Taking Care of the Great Lakes is Like Taking Care of Ourselves

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By Cameron Davis

The day before Memorial Day, we’re visiting my friend Kathy Bero. As I wrote this looking out over south central Wisconsin’s hills, growing green with spring, I feel lucky she’s around.

Kathy and I met nearly 30 years ago when she was helping to save the Great Lakes in Milwaukee. She was outgoing, smart and dedicated to the public interest. It was more than seven years ago while we were catching up on the phone, when I heard those words you never want to hear from anyone you love: “I have cancer.”

Though she had two young kids with her husband, I was strangely unconcerned. “Don’t you worry,” I told her. “That cancer has no idea who it’s up against.”

I should have been concerned. She had infiltrating ductal carcinoma that morphed into stage four inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). IBC has an 11 percent survival rate after 10 years. As if that wasn’t enough, 11 months later, she was also diagnosed with a mucoepidermoid carcinoma. Today, after using conventional treatment and foods with disease-fighting properties, she shows no signs of cancer.

Always the advocate, Kathy’s experience led her to research and dig into causes and cures. What she came to realize was that food can be medicine. Kathy went on to establish NuGenesis, which serves as a community-based model for education, sustainable organic farming and research, integrating food with medicine.

Kathy’s experience reminds us that, just as clean water is a key to life, so is clean, healthy food.

About the author: Cameron Davis is Senior Advisor to EPA the Administrator. He provides counsel on Great Lakes matters, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.