Rosanne Lieberman, North Fort Myers, FL
"I became a Lifetime Partner because I have always believed in animal protection and as I researched the work that PCRM did for animals and humans, I knew I had to help in some way. Plus, Dr. Barnard and PCRM saved my life! My mother had had hereditary high cholesterol and had survived 3 different cancers; my father had been an insulin-dependent diabetic and suffered with heart disease. My older brother still suffers with diabetes and is insulin dependent. For too many years, I struggled with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes. I was also overweight. About 20 years ago, I attended my first PCRM Food For Life class series for cancer, offered through my employer, Lee County School District. While I enjoyed the food prepared for us and learned a lot about the health aspects of adopting a whole food plant-based diet, I wasn't yet ready/willing to fully commit. Then I was diagnosed with diabetes and prescribed 2 different oral medications. About 13 years ago when I was 58, after also attending additional Food For Life classes for diabetes, I attended a 3-day workshop from the American Diabetes Association. After completing this, I was given a copy of Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes. This book explained the health and nutritional information I needed in a way I could understand. In it, he encouraged me to "try it for 3 weeks." I figured, I could do anything for 3 weeks...then go back to my way of eating. I would miss my cheese and seafood the most. Little did I know! After 3 weeks, I had lost 25 pounds, reduced dosages on most of my medications and felt more energized than I had in years! With little to no support but much teasing and ridicule from friends, I faltered and saw the return of the pounds, the need for increased meds, and the lethargy. I remember saying to myself, “This is ridiculous! You know this works for you. How can you give control away to others when you've seen positive results?” I went back to the vegan diet and committed to it. After 6 months and at another appointment with my doctor he shook my hand with this huge grin on his face, reviewed the results of my bloodwork with me, and said, "Whatever you're doing, keep doing it!" He took me off all medications except the cholesterol and reduced me to once a year bloodwork reviews. All told, I had lost about 65 pounds, felt great, and became more of an advocate for adopting a vegan lifestyle than ever before. I even use vegan hair, skin and cleaning products! I attribute the positive changes in my life to PCRM. We need to continue to save animals' lives and human health through plant-based eating and the health of our planet."