Doctor, heal thyself? Sharyn Wynters took the advice very personally.
The former Miss Pennsylvania/Miss World from the Northeast abandoned her world of acting and fashion modeling — working for Oleg Cassini — after she contracted cancer at age 26, to study and become a "naturopathic doctor."
It is an amazing life path that made her a natural choice to be honored during the Amazing Woman's Day confab on Oct. 22 and Oct. 23, hosted by Marsh Engle, CEO of Envision Network, and founder of this self-empowerment convention featuring a panoply of participants, to be held at Philadelphia's Hyatt Regency Waterfront.
The one-time Cat Girl of TV's "Batman," Wynters has claws out not for some caped crusader, but as a crusader herself, targeting toxins in her attack, as detailed in her newly published Survive! A Family Guide to Thriving in a Toxic World.
How this Miss World contestant's world has changed; cancer at age 26 was more a dare than a scare, she claims: "I called it a health opportunity," a chance to retrench and rebel against the way she had been living and consuming.
"We become our disease," claims the former Sharon Weiner of the Northeast by way of Mount Airy.
Mounting an attack has led her to alternative treatments. "In those days, when I got cancer, there was nobody to turn to, no support groups," she says.
All that changed, she continues, when she found a supporting mentor in Dr. William Donald Kelley, DDS, an unorthodox orthodontist from the Midwest and then Texas, whose philosophies and teachings about alternative treatments for cancer included coffee enemas.
Not everyone bit at what some considered this tooth fairytale; the medical establishment certainly didn't, gainsaying this highly controversial dentist's details to defeat cancer, finding them unproven. But Wynters did.
"He changed my life," she says of the dentist and his One Answer to Cancer. "I was cured within three to four months."
Quackery, or quick-hit New Age aggressiveness? There is a legion of believers who profess that one shouldn't mess with Mother Nature, especially when it comes to eating chemically treated foods. But the American Cancer Society is not expected to buy out Kelley's remaining books any time soon, and plenty don't buy into Kelley's concept of coffee breaks.
But Wynters doesn't fall for the barbs of detractors.
"My book is all about how to protect yourself," she says of its anti-pesticide perspective and organic movement-in-motion popularity. "It's all a question of spending money now to take care of yourself or spending it later on medicine."
Wynters earned her N.D. — doctor of naturopathy — at the Clayton Holistic College in Alabama.
Admittedly, it's a relatively new field which, according to the Association of Accredited Naturopathic Medical Colleges, is an integrative medical profession: "Because naturopathic physicians believe in understanding patients from the cellular level up, they actively pursue the latest biochemical findings relating to the workings of the body and the dynamics of botanical medicines, nutrition, homeopathy and other natural therapies," without eschewing the therapies prescribed by conventional medicine, says the AANMC.
Wynters is targeting her warnings and words toward a generation willing to heed her, she avers.
"It is too late for our generation," says the post-60s if sounding somewhat '60s former Philadelphian who has "devoted 37 years" of her life learning and practicing naturopathy.
Reversal of fortune? She recalls the old days, when the typical Rx for anything that ailed you was, "Essen, essen, essen!"
"I come from a Russian-Jewish background," where her mother's idea of fine dining "was to open my mouth and force the food down," she says with a laugh.
And, of course, "if I didn't finish everything on my plate," someone would starve somewhere in the world.
A vegetarian, Wynters isn't starved for attention these days from a media seeking her out. As for her own family, who watches her on TV, listens to her talks and pages her at book tours, taking it all in, they find Mom a natural choice for the convention's honor this weekend.
After all, she says, "they think I'm amazing."