Today Show: Mother Teaches Cancer Patients How To Cook
Nearly a decade ago, Danielle Cook Navidi’s son was undergoing cancer treatment for stage three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. She was doing everything she could to help her son get better, saying she would have taken his place if she could. “It is like getting hit by a bus, getting up after being run over and getting hit by a train,” said Danielle’s son Fabien, when describing what it is like to undergo chemotherapy.
When he was undergoing the chemotherapy, doctors told Danielle to feed her son as much as she could. They told her he needed the calories so badly they recommended she take him to eat fast food. Like any mother, she was not going to take her child to get fast food. She couldn’t see the benefit of eating unhealthy food when her son was already so unhealthy. So she focused her efforts on the one thing she knew how to do best: cook.
She started with chicken. She went back to making homemade chicken broth and homemade chicken noodle soup. Danielle said it started working, so she went back to school where she got a master’s degree in nutrition. She started experimenting with different foods and after Fabien completed his treatment and made a recovery from the cancer, Danielle knew she wanted to continue giving back. She decided she was going to volunteer in the same pediatric oncology clinic where her son was treated in Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.
Today Show: Happily Hungry Review
She worked with the parents of children undergoing cancer treatment and taught them how to prepare food that would aid in their children’s treatment and recovery from cancer. With the help of the hospital, Danielle also published a book, Happily Hungry, filled with recipes and charts to guide a family through the stages of cancer.
For the parents of children in the pediatric oncology clinic, they said Danielle was a Godsend. She taught them how critical it is to eat healthy, especially when battling cancer. One mother said it made her feel like a better mom. She said it made her feel as if she could take care of her son better.
“I can give him love, I can give him food and that was really important,’’ one father told the Today Show. “Then when he liked the food it was even better.”