Union Newspaper Article

The Fight of Her Life  by  Nathan Falstreau  

Special to the Union Newspaper October 5, 2009


Kayle Martin is known to many in Nevada County as “the face” behind the South Yuba River Citizens League, where she was a volunteer coordinator and event planner for more than five years. Her work for the organization included planning the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival, annual auctions, river clean-up events, and activism to insure the maintenance and accessibility of the Yuba River for local residents and its visitors.

Martin, 31, has always been environmentally conscious and has been a vegetarian for more than 20 years. So her decision to face her recent diagnosis of breast cancer with an all-natural regimen should come as no surprise.

Because she has opted for non-traditional treatments, much of her care is not covered by insurance. So to help her out, community members are gathering in Nevada City for a fundraiser Wednesday.

Matt Margulies of Matteo’s Public in Nevada City is donating a percentage of all food and drink sales from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday directly to Martin, to help offset her enormous medical costs and to help contribute to her cure. There will also be a special appearance from members of the Deadbeats beginning at 6 p.m.

Martin has called Nevada County her home for most of her life. While she wasn’t born in the area, she moved to Grass Valley in 1981 with her single mother and older sister and grew up on a five-acre ranch, where she developed a love of riding horses and playing in the local Wolf Creek swimming hole.

After she graduated from Bear River High School, she moved to Santa Cruz and studied sociology at the University of California. Immediately after graduation, she moved back to her hometown and began to work in the nonprofit sector.

In 2007, Martin moved to Boulder, Colo., where she worked for several organic and natural food companies. Shortly after her move, she received word that her elderly grandparents were not doing well physically. She packed up and moved to Oklahoma to care for them, as well as to take care of their cattle ranch – a challenging lifestyle change for an almost lifelong vegetarian.

At the age of 30, Martin was diagnosed with breast cancer.

After many visits to oncologists, the only answer she received was to undergo chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but enduring an intrusive treatment of chemicals with serious side effects was not an option for Martin.

Though most of her doctors disagreed, Martin chose a different approach to her treatment. After undergoing a lumpectomy in November, she began exploring alternative healing methods, including a completely raw food diet she learned about from an organization in Atlanta, the Living Foods Institute.

Martin was still unemployed and without health insurance, but was able to secure a scholarship and attend classes at a reduced rate.

After completing her training at the institute in January, Martin moved home to Grass Valley and has adapted to a 100 percent raw and living food diet. She takes supplements several times per day and meets with a team of health care professionals (an M.D., a naturopath, a colon hydrotherapist, as well an oncologist) on a regular basis. Recent blood tests suggest that her cancer may be in remission, but she’s awaiting MRI results that will hopefully confirm this.

Nathan Falstreau is a friend of Kayle Martin and lives in San Francisco.