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This post is the final installment of a two-part series in which we spotlight several participants from the Recovery Panel on the 2017 Holistic Holiday at Sea vegan cruise, which sailed March 11–18, 2017.

Holistic Holiday at SeaAs you read in our July post, one of the most well attended sessions on the Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise is the Recovery Panel. Members of the audience watch in amazement and relief as a dozen people share how they overcame a serious illness using holistic and alternative therapies. By the end, there are tears, smiles, and follow-up questions.

We want to share with you three amazing stories from participants Jane Quincannon Stanchich, Tricia Slimbarski, and Kim Hoffman.


We look forward to the next Recovery Panel on our special 15th anniversary 10-day voyage, February 15–25, 2018 in the southeastern Caribbean.

Plant-Based and Pain-Free

Jane StanchichThis year’s panel was facilitated by Jane Quincannon Stanchich, a macrobiotic teacher, counselor, and chef for more than 35 years. This was her 14th time attending the cruise. She opened with, “Welcome to what I think is one of the most important and inspiring sessions on the whole cruise and any event. Truly. I love this. Very courageous people who are sharing their stories with you—stories of healing. They’ll be telling you about their condition, what they decided to do, and their triumphant results.”

Jane’s personal healing story dates back 35 years ago. At the time, she was in tremendous pain and suffering with osteoarthritis. “I was determined to find out what was causing the pain. And I was determined to do whatever it took to reverse it,” she says. At the time, she was following a vegetarian diet, but was still eating eggs and dairy. A holistic doctor assured her that she could restore her bones without operations.

“It was only when I began a vegan diet (that) … my monthly cycle became easy and pain free; my hip pain, knee pain, and foot pain went away because I was giving myself the nutrients I needed and I was eliminating the foods that were trigger foods, that were causing the inflammation and degeneration.”

In closing, Jane said “I feel better and actually younger every day. And I’m tremendously grateful because I get to meet people like you and I get to share my story with many.”

Fighting for My Life

Tricia Slimbarski

Tricia Slimbarski decided to go to the doctor because she wasn’t feeling well. The diagnosis was type II diabetes. Four months later, she returned to the doctor for testing and complained about pain in her jaw and left arm. He referred her to a cardiologist for testing and she was diagnosed with severe coronary artery disease and had a quintuple bypass surgery in February 2008. “Upon discharge from the hospital I was told to eat a Mediterranean diet, which includes fish, olive oil and dairy,” says Tricia. She was still having angina every day. When all was said and done, she was on 13 pills and two shots per day.

In February 2014, Tricia was admitted to the Cleveland Clinic due to severe angina. They placed seven stents into her coronary arteries. One week later, another stent was added. Upon discharge, the doctor told her that she had so much damage that she would be back in the hospital within six months.

When she returned home, Tricia was scared and depressed. She decided to go on the internet and do some research on reversing her condition. She discovered Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn and purchased his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease. “When I got it, I became vegan ‘now!’” She shares, “Mind you, I had angina every single day for 10 years. After I started this lifestyle, no oil, the agina stopped within two weeks and I haven’t had it yet, and that was three years ago.”

As for tips? Tricia, who says she was fighting for her life, advises others, “Take charge of your life and take control of your own health.” Today, Tricia has a plant-based nutrition course and teaches cooking.

Do You Really Believe This?

Kim Hoffman, of Cleveland, Ohio, thought she was bulletproof until she wound up in the hospital for eight days at the age of 30. Doctors told her that she had multiple sclerosis and that she’s had it for the past decade. Against doctor’s orders, she checked herself out of the hospital and hit the internet.

“My neurologist thought I was crazy and the Cleveland Clinic did not support me because I didn’t want to be on medication,” she says. She discovered Dr. John McDougall and his dietary approach to MS. She signed up for his 10-Day Live-in Program in Santa Rosa, California. She wanted to look him in the eye and ask him, “Do you really believe this?” They talked, and she eventually believed he knew what he was talking about.

She says, “Once I was properly educated, I stopped all medications. I have been on a whole foods, plant-based, oil free diet, and in full remission for six years.”

This was Kim’s first Holistic Holiday at Sea experience. For someone in similar shoes who is seeking recovery, she tells them, “Hit the internet, books, lectures, anything you can get your hands on and educate yourself on your condition. If you can learn how the disease works, you can find ways to combat it. Do not blindly follow doctors and just become another patient number in the system. Educate yourself, then trust your gut instincts.”

Join Us in 2018!

Haven’t seen the Recovery Panel firsthand yet? We’d love to have you onboard. Reserve your spot on the 2018 Holistic Holiday at Sea experience and get ready to be inspired! There are so many new ports of call, exciting lectures by world-renowned leaders in the plant-based movement, and unique excursions to help you on your journey to wholeness. You won’t want to miss it.