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Remembering Scott Stephens, 10/1/1977 – 27/1/2016

By Siegfried Gutbrod, Therapeutic Director
The Gawler Cancer Foundation, Yarra Valley Living Centre

In his early 20s Scott had a few moles removed, and from Scott’s perspective this was no big deal. The situation became much more serious however when one of the moles turned out to be melanoma, and when the cancer spread to the lymph system and other parts of his body.

I first met Scott in 2004 when he attended our 12-week Cancer Self Help Program, which I facilitated in Melbourne. He was very keen to learn what he could do himself to support his healing journey alongside his medical treatments, and he fully embraced the 7 essential elements promoted through the program.

Later that year, having received a very poor prognosis from his medical team, the realisation of ‘stage 4’ melanoma really sunk in for Scott. Feeling that a self-help approach was essential in his quest for getting well, he decided to attend our 10-night Life & Living program to learn in more detail about what he could do for himself. He was a very sick man at the time and needed to lie down for most of the sessions.

Shortly after that I relocated to South Africa for 5 years of voluntary work and lost touch with Scott during this time. Within the first few days of being back at The Gawler Cancer Foundation I literally bumped into Scott in the corridor at the Yarra Valley Living Centre, and I couldn’t believe my eyes! He was in brilliant health, and positively radiating with his characteristic infectious smile. He told me of his remarkable recovery in 2005, about how his life had changed so much for the better, including the birth of his two children – Lilly and Flynn. And he was still so committed to the lifestyle changes that saved his life, despite having already reached full remission. It was an ‘awesome’ story… one that should be shared.

It did not take long before we invited Scott to become a regular guest presenter at the Gawler Cancer Foundation’s cancer programs, which he did for many years on a voluntary basis. During this time Scott inspired many hundreds of people with his story. He had such an ability to motivate people with his unique down to earth and no-nonsense way of sharing his experiences, and what he believed were the key factors to him reaching full remission.

Scott also became an inspirational speaker at many cancer related conferences and events, and his captivating story was made available to a greater audience through the DVD production “Scott’s Story – surviving cancer through hope, love, discipline, endurance, faith and self-help”. Scott also featured prominently in the 2014 documentary “The Connection – Mind your body” alongside many prominent world experts in the field of Mind-Body Medicine. This documentary has made Scott and his story known worldwide.

At the end of 2014 Scott required surgery for hernia, which had to be redone early in 2015 and resulted in a 3 1/2 hour operation. These two operations placed a huge strain on Scott’s body, and left Scott seriously questioning whether he could and should continue with his physically demanding job as a cabinetmaker. We spent many hours discussing the possibilities for Scott to follow his real passion, which was to help other people dealing with major illness to get well. Early in 2015 Scott resigned from his job and worked hard towards a qualification as a wellness coach. He had plans to set up his own business and offer his own cancer self-help programs, as well as meditation courses in the Melbourne metro area, in close connection with The Gawler Cancer Foundation. We also talked about plans for Scott to join our therapeutic team on a more formal basis. His enthusiasm for this new phase in his professional life was palpable. Unfortunately these plans came to an abrupt halt after the melanoma reappeared aggressively in the middle of 2015. Scott was still recovering from the after effects of the hernia operations at that time.

Scott turned his entire focus onto dealing with this new challenge. He intensified his meditation practices and became even stricter with his diet, he did his physical exercises as best as his body allowed him to do. Unfortunately he couldn’t practice his main passion ‘surfing’ any longer due to the bodily constraints following the hernia operations. We engaged in a series of in-depth counselling sessions to free up any potential emotional or spiritual blockages that may hinder his healing. We talked about the possibility of him not being able to turn the illness around this time, and he was at peace to talk about death. He eventually succumbed to the melanoma. He did this from a position of inner peace, knowing that ‘he gave it his absolute best’. There were no regrets. He accepted that it was obviously his destiny to die from the illness this time around without understanding fully the ‘big picture’ behind it all. Scott was a great believer in the spiritual dimension of life.

Following the recovery from stage IV melanoma back in 2005 he was able to enjoy 10 wonderful years of high quality living. During this time Scott has touched so many people with his life story and will continue to do so.

Scott was a man of great integrity, humility, courage and a big heart. He will be deeply missed by many. He has been a loyal friend and supporter of the Gawler Cancer Foundation. He lived the healing principles of the Gawler Cancer Foundation and is a wonderful demonstration of what can be achieved by taking charge of one’s own healing journey. His death does not take anything away from that.

Scott was farewelled by his family, friends and supporters at a simple ceremony at a beach at Phillip Island. Just the way as Scott wanted it to be.

You will be forever in our hearts.