combat cancer survivor-related diseases like heart disease, stroke, depression and cancer recurrence.
Action Step: Find an activity that your child loves and is appropriate for their age, stage in treatment and health plan. We love to see children and adults alike embrace the playfulness that is physical activity. Perhaps joining a league is perfect for your child. Or maybe the two of you can test your mind and body with activities like rock climbing or yoga. The opportunities for active adventures are endless!
To read the rest of the 7-Point Action Plan in order to THRIVE or get involved with our friends at MaxLove, visit MaxLove Project.