A Local Cancer Survivor Launched an Online Platform for Alternative Therapies
Jeff Sirlin knows first-hand that fighting cancer doesn’t stop at chemotherapy and medical appointments.
After the now 42-year-old was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2010, he took full advantage of alternative therapies, like yoga and Qigong, offered at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute—but quickly realized there were few avenues for taking those practices out of the hospital. He decided to make one.
His brainchild, Cancer Wellness TV, launched a few weeks ago, and offers hundreds of totally free alternative therapy videos that give cancer patients a way to practice everything from meditation to art therapy at home. “For so many people that go through this disease, the psychological battle is just as hard as the physical battle,” Sirlin says. “The body feeds the mind and the mind feeds the body, and these therapies have helped me on both sides of things.”
Sirlin says the site was largely born out of necessity, inspired by his own battle with cancer. “There were some days when I just couldn’t get out of bed, so getting down to the hospital just wasn’t doable for me,” he remembers. “I realized there were no online video platforms for these therapies, so I decided I was going to launch it myself.”
The career entrepreneur partnered with Ramel Rones, a tai chi and Qigong instructor who does mind-body consulting for Dana-Farber. The two reached out to health providers across disciplines—all of whom donate their time to the site—and began creating the extensive library of free videos on Cancer Wellness TV, which Sirlin says will only continue to grow.
Sirlin stresses that all of the techniques on the site are complementary therapies, and should not replace doctors’ orders. But, he says, alternative therapies can make a huge difference for someone battling a debilitating disease.
“When you’re going through cancer, you lose control of so many things,” he says. “I focused on what I could control, which was my mind, what I put into my body, how often and what type of exercise I could do. I gained that control, and that was really my turning point in my personal fight with the disease.”