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Sharing Joy with Cancer Patients, One Meal at a Time

On this month’s episode of “Your Health” we talk about cancer awareness and the importance of keeping yourself healthy. And this is where The Joy Bus Diner comes in. Tucked away in a cozy little shopping plaza in Phoenix, this unique eatery is sharing hope and joy, one meal at a time, through the much needed support it’s providing to cancer patients.

The Joy Bus Diner is a 100 percent nonprofit restaurant that serves made-to-order breakfast and lunch and all proceeds are used to support The Joy Bus, a charity that delivers chef-inspired meals at no charge to homebound cancer patients. The organization was created back in 2011 when founder, Chef Jennifer Caraway, began preparing homemade treats for her friend Joy during her battle with ovarian cancer. Jennifer was inspired to launch the nonprofit in Joy’s honor and today Joy’s legacy lives on through The Joy Bus.

It was such a pleasure sitting down with Jennifer and hearing her heart as to why she does what she does through The Joy Bus Diner. I truly believe that we are better together, and Jennifer and her team are working tirelessly to bring the community together and bring joy to others in their time of need.

Photo Credit: thejoybusdiner.com

According to Jennifer, millions of cancer patients are often left to fend for themselves during this pivotal point in their lives. She explains why support services such as The Joy Bus are so important for those fighting this disease, both locally and nationally.

Take a look.

Keep Healthy

We all know a healthy lifestyle is an important factor in preventing some cancers, but we also must be our own health advocates. Getting annual check-ups and seeing the doctor regularly can detect cancers early, which is so crucial to fighting this disease.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) provides cancer screening guidelines by age and gender and explains how healthy lifestyle choices can help lower your cancer risk. Screening tests are used to find cancer in people who have no symptoms, which increases the chances of detecting certain cancers early, when they might be easier to treat.

Studies suggest that for most Americans who do not use tobacco, the most important cancer risk factors that can be changed are body weight, diet, and physical activity. The World Cancer Research Fund estimates that about 20% of all cancers diagnosed in the US are related to physical inactivity, excess alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition.

Fueling our bodies with healthy foods is always important. The ACS provides a nutrition and activity quiz that can help you better incorporate nutrition and physical activity into your daily life.

Photo Credit: thejoybusdiner.com

What about genetics and cancer? I personally have had various forms of cancer make their way into my family including breasts, colon and prostate so I unfortunately have seen those that I love most exposed to this detestable disease.

Research notes that while some types of cancer run in certain families, most cancers are not clearly linked to the genes we inherit from our parents and that gene changes that start in a single cell over the course of a person’s life cause most cancers.

You Are Not Alone

I remember spending a good portion of my eighth grade summer break at my aunt’s home, then in Phoenix. I was fourteen years old. She was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for breast cancer at that time, yet she always greeted me with a smile and knew how to lift my spirits. I look back to that summer often and reflect on how we were both equally leaning on each other and helping the other in different ways. My aunt was a fighter back then, she still is, and she’s still selflessly shining and sharing her light with all she encounters.

A cancer diagnosis affects family members and close friends, too. We want to be there as best as we know how for our loved one.

For anyone out there right now going up against cancer, please know that you are seen, and you are not alone. And for the friends and family of those fighting cancer, please keep holding on to hope…and listen with your hearts.

Stay healthy, my friends.

Erica Cardenas (@ericacardenas1)