Cooking Beyond Cancer: New Ulm group creates community one meal at a time

Cooking Beyond Cancer: New Ulm group creates community one meal at a time

NEW ULM, Minn. (KEYC) – For the rest of the month, every Monday night, these cancer survivors are all chefs.

Every woman here is on a journey.

“We call ourselves the club nobody wants to be in,” said cancer survivor Amber Melby.

Inside Lola – an American Bistro, downtown New Ulm, they’re not just told to eat healthy, they’re shown how to eat healthy. Tonight’s menu: slow roasted French onion soup with crunchy tofu and roast beef vegetable potpie.

“It tuned out great. Aaron is a fantastic chef. Everything is delicious,” said cancer survivor Theresa Wager.

From buying in bulk, buying organic, working with what’s already in their kitchen to shopping local, there’s a Q and A for everything about optimal grocery shopping:

” I have bought Brussels sprouts,” Theresa Wager said, adding she’s celebrating three years without a recurrence, “It’s nice to have this group to share that with because they understand. They’ve been there.”

Her only regret: joining this group a year after diagnosis.

“That was kind of a lonely year because you don’t want to go up to your friends and say I have breast cancer,” Theresa said.

Here when this family-style meal is shared, no topic is off the table.

“This group is one of the best things that’s happened. Well, you can hear them laughing in the background,” Theresa said.

“I wanted to pay forward and help other people on their breast cancer journey and it’s really healed me at the same time,” said Amber Melby who created B the Light in 2016, “When we do our introductions and everybody goes through, ‘I’m a survivor,’ a little bit of their story, almost every person starts crying. It’s just really hard to share that part of our story, even when they know they’re in a group of survivors and it’s a safe space.”

Retreats, survival fitness, now: Cooking with Cancer, every program is a form of strength training.

“Seeing our survivors years out inspiring ones who are still in the fight,” Amber said.

A dozen women have signed up for the program. Through financial support for B the Light, Cooking Beyond Cancer is free for participants. So far, they’ve served women within a 45-mile radius of New Ulm.

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