Penny Brohn UK

Help change life with cancer. For good

Guest blog: Trew Fields: Cancer awareness & holistic health festival

Sophie Trew - Trewfields Festival

Sophie Trew writes about how cancer gave purpose to her festival dream.

Wake up calls – what are they calling us to wake up to?

It took a cancer diagnosis to wake me up to a body that needed urgent care. For years I lived in my head. I was 23, racing through life, rarely stopping to pause and breathe. Until, for days during treatment this was the only thing I could do. Cancer made me realise how disconnected I’d been. As I began to heal, I soon realised the only way I could do so was by connecting my body, mind, spirit and emotions.

I will always be grateful for my stay at Penny Brohn, a place that puts the soul back into medicine. Freshly fragile after 6 months of chemotherapy, it was the first place I visited that really resonated in the approach to cancer. Recognising that all aspects of our lives are connected. We were empowered and nurtured on the course to take control of our health. This was so refreshing following a year being treated as a series of walking symptoms and side effects.

When I was diagnosed I knew nothing about cancer or its causes. Feeling out of control, I asked my doctor if there was anything I could do to support myself during chemotherapy. He answered: “leave it with us, there’s nothing you can do. Cancer is a lottery, there’s no reason why you got it.”  

As a journalism graduate, research became my coping mechanism during treatment. Instead of asking “why me?” I wanted to explore “why us?”. Why are cancer rates rocketing with little progress in treatment? Could it be that we’re focused on treating a chronic illness with acute options? Diving into the causes and lifestyle medicine, I realised how much we can be doing to lead healthier, more energised lives.

During chemo I built an integrative recovery plan. This included gut healing, meditation, juicing, exercise, nutrition and lifestyle medicine. I had cancer in three body sites, with one lump the size of an orange on diagnosis. Within four months my scans were clear and the healing began.

Having seen too many friends and family struggle through cancer, fearful about the limited options they had and in a lot of pain, I wanted to use my experience as a force for good.

I’ve always loved the open-minded, open-hearted atmosphere at festivals. For years I had wanted to create one but it was cancer that really cemented this with a purpose.

Beginning cancer treatment was a confusing and isolating time, there was a lot of information, much of it was contradictory and negative. Through research I came across a proactive health and cancer community. Trew Fields​ was born out of a dream to bring together the people who inspired me in my recovery and a like-minded community in a context where we can share stories, exchange wisdom, have fun and build an empowered education movement. Above all, it’s about hope, which is often lacking. It’s a groundbreaking festival a first for cancer awareness and holistic health.

The UK has some of the worst cancer survival rates in Europe. By coming together with open minds and representing both sides of the health debate, we can progress. Trew Fields aims to facilitate this progression and inspire greater health through knowledge.

It’s a weekend of inspiring talks, health workshops, music and play, bringing together world-renowned health professionals, researchers, wellbeing experts and those living well with and beyond cancer. All set on a beautiful farm in the countryside.

While conceived as the first cancer awareness festival, working as a team it’s grown to become a space for anyone interested in holistic approaches to health,regardless of their experiences of cancer. It’s a place to laugh, learn, relax, dance and celebrate all the wild curveballs life throws our way. A “restival”, to rest and rejuvenate, if you will.

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The Trew Fields Festival family are putting on the event for positive social & environmental change. Welcoming and inclusive for all ages, circumstances and experiences.

We would love to welcome you on the farm – it’s an event you won’t want to miss if you’re interested in health, wellbeing and getting more out of life.

The Trew Fields line-up includes 50 different speakers and workshop teachers. Speakers on the talks stage include: Sophie Sabbage – The Cancer Whisperer, Kris Hallenga, The Stanley Brothers, international doctors including Dr Nasha Winters from the US, Dr Abdul Slocum from Chemothermia in Istanbul and a panel of Stage 4 Thrivers sharing everything they’ve been doing to heal.

In the workshop space you can enjoy everything from breath work, nutrition, fermentation lessons, yoga, meditation, Qi Gong and cooking demos. Plant-based street food, smoothies, massage therapies and whole festival drumming are all part of the fun.

To find out more please visit the Trew Fields Festival website –

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