From Breast Cancer to Coach: Eileen Fuentes Becomes a Catalyst for Health and Healing
Eileen Fuentes is a warrior. She has survived triple negative breast cancer and a blood clot in her heart, all while raising three daughters and working a full-time job. But in true fighter form, she came out of her ordeal stronger than ever and intent on becoming a source of positive change.
So she enrolled in the Health Coach Training Program in 2010 and founded The SPEACH, an organization dedicated to making quality integrative healthcare accessible to underserved communities through specialized lectures, workshops, and wellness programs.
Read on to find out how Eileen is helping other people transform their health holistically.
What were you doing prior to enrolling at Integrative Nutrition?
I was recovering from aggressive breast cancer treatment while working full-time overseeing Human Resources and Academic Affairs at Columbia University's Cardiology Division in New York City.
What led you to explore the Health Coach Training Program?
It was actually suggested by an epidemiologist at my very last oncology appointment after I completed my treatment. She was impressed by my vast nutrition knowledge and self-care regimen, so she suggested I look into Integrative Nutrition.
Which topics and modules were most beneficial for you?
There were two speakers who highly impacted me. As a cancer coach and a highly spiritual person, Bernie Siegel’s work is invaluable to me. What I learned from him continues to influence much of what I do today. I’d also been a fan of Annemarie Colbin for a very long time. I read her books and articles when I was sick, and seeing her speak was life changing for me.
What projects are you currently working on?
My work is mostly with low-income and immigrant populations who are dealing with cancer or are at high risk for the disease. Since 2010, I've been leading a wellness program for cancer patients at Columbia University's Clinical Breast Cancer Clinic.
In addition, I’ll be presenting at April’s TEDMED 2013 conference, organizing the first Spanish-language wellness conference at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center this summer, and discussing integrative cancer care on a panel in Washington, DC, in September.
What do you love about your work?
Seeing women transform their health, their lives, and the lives of their caregivers and children. I've also made many new friends who truly support me. Doing this work has changed my life in such a positive way.