Our beloved friend, teacher, coach, artist, social entrepreneur, and all-around phenomenal and inspiring human being, Tiffany von Emmel, has Stage 4 Adrenal Cancer, a rare aggressive cancer, and urgently needs help. As a community of friends, we are raising funds for Tiffany's diagnostics and treatments that are not covered by insurance. Tiffany has dedicated her life to helping others to grow, heal, and facilitate positive social change. This has been primarily at her own expense, physically as well as financially. Now she needs help. Please, donate and share this campaign with your friends. Please, help save Tiffany’s life. (Click "Read more" below. For the latest developments in her journey and the multi-pronged approach of her treatment, please click on the Update Tab.)Tiffany's Story
In 2017, Tiffany was living a full life. She was co-founding the educational nonprofit, Include
, teaching in the MA Organization Development program at Sonoma State, coaching nonprofit executives, facilitating a group for the Interpersonal Dynamics course and mentoring group facilitators at Stanford. Physically, for the past years, she had been experiencing fatigue, a lower tolerance to stress and chemical sensitivity, but her doctors hadn't found anything. Then, in the winter, she began experiencing severe back and leg pain. Her new doctor gave her a CT scan which revealed a massive tumor that occupied the left side of her abdomen and had been growing for many years. The tumor was the size of a butternut squash, so large that it had pushed her kidney into her pelvis.
In February 2018, she had major surgery in which an enormous tumor, her left kidney, left adrenal, spleen and part of her pancreas were all removed. Recovery from the surgery took six weeks. Six weeks after the surgery, she was back co-teaching a three-day Facilitating Diversity Dynamics training for facilitators.
Adrenal Cancer is rare, very aggressive and has a poor prognosis. The particular type of Adrenal Cancer that Tiffany has is extremely rare (300 documented worldwide). Most of her cancer cells are growing slowly. Unfortunately, seven new tumors have just been detected in her lungs.
Tiffany has sought out the experts in Adrenal Cancer. She consulted with the University Of Michigan's Adrenal Cancer Center's Dr. Gary Hammer (passionate Ted Talk on vulnerability, presence and Adrenal Cancer
) and tumor board, Stanford's Electron Kebebew, and Dr. Michael DeMeure, who is using targeted therapies based on genetic profiling to treat Adrenal Cancer. Adrenal cancer does not respond well to chemotherapy or radiation.
(For updates on the practitioners involved, as Tiffany’s research and care team develop, Click on the Updates Tab.)
Tiffany's regime includes two immunotherapy protocols, anti-cancer neutraceuticals, a whole-food plant-based diet, daily exercise, and mindfulness practices. Ways You Can Help1. Give a donation.
* Give what you can.
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* by check: Payable to "Tiffany von Emmel". Mail to: 1945 Piner Road, #157, Santa Rosa, CA, 95403 2. Share this campaign.
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*Your personal appeal makes a big difference. 3. Work with Include ,
the nonprofit Tiffany co-founded. A Profile in Presence
Here is how Tiffany’s life has unfolded to help so many:
Early in her life, Tiffany performed in a physical theater ensemble and taught theater. Moved by seeing the transformative learning that physical relational practices could offer, she studied Buddhist psychology and became a Somatics educator and shiatsu therapist. For thirty years, she has taught people how to be in a mindful relationship with themselves, others, groups and the earth.
Wanting to bring this work to more people, Tiffany explored how to apply the physical arts as methods in Organization Development. She trained with pioneers, Sandy Meisner in physical theater, Anna Halprin in dance for social and environmental change, and at Tamalpa Institute in expressive arts therapy. The first in her family to finish college, Tiffany completed her MA and Ph.D. in Human and Organization Development at Fielding Graduate University
While going to school, Tiffany founded an adult learning local community hub aptly named The Empowerment Place. The Empowerment Place was a welcoming space in Ventura, California where adults gathered to learn the tools for healing and growth from gifted teachers and therapists.
In 1994, tragedy struck Tiffany. An extreme case of Ulcerative Colitis from which she suffers to this day brought her to the brink of death.
She persevered her Ph.D. with the unwavering support of amazing colleagues and mentors at Fielding. Often home-bound and spending months enduring consecutive surgeries and losing her entire colon, she pursued her mission to nurture the growth of those around her through teaching graduate workshops in the Use of Self and in Arts-based research methods.
(Tiffany with Charlie Seashore and Don Bushnell, her mentors)
Even in her hospital room, she created a "Club Med" for the highly stressed medical staff. She made Club Med membership cards for the staff and patients who wanted respite through creating art out of recycling medical supplies in her room. She coached staff in their Use of Self. She created with a transgender nurse who wanted to be seen by fellow staff an improvisational performance performed on the hospital floor.
Tiffany's work as a scholar-practitioner has been about how the lived experience of the body teaches us about a reality and a self that reflects the interconnectedness of life. In her doctoral research, co-researching with a diverse community group in Berlin, Germany, she used action research and critical performance ethnography methods to study what the body teaches about Knowledge while in the transformative experience of physical theater improvisation. Her work articulates how lessons from physical relational practices can disrupt and heal oppressive privileged American Euro-centric patterns embedded in Organization Development, adult learning and leadership development.
In 2006, fulfilling her vision of relational leadership for an interconnected world, Tiffany founded Dreamfish, a global empowerment cooperative allowing people anywhere in the world to mutually support each other in pursuing their dreams and serving their communities.
With membership in 26 countries, and based in Nairobi, Kenya, and San Francisco, Dreamfish created artful inclusive collaboration projects and experiential learning experiences for grassroots nonprofit leaders, open source developers, young leaders in informal settlements, systems scientists, and for independents.
Tiffany created a Fielding Dreamfish Fellowship with Fielding Graduate University for doctoral students in organization development (OD) to serve on social change projects while learning how to practice OD outside of privileged American-Eurocentric contexts.
Financially, Tiffany has been a survivor. From 1994 to 2013, insurance wouldn’t pay for her treatments and surgeries, because her auto-immune disease was deemed a “pre-existing condition”. Despite having little money, Tiffany dedicated all her time and resources towards both the Empowerment Place and Dreamfish and went without taking a paycheck.
Currently, Tiffany is writing a book and co-leading Include, the nonprofit educational institute,
whose clients include a Buddhist monastery, credit unions, nonprofits, and Stanford University.
At Cedars Sinai hospital, Tiffany made a sign on the door to her hospital room that said: “Follow Your Aliveness!” Please help Tiffany to live her aliveness. Please donate what you can and please share this campaign.