Healthier Today

‘Healthier Today’ combines storytelling, interviews and science to uncover the unique ways people are living healthier today.

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Professor Claire Wakefield leads one of Australia's largest psycho-oncology research groups that is working towards improving the quality of life of families with children who have been diagnosed with cancer.

For many people, hearing that their child is being diagnosed with cancer is their worst nightmare. Prof Wakefield is head of the behavioural sciences unit for the Kids Cancer Centre at the Sydney Children's Hospital.

She explains, “nobody wants to hear the words your child has cancer.”

Across the globe, over 300,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer each year. Cancer is second only to motor vehicle accidents for the leading cause of child deaths. These figures are undoubtedly shocking and upsetting, as it can be hard to comprehend a child going through such agony and emotional turmoil.

Unfortunately, it is not only the child patient who feels the effect of a cancer diagnosis.

As Wakefield states, 'it’s the beginning of a really long journey, not just for the child but also for the parents, brothers and sisters'.

It is not just a patient who feels trauma from a cancer diagnosis, as their close family also feel psychological distress.

Wakefield identified the negative effects cancer can have on a family unit and brought together a research group of psycho-oncologists, to help families 'traverse the really scary, difficult time that is cancer treatment.' She explains, 'we're a growing group of researchers all working towards improving outcomes for families with kids with cancer.'

Wakefield draws on both her psychology and oncology expertise to help families feel emotionally and physically in control when faced with a cancer diagnosis. Her team focus on bringing a sense of control back to families as when asked how parents feel when their child has been diagnosed with cancer.

Through her research, Wakefield has found evidence that suggests, 'without support, both patients, parents and brothers and sisters can develop anxiety, depression and PTSD' relating to a cancer diagnosis. She further explains that, 'our work tries to prevent those outcomes.’ Tweet: Families are surprised about just how much strength they have. —Prof Claire Wakefield, psycho-oncologist

The link between cancer and depression, and other mood-altering disorders, is undeniably strong. Wakefield's work is focused on helping families to function as normally and happily as possible whilst dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

I asked Prof Wakefield how she handles working in child cancer researcher.

 'It's certainly not always easy, the work that we do, but I never ever question that it’s not worthwhile,' says Prof Wakefield.

While we can’t change the cards we have been dealt in life, we can use what we already have and further nourish that to live a meaningful, purposeful and impactful life.

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Mar 26th, 2020 by healthiertoday at 11:36 am

Zach Skow developed a drug and alcohol dependency problem that lasted from his teens to 20s. By the time he was 28, doctors told him he had end-stage liver disease. His dogs gave him the will to live and fight for a better a life. Today, Zach is the founder of Marley's Mutts Dog Rescue—a nonprofit that gives second chances to both humans and canines.


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You can connect with Jared Talavera on Facebook Instagram and Twitter.

During a yoga class in Los Angeles she noticed that she was being distracted messaging on her phone. “It was really disturbing to me because it was this tiny little device that was really pulling me away from what really mattered to me,” says Kim during an interview on the Healthier Today podcast. After that disturbing realisation, Kim searched for an app that would let her friends and colleagues know when she needed a break from her phone. Her search, however, gave her few options. Rather than admitting defeat, she recalls, “I thought, well, I think if I had some kind of out of office reply by text or phone, that would give me the peace of mind to be able to focus in a yoga class.” The result was lilspace—an app that helps you be more intentional with your phone use.

Learn more about lilspace on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and on

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‘Mauli Ola’ is Hawaiian for ‘Breath of Life’ and there is no more fitting name for a foundation whose motto is ‘May the wave heal us all’. Hans Hagen is one of the advocates and executive directors for the Mauli Ola Foundation—a non-profit using the power of surfing and the ocean to help young patients with cystic fibrosis breathe a little easier. Listen to Hans share some incredible stories and life lessons in this episode.


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Follow Mauli Ola Foundation on social media: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | LinkedIn | Website


You can connect with Jared Talavera on Facebook Instagram and Twitter.

In today’s episode we have Dr Guy Leschziner. He is a British sleep physician and neurology consultant. Dr Leschizner is the clinical lead for one of Europe’s largest sleep units—the Sleep Disorders Centre in the UK. His latest book is The Nocturnal Brain. It follows the stories of individuals with various sleep disorders and their journey to getting a diagnosis and treatment. Connect with Guy on Twitter (@guy_lesch). Connect with Jared Talavera on Facebook (, Instagram ( and Twitter ( Read the full blog post at

In today’s episode we have Amie Behave. She is a weightlifter from England who was born with the rare condition brain arteriovenous malformation or AVM for short. Amie reflects on how her journey to getting better helped her find the motivation to care for her own health and those of others. Connect with Amie on Instagram ( and Facebook ( Connect with Jared Talavera on Facebook (, Instagram ( and Twitter ( Read the full blog post at

Feb 26th, 2020 by healthiertoday at 12:23 pm

Welcome to season 1. The guests in season 1 have done incredible things in their life from overcoming serious health conditions to researchers and app designers who are changing the way we think about technology to enhance our own wellbeing. Happy listening! 😊 Be sure to leave a rating and subscribe.  www.jaredtalavera.comConnect with Jared Talavera on Facebook (, Instagram ( and Twitter (