Spotlight | Woman from Ventura fights to be a Cancer Survivor

Tiffany von Emmel has stage 3 Adrenal Cancer, a rare aggressive cancer



By Staff

Tiffany von Emmel

Tiffany lived in Ventura for years. While there she started a successful adult learning center called, The Empowerment Place.   She had to sell it after she was stricken with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). This debilitating disease took her down to 85 pounds (she is 5’9″”) and required numerous surgeries. Doctors finally removed her entire colon.  While bedridden in a Ventura granny flat owned by her mother, Camille Harris, she worked on her PhD in Organizational Development with Fielding in Santa Barbara.  They allowed much of her classes to go through “distance learning” on the internet. During this time she was completely isolated in the granny flat so her mom could care for her.

Because of this Tiffany was motivated to start an organization for others who may feel isolated and helpless against their conditions.  She founded Dreamfish and convinced technology experts to join her in Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya in Africa, to help kids find a way out of the Makuru slums by providing an education in technology. People in Ventura participated in yard sales to send supplies for the Dreamfish center in Nairobi. The organization functioned from 2012 to 2016.

There are many young people in Africa today who loved her for her work with them and improve their lives as a result. Some, at great sacrifice, have even contributed to her gofundme This, of course, brings her to tears.

Her health did not hold up against the conditions in the slums of Kenya, and she returned and joined Stanford where her work in interpersonal dynamics is greatly appreciated to this day.

Being stricken now by a vicious, rare cancer, and having kidney, spleen, adrenal gland and part of her pancreas removed, she is unable to commute to Stanford, but loving to teach, she is planning a special weekend workshop for teaching professionals in Sebastopol in November.  She also plans to hold weekly leadership classes at the Sebastopol Community Center. How is she going to do all this? She has a strong will to give.

It would seem there is nothing that can stop this woman from giving of herself to others…no disease or challenge seems too great. She also founded this nonprofit in 2018:

Nearing the end of her treatment she is running out of funds.  Family and friends have given as much as they can.

From her gofundme page:

“Tiffany von Emmel has stage 3 Adrenal Cancer, a rare aggressive cancer…Adrenal Cancer is rare and very aggressive. The particular type of Adrenal Cancer that Tiffany has is extremely rare (300 documented worldwide). So, Tiffany has sought out the experts in Adrenal Cancer. She is working with the University Of Michigan’s Adrenal Cancer Center’s Dr. Gary Hammer (passionate Ted Talk on vulnerability, presence and Adrenal Cancer ) and her case has been reviewed by their tumor board of doctors. She has consulted with Dr. Michael DeMeure, who is using targeted therapies based on genetic profiling to treat Adrenal Cancer. What they agree on is that she needs to receive CT scans every three months.  There was no agreement on if she should have chemotherapy or radiation at this time.

Tiffany’s cancer profile is complex. Adrenal cancer is aggressive but hers is low-grade, meaning that most of the cancer cells are growing slowly. Unfortunately, there’s been some invasion of veins, meaning that some high-grade cancer cells have migrated into other areas before the surgery. A new mass has just been detected in her lungs, but it is not malignant at this moment. One specialist gave her a 50% chance of living for the next five years, but because there is not much data on this rare cancer and there are several factors, another specialist wouldn’t give odds. Dr. Hammer at U of Michigan has said that, because her case is low-grade, if a new tumor hasn’t developed by year five, then there is a good chance that her cancer will not recur.

The plan
Tiffany is partnering with Dr. Lois Johnson, a well-respected naturopathic M.D., specializing in oncology. Tiffany has begun weekly infusions of  IV Artesunate with IV Vitamin C . This treatment kills cancer cells by utilizing iron in the cells to oxidize cancer cells. The protocol is that the treatment increases in dosage up to the high therapeutic level where it will be administered uninterruptedly for several months. $50,000 is required to complete the course of treatment. (Her out-of-pocket cost for medical care for the next five years is estimated at $218,000.)”



Those who love her are asking if you can help, even a little, it would be greatly appreciated: GoFundMe

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