Avery Center founders practice what they preach

Avery Center founders practice what they preach

By Lisa Palmeno

By Lisa Palmeno

Staff Writer

Betty and Derek Avery started the Avery Center to help people seeking ways of combining alternative healing forms with traditional medicine. Now they are putting their findings and beliefs to work in their own lives, since Derek was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer, Multiple Myeloma, in October.

Betty is a Reiki master whose interest in all natural forms of healing has grown since she met Derek.

Derek’s belief in spiritual and natural healing began with his aunts who were spiritualists (faith healers) in England; his father was the fourth man in England to have a disc removed from his back in the 1950s, and at age 10, Derek witnessed a healing the aunts performed on him.

In June of last year, Derek himself began having lower back pain. When the pain moved into his ribs, he sought chiropractic, which gave him no relief. He then went to world-renowned Dr. Chen for acupuncture, a technique which gave him only temporary relief.

The Averys then began to seek treatment from traditional medicine. A rheumatologist examined Derek and believed the pain stemmed from general inflammation and arthritis in the lower spine, but upon looking at bone scan results, the physician immediately turned Derek over to an oncologist.

The oncologist, Michelle Pipp of Monroe Clinic in Wisconsin, ordered chemotherapy the day of diagnosis,a method Derek initally rejected, but doctors told him the disease was already in the bone marrow, not localized.

Betty immediately began to integrate holistic methods into Derek’s treatment. In addition to dietary changes, she called Avery Center contacts, beginning with a call to Fran Catherine Starr, Ph.D., RN, ND, in upstate New York. Starr, president of Gigong Nurses Association, is a friend as well as an intuitive healer. The intuitive’s role, Betty explains, is to keep the patient’s “body in balance” and his “blood in line.”

“In the realm of energy work,” says Starr, “this is referred to as long-distance healing.” First, Starr sets up a telephone appointment with the person suffering. She asks that the person be in a relaxed position in a bed or recliner, with no other people or animals in the room so as not to interfere with energy work being done. She has a massive table, and she “connects with the energy of the person on the table.”

The energy of the client is on the table, as though the person was there with her. Then she works on healing the body, mind and spirit of that person through a body scan, which allows her to see where the problems are. She uses a prayer format before starting, then directs energy to the part of the body that needs healing.

Starr stresses that each healing plan is individualized according to beliefs and biochemistry of the person, two components that are unique to everyone. Starr, who says she is only a tool for God’s work, has performed three long-distance healings on Derek so far.

Betty also performs Reiki on Derek before and after each chemotherapy session. She used the technique on him in the summer when he had sinus surgery, and he suffered no swelling, bruising or bleeding, three side effects common to sinus surgery. The Averys say that doctors were surprised with the results, but the Averys weren’t. They say the positive outcome furthered their belief that they,together, could overcome the Multiple Myeloma.

They have also used large prayer lines and Reiki sessions with five to 10 Reiki masters working on Derek at the same time.

Reiki is also hands-on healing with energy, says local naturopathic doctor Kimberly Castaneda, owner of Discovering Wellness. “Rei” means sacred. “Ki” means universal life force.

Castaneda comments on the Averys’ approach: “I believe that it’s fine to combine the two modalities of healing; that is, if you’re going to go with allopathic medicine, that my belief is that you must support the body with natural healing also.” She says healing involves a change of lifestyle. “You must reverse the basic cause of the disease (past issues), bring the body back to balance, mind, body and spirit. Spiritual healing is necessary to create a connection and achieve total wellness.”

The couple firmly believe Derek did not lose his hair from the chemotherapy because of the holistic methods used. (Doctors said his hair should have been gone in two weeks.)

Meg Larkin from the Wellness Center, located at State and Madison streets, was also called on to assist with Derek’s recovery. Larkin specializes in cranial sacral therapy, which she defines as “a very gentle noninvasive hands-on therapy which uses the bones and muscles to access the nervous system; that’s actually what it is physiologically. I really feel cranial sacral therapy helps the body adjust to all the dramatic changes that are happening in the body, and also cranial sacral therapy work helps with the spiritual connection,” says Larkin.

Betty says Dr. Pipp has been good about accepting the spiritual aspect, and Pipp says she is pleased with Derek’s progress. Pipp states, “I think, with Mr. Avery, it (natural medicine) has worked wonders with him. He has had to use essentially no anti-nausea medications. His pain has improved significantly. And he is certainly doing better than I had expected. I think that their strong spiritual belief has contributed significantly to his response to therapy.”

As of early November, Derek stopped using Duralgesic, a pain medicine. Betty says “to see him pain free is a gift from God.”

The prognosis for Multiple Myeloma is typically 80 percent with chance of long-term remission with chemotherapy. Derek’s first appointment for a stem cell transplant at the University of Wisconsin on Nov. 13 unfortunately was delayed due to his catching pneumonia. His immune system was low from the chemotherapy, but he is recovering very well, says Betty.

Pipp is also working with Avery Center by helping to set up protocols for studies on cancer. Derek and Betty say “playing by the rules” extends them credibility, giving them something the association will accept and approve. They also work closely with Dr. Norbert Duttlinger, one of the owners of Rockford Anesthesiology and a member of the Avery Institute board of advisors; Dr. Edward Shan from China, who travels back and forth from the U.S.A. to China; and educator Laurie Zipkonski, Ph.D. in Florida.

The Avery Center is a non-profit organization and now is accepting donations for research for the Institute. They plan to buy a building for researchers to work from. For information, call (815)636-7081.

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