People often tell Gail Brown she is a miracle, but she doesn’t feel like one. She has battled two forms of cancer, undergone multiple surgeries and beat astonishing odds. This businesswoman, wife and advocate shares her journey through traditional and naturopathic medicine to become the healthy, thriving person she is today.
Her journey is an inspiration in more ways than one. Just before she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, Brown’s husband RJ was investigating the benefits of alkaline water. He tore apart more than 50 alkaline systems, seeking the one that gave the best results.
“RJ had already begun researching alkaline water as a cure for his gout when I got sick,” Brown explained. “He believed in the benefits of the water, but was unhappy with the quality of the filters available. He spent countless hours taking filters apart, noting components he liked and finding solutions for those he didn’t.”
Through the process, he developed a water purifier that cured his health maladies. The system he created became Ion Alkaline Water, LLC, the country’s only brick-and-mortar retail store where customers can buy or lease units for their homes and businesses. From an Ion Alkaline Water location, consumers can refill a pre-paid container on an as-needed basis.
Thanks to her husband’s investigation into alkaline water and naturopathic medicine, Brown’s approach to cancer treatment changed dramatically from her diagnosis of uterine cancer in 2010 to her pancreatic cancer diagnosis several years later. “I considered myself lucky that I did not need chemotherapy or radiation following my uterine surgery,” she said. “By the time I received my second cancer diagnosis, RJ was already aware of the benefits of alkaline water as well as other functional medicine alternatives to improve his own health. We decided to pursue naturopathic medicine as a focus of my recovery.”
The couple were living in Hawaii when Brown was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After consulting with doctors there, the couple decided to return to the New Orleans area for treatment and where her family lives. Despite the whirlwind caused by the diagnosis and move, the couple married on August 7, 2013, leaving for the mainland later the same day.
A week after arriving home, Brown had a stent implanted to alleviate the jaundice followed shortly by the “Whipple” surgery, a procedure that removed 60 percent of her pancreas along with her gallbladder, bile duct, duodenum and part of her stomach. Her outlook was bleak, with doctors giving her a 98 percent chance of her cancer returning without chemotherapy and radiation. “In my heart, I knew I would not survive chemo, so I took the 2 percent chance of living and decided to use alternative methods, whatever the odds,” she said. “Today, I am more than four-and-a-half years cancer free.”
Drawing on the work of Nobel Prize winner Dr. Otto Warburg, the couple recognized that diseases, including cancer, cannot exist in alkaline environments. They developed a naturopathic protocol to sustain alkaline levels in her body. Ion Alkaline Water was at the top of the list, followed by a strict diet of mostly fresh fruit and vegetables and a daily dose of 35 percent food-grade hydrogen peroxide and supplements. It is a protocol she vows to continue for the rest of her life.
“The key is in knowing what you should eat and drink to maintain an alkaline environment. People think because it says alkaline on a bottle that it is alkaline. Real alkaline water contains active hydrogen that begins to dissipate after 48 hours. This is why it cannot be bottled. To achieve all of the health benefits of alkaline water, you need to drink it fresh,” she said.
“Bottled water, no matter the brand or the claims, are all acidic. Bottled water also adds to our carbon footprint as it is the biggest source of plastic pollution on the planet,” she said.
More than four years from her diagnosis, Brown’s progression in health mirrors the progression of the business. After opening the first store in Mandeville in 2013, Ion Alkaline Water has grown to seven locations along the Gulf Coast. There are plans for 25 additional locations across the United States and a manufacturing facility.
Brown and her husband believe strongly in the benefits of alkaline water and want others to share her success with others. To that end, cancer patients receive free refills at all Ion Alkaline Water locations.
“Sometimes I am shocked at how positive this journey has been. Life is a pendulum. It swings to the extremes in both directions. I now celebrate two anniversaries in August—the date of my wedding and the date of my cancer surgery. I plan to continue celebrating both for many more years to come,” she said.
ION Alkaline Water has several locations on the North and South shores. Stores are located at 1802 N. Causeway Blvd., Ste. 5 in Mandeville, 101 Commercial Square in Slidell, 3501 Severn, Suite B in Metairie and 3648 Magazine St. in New Orleans. Learn more at ionalkalinewater.com.