Alternative Methods Help Philanthropist Fight Cancer

Article excerpt

Byline: Susan D. Brandenburg

For the last seven years, while fighting his advanced form of kidney cancer, longtime Ponte Vedra Beach philanthropist Herb Scheidel has also maintained his fight for underprivileged youths.

As a result of the significant impact that he has made on improving the lives of disadvantaged youth in the community, the Children's Home Society recently named him the R. David Thomas Child Advocate of the Year.

Scheidel, who is also the chief executive officer of Learning Technologies, had stage IV kidney cancer diagnosed in 1998.

"Ninety-five percent of people don't survive two years with this type of cancer," he said recently. "I was unwilling to accept those grim statistics. With the loving support of my wife, Miyuki, and strict adherence to a variety of alternative healing modalities, I've beaten the odds so far."

Now in remission, Scheidel was given no hope for survival by mainstream medicine.

"Doctors don't recommend chemotherapy for kidney cancer, and among the experimental stuff, there was only one FDA-approved treatment that might stop cancer in about 8 percent of patients, but I learned that 10 percent of the people who attempt it end up dying as a result of the treatment," said Scheidel. "I made up my mind that it wasn't just a matter of removing the cancer from my body, but changing my body and my immune system so that it would reject the source of the cancer."

Exploring nearly every alternative treatment available, Scheidel went on a rigid macrobiotic diet, eating nothing but organic foods -- brown rice and green vegetables like seaweed, broccoli and kale. He eats no sugar or yeast. He drinks no caffeine, no alcohol -- only bottled water.

"I studied acupuncture and quigong, and attended retreats and seminars at Dr. Carl Simonton's cancer center in California," Scheidel said. "There I learned about visualization and imagery exercises in which I completely relaxed my body and visualized my strong immune system defeating cancerous tumors. Eventually, through various mental, physical and spiritual methods, I've actually strengthened and restored much of the natural immune system I was born with."

Scheidel said his dismal diagnosis of incurable kidney cancer seven years ago led to "a rebirth." Although he was involved in Habitat for Humanity and other philanthropic endeavors prior to the diagnosis, he said his life has changed dramatically.

"I've become more personally in touch with the needs of people and more spiritually connected," he said. "I've learned to appreciate each day as a gift from God and not to take anything for granted, and, most of all, I've learned never to give up."

Six years ago, students at the PACE Center for Girls and those living in Habitat for Humanity homes became eligible to receive University of North Florida scholarships through the Miyuki and Herbert Scheidel Scholarship Program, with the option of taking courses in a foreign country as well, using money from the Scheidel Endowment Fund. …