Plant Based Cures

Plant Based Cures

Article Published in The Daily Herald. by: Danielle Peterson

D. Anthony Evans watched children pulling their IVs up and down hospital hallways with smiles on their faces. He shared hospital rooms, stories and advice with those who were less than half his age. He saw children, just starting their lives, fighting for them.

Right then he decided to pursue a mission. As long as he could, he would be living proof to pediatric cancer patients that there is a chance of life after sickness if they just hold on and stay positive.

Evans, of Schaumburg, understands what they are doing through, because he was one of them. Now 38, and living with terminal cancer, he is a spokesman for the nonprofit Fresh Start For Our Youth, and will host a fundraiser May 25 at Wrigley Field, during the 1:20 p.m. Cubs vs. Nationals game.

Each tax-deductible ticket sells for $300. It includes all-you-can-eat food, unlimited beer, private indoor and outdoor seating in the Private Corporate Banquet Suite, and a VIP parking pass. To buy tickets, contact Evans at evansdejuan@gmail.com or visit www.fs4oy.org.

The event will raise funds to help feed pediatric cancer patients organic, plant-based meals and to sponsor at-risk youth in need of rehabilitation at out-of-state residential facilities.

Evans stresses the importance of a plant-based diet for pediatric cancer patients, especially children who live in Chicago's most impoverished areas.

"When a child is released from the hospital, they suffer from a condition called neutropenia, where your body doesn't produce enough white blood cells anymore," Evans said. "Unlike other regular cancer patients, (impoverished kids') foods come from a gas station, McDonald's or KFC, and when you are fighting cancer the only way to repair white blood cells is through earth-grounded food.

"You can't rebuild an immune system with synthetic or processed foods."

The plant-based meals are provided by the Meals that Heal program, part of the Fresh Start for Our Youth Foundation. The program's goal is to sponsor plant-based, immune system-building meals for as many pediatric cancer patients as possible.

Evans also stresses the importance of removing young patients from their environment and helping them secure treatment in out-of-state residential treatment centers for a new surrounding and fresh start.

"If there was an organization like Fresh Start For Our Youth (when he was young), I feel like I would have had a better start instead of getting into trouble with gangs like I did," he says.

In 1985, the 8-year-old Evans was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis. When he was 16, he lost his mother to AIDS, and since his father had never been in his life, he was essentially orphaned.

Then, in January 2012, the neurofibromatosis morphed into Malignant Peripheral Nerve Sheath Tumors, which causes tumors to form on peripheral nerves anywhere in the body. From January to November 2012 he had more than 200 tumors removed, including seven 9-hour back-to-back operations. More operations followed in 2013 and 2014 and to date he's had 320 tumors removed.

At the time of his diagnosis with MPNST he was given 6 months to live. That he is still alive he credits to his decision to try a plant-based diet.

"It was a lot to wrap my mind around, but with six months to leave the Earth I started entertaining everything," he said. This included a plant-based diet, which his aunt told him about.

Meat, yeast, sugar and dairy all create an acidic environment, Evans believes. By limiting the amount of acid you ingest, cancer will have nothing to thrive on.

"The only way to limit amount of acid is through green leafy veggies, fruits and legumes," he said.

Evans, whose diet had consisted of 40 pounds of chicken a month and more than 10,000 calories a day, is now 80 weeks meat-free. He attributes his mentality, strength and physique to a plant-based diet.

Still, Evans knows he is terminal. Postoperative survival rates for MPNST are 0-5 years on record.

"The cancer is still there," he says. "I'm alive because my body's not acidic. I just don't put anything in my body that irritates it."

Evans has a goal. "It's my mission to touch 1 million people before I die," he says. "My days are numbered so this is a full-court press."