Missionary Spotlight: Missionary’s Transformation Helps Her Beat the Odds

When Natalia Eric was diagnosed with Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2010, it was not her first experience with cancer.  Two years earlier, she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and her thyroid was removed. This time, the health opportunity was even more aggressive.  Doctors removed her spleen, which had swollen to seven pounds, and started her on chemotherapy. They also gave her only five years to live.

Natalia was not one to passively surrender.  She had been born in Russia, and navigated challenging situations before.  Now a resident of Toronto, Natalia realized if she wanted to take charge of her health, she was going to have to change things dramatically.

While scouring the internet for information, she came across YouTube videos of people sharing their transformational experience at Optimum Health Institute (OHI) San Diego.  Natalia booked a three-week stay.

“Those first three days, I got so sick,” Natalia said.  She realized her body was purging toxins she accumulated during her chemo treatments, but that didn’t make the process any easier.  She was ready to quit the program right then and there. Compassionate OHI team members and fellow guests convinced her to stay.

“Just three days later,” Natalia said, “Everything changed for me.  The sun was shining, the grass was green, the birds were singing — it was wonderful.  I was so happy to be there!” Natalia celebrated every day of the rest of that first stay, relishing the instant closeness of the OHI community.   She felt fantastic, and shed 17 pounds those three weeks.

When she returned to Toronto after that first visit, her oncologist was amazed at the dramatic changes in her body.  Her bloodwork was fantastic, no lymph nodes were swollen, and her bone marrow looked good.

“I started thinking,” she said.  “If three weeks at OHI could do this for me, what could three months do?  I applied to become a missionary.”

Since then, Natalia has been a proud part of the missionary program five separate times.  With each visit, she continues to learn more about herself while she’s also meeting new guests, and making new friends.  “I find I can help people by sharing my own stories. I tell them how I incorporate the OHI teachings into my life.”

Russian guests in particular immediately connect with Natalia.  Many time their return visits to coincide with hers. Some of the older Russian guests don’t speak English, and Natalia is happy to translate for them, and help them reap the benefits of learning new ways to eat, think, meditate and move.

Natalia said that with each new missionary assignment, she’s able to go deeper into the heart of OHI’s healing program.  Her biggest personal transformation is emotional healing. For the first time in her life, Natalia said, she is truly loving herself.  “We’re told that to think of ourselves first is selfish,” Natalia said. “But until you can love yourself enough to make time for yourself, you can never really love anyone else.  I know that everything about OHI is to make sure the body, mind and spirit are all taken care of. You can’t heal the body if the mind and spirit are still doing the same old stuff.  To heal your emotions, you have to make changes.”

Those changes don’t just happen during a stay at an OHI mission — they continue to transform lives when people take the program home with them.

“My grown children will ask me about the food I eat now, and I help them understand emotionally how important it is.  They start to eat more raw foods, and have salads at every meal. And that means my grandchildren are getting healthier, and learning healthy habits at such a young age.  It makes me so happy.”