Michele was diagnosed with advanced stage colorectal cancer in 2013 at the age of 47. Even though she lost her own 57 year old mother to the same cancer when Michele was only 17, it took everyone by surprise and sent her and her family into a state of shock. She did everything the doctors told her and received the conventional standard of care treatment, undergoing chemo, radiation and 2 surgeries. Even though these treatments caused months of physical pain and emotional discomfort, she tolerated them well and we are grateful that this method decimated the tumor and at the time extended her life.
Afterwards, we were told she would never be 100% cancer free because it was in her lymph system. "There was no cure " and she would need chemotherapy for the rest of her life. On top of that, due to the surgeries, she had to learn to function with an incomplete digestive system. With her spirit broken, feeling hopeless and fearful, she fell into a deep depression. She was mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted. Overwhelmed, she couldn’t find the support she needed for whole person wellness after her conventional cancer treatment.
Over time, not to be defeated, through diligent research she found integrative practitioners and discovered self-care techniques that improved her quality of life, decreased stress and possibly slowed down cancer growth. She became a person living and thriving with cancer and wanted to share all that she was learning with others.
Michele became a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach. Along with being a dedicated wife, mother, sister, friend, student and party goer, she was now a teacher. Her life was filled with love and purpose. She was fortunate that she and her family had the means to afford these often expensive integrative services and activities that helped her so much. Many were not covered by insurance and involved time, sacrifice and energy. She was an inspiration to anyone she came in contact with and she wanted to assist others who were unable to find comfort and wellness during and after their cancer treatment.
There are thousands of stories out there of individuals finding the cure for devastating diagnoses and Michele read all that she could find. This gave her hope and helped her stay in a positive state of mind up until she succumbed to the disease in 2019, many years beyond her life expectancy. Even though she was not able to find the perfect combination for herself in time, she never stopped believing that anything was possible for herself and others. Our mission continues her quest to help those affected by cancer find the answers that meet their individual needs to live a loving and purposeful life.
Know that you are not a victim of your genes. Only 5–10% of all cancer cases can be attributed to genetics, the remaining 90–95% have their roots in the environment and lifestyle or a combination of these factors.
MICHELE'S THREE SISTERS ;
Lori Cote, Vicki Severin and Mary Beth Buckley
LORI COTE, President , AS Physical Therapy, NFPT Certified Cancer Recovery Specialist, Licensed Massage Therapist, Certified Pilates Instructor, owner of Aproma Studios: Michele and Lori spent many hours researching integrative cancer services together. As a Certified Integrative Health Coach, Michele worked with Lori to develop and present holistic health workshops and wellness plans.
VICKI COTE SEVERIN, Secretary, BS Education/Therapeutic Recreational Services UCONN; In 1983 Vicki began her position as a Rehabilitation Therapist for State of Connecticut/ Department of Developmental Services. In 2003 she became the Director of Camp Harkness: Together, Vicki and Michele studied healing through positive thinking and the power of gratitude, both of which Michele became a master. Vicki hosted holistic nutrition workshops at Camp Harkness where Michele was a popular presenter.
MARY BETH (COTE) BUCKLEY, Treasurer , AS Developmental Disabilities; over 33 years experience with State of Connecticut/Department of Developmental Services in various roles including Rehabilitation Therapist Assistant and Case Management. She continues to assist with individuals in the private setting: Mary Beth was a strong supporter of Michele attending all of her workshops, accompanying her to chemo treatments, caring for her dogs Jack and then Bella, driving her to doctor's appointments, bringing her dahlias and providing a laugh when she needed it.
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Core Energetics Practitioner in Old Saybrook, CT.
Participants first meet (virtually or in person) with Ms. Pollak and together they decide which activities and services they wish to experience. "I have dedicated my career in serving motivated people find their passion and purpose and enhancing their quality of life. I educated myself in integrative health services while taking care of my mother for years while she was thriving with cancer. I also had the privilege of working closely with and providing healing therapies to Michele."
, B.S. in Accounting and Finance. UVM, MBA, RPI, Director, Strategic Initiatives Lead at Pfizer, Ovarian Cancer Peer Advocate, previously served on board of directors of non-profit organization The WARM CENTER in Westerly R.I.
"My role is to connect and partner with local Cancer Centers and the general public to bring Prevent-Heal-Thrive's mission to life. Michele inspired and guided me through my personal cancer journey. I was blessed by her research!"
Laura Petit graduated with a degree in Physical Therapy from UCONN in ‘93 initially specializing in Dance Medicine. "More recently, I have focused on therapy for head and neck cancers and rehab in the palliative care and hospice setting. Having experienced first hand the aftermath of complex cancer surgeries with my Dad, I am keenly aware of the void in patient care following traditional oncology treatments.
I am also a breast cancer survivor and have seen and experienced the models of care for post-treatment breast cancer patients, which could be applied to other cancers as well. I am excited to help support Prevent -Heal-Thrive bring their model to survivors in CT!"
After 33 years at Pfizer Inc., Ellisse Rosen retired as Vice President of Corporate Regulatory Compliance and pursued a certificate in Organizational Coaching from New York University. Currently she focuses on coaching and leadership development as an independent consultant. Her undergraduate studies were at University of Illinois (Biology) and graduate work at Illinois Institute of Technology (Biochemical Physiology). Non-profit experience includes;
Sofia Sees Hope, co-founder and former board member. Mystic Aquarium, serves on President's Council. Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, serves on Development Committee .
" As a 25 year plus breast cancer thriver I am aware of the challenges that accompany a cancer diagnosis and treatment. I have used that experience to counsel patients through the American Cancer Society Reach to Recovery program and am also an active participant and fund raiser for the Terri Brodeur Breast Cancer Foundation.
I am excited to further advance Michele’s passion to help those affected by cancer to live a healthful and purposeful life.
Naturopathic medicine consult for Prevent-Heal-Thrive team and clients.
Sleep Consultant, Motivational Speaker, Somnvie Sales Rep, Owner of Blonde Hanger, Colon Cancer Peer Advocate
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist specializing in the treatment of P.T.S.D., consult for clients and family members, sits on Events Committee
Jo-Ann Heller- Events Committee
Robin Ryan- Events Committee
Lisa McDermott- Events committe