CANCER SURVIVOR CREDITS GARDENING WITH CONTRIBUTING TO RECOVERY
Agriculture|January - February 2021
THE CRISIS that COVID-19 has brought to the world has made more individuals see the importance of nature and environment. But this is not a new trend. Many people have already realized the joys of tending plants and growing their own food even before the global health emergency has occurred.
VINA MEDENILLA

One such person is Sharon Julie Evangelista, a cancer survivor who has been gardening since her elementary days in Albay. In 2002, their family moved to Manila after she graduated from college, but this didn’t hinder Evangelista from continuing her passion for taking care of plants.

After four years of living in the metro, she was diagnosed with Stage IV uterine cancer and Stage III cervical cancer. A former operations manager in a multinational company, she realized that her working environment was a contributing factor to her sickness. Aside from being stressed, pressured, and exposed to pollution caused by chemicals, she was also accustomed to an unhealthy lifestyle brought about by eating processed food.

Despite her condition, she still managed to maintain her garden. This was Evangelista’s way to divert her attention away from the pain that she felt. As per the gardener, smelling the flowers and singing songs of praise and worship while gardening helped her to heal and recover fast. She added that gardening gives her physical and emotional strength.

Her plants became a reliable partner during her recovery stage. It took two years for the cancer cells in her body to disappear and for new cells to develop. During this time, Evangelista also had to completely change her lifestyle; she avoided stress and began to eat healthy.

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