Local woman helps fight cancer

Posted by Mariel Kennedy

Dinner is done. Dishes are clean. Kids are okay. Mission accomplished.

Lisa Morahan, founder of the for-profit organization Floyd Warriors, has taken on the mission to "help families cope with cancer one household at a time."

Morahan was diagnosed with Stage Three Breast Cancer two years ago; her tumor was eight centimeters and 11 out of 16 lymph nodes were affected.

Upon hearing that she had cancer, Morahan says on her website, www.floydwarriors.com, her initial concern was who would take care of her home and family while she underwent intensive treatment. Her doctor told her about several support groups, but none that cleaned, cooked and cared for a cancer patient's family. Morahan decided it was up to her to start such an organization.

"When I was first diagnosed I was completely overwhelmed," Morahan said. "Then one night as I was lying in bed, I put up my faith and said, ‘I'll do what I can so long as I have the health and body to do it.'"

Through any and all means — family, friends, neighbors, organizations, businesses and everyday citizens — Floyd Warriors hopes to "link all available help with families newly diagnosed," so they can get through the hard first months of diagnosis and treatment.

"Floyd Warriors started basically as a community resource to enable newly diagnosed patients to be inspired and to document my journey as it was happening to give a new prospective to the diagnosed people," Morahan said.

Morahan wants to help newly diagnosed patients achieve her (and many patients') goal: "to live through cancer diagnosis and treatment and move on."

Morahan also hopes to show the newly diagnosed patients that they do not need to have the persona of a chemo patient or take on the "typical look." Morahan said that at first, she was worried about her looks and losing her hair, rather than her health.

"Embrace it. Take control of your own life in the midst of cancer. I want to get across the message that you can do great things after diagnosis," Morahan said.

People interested in receiving or giving help through Floyd Warriors should contact Morahan through her website; she is always looking for more help, be it through donations or manual services.

Upcoming events are currently being organized and will be announced on the website shortly.

When asked what a Floyd Warrior is, Morahan describes her inspiration and quintessential Floyd Warrior: her mother, who lived every day to its fullest, despite her cancer diagnosis.

She describes Floyd Warriors as those who are "strong, in charge and in control. They are the ones steering the ship. They call their own shots, live life despite any diagnosis and live to inspire others. Floyd Warriors live with a twinkle in their eye, "Morahan said.

The community has responded incredibly to the group since its creation. Floyd Warriors has received a lot of attention from the media and has recently been awarded a grant from the Saratoga Travel and Tourism Bureau, which will be used to keep the organization running smoothly.

She also used her experience to educate others about cancer. Education is a key part of Morahan's mission.

"There is a lot of education as far as detection goes," Morahan said. "The problem is that we are detecting it because we have it."

A main part of education to Morahan is knowing what we put on and in our bodies; she stresses that the skin is the largest organ of the body and substances absorbed through the skin flow directly into the bloodstream.

Morahan is a founding consultant for Ava Anderson Non-Toxic in Upstate New York.

The same year Morahan was diagnosed, 14-year-old Anderson saw a report "on a study about hazardous chemicals in the bloodstream of teens commonly found in cosmetics and skincare products."

Shocked and horrified, Anderson researched the topic and was more and more troubled with the chemicals contained in everyday products and products advertised as ‘safe,' ‘all natural' and ‘organic.' She found that "nothing was truly non-toxic."

Anderson decided that she would have to create the line she wished people would use. After the hard work of many team members, Anderson says on the product's website that "the first full line of skincare and cosmetics in which every ingredient in every product rates ‘zero' on the Cosmetics Database" was created.

Anderson offers a wide range of products from cosmetics to haircare products and beyond for reasonable prices. The prices are comparable to drug store prices with most products sold for less than $20.

Products can be purchased online or through consultant-run parties.

"I got onboard because [consultants] are spokespeople for the products. Since sales are done through parties, we can put good information in the hands of buyers rather than just sell products without education," Morahan said.

Team Ava in Upstate New York is currently being organized by Morahan. Interested parties should contact her directly at (518) 429-0461, or by e-mail at info@floydwarriors.com. Likewise, people interested in hosting Ava Anderson parties or purchasing products should go to www.avaandersonnontoxic.com.

Morahan urges young women to take control of their health, reminding them that it is not up to doctors or others to take care of them.

She says, "Watch out for yourself. Even if you feel young and invincible, there are still many things you can do to better your health, educate yourselves and do differently to ensure wellness. You cannot do everything but you should do what you can."

Anyone interested in getting involved with Floyd Warriors should go to www.floydwarriors.com of personally contact Morahan at info@floydwarriors.com.

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