Our Mission:

Bend, don’t break.

We provide Metastatic Cancer researchers interested in studying complementary therapies such as diet, exercise, and mindset with funding to help empower patients with evidenced-based knowledge, increase the likelihood of remission, improve life expectancy, and improve quality of life.


Our Goals

While traditional cancer treatment centers around vital pharmacological interventions, we believe that optimal nutrition, exercise, and complementary care can dramatically increase the quantity and quality of life, helping to lead many stage-four cancer patients to remission. The research on lifestyle medicine is mostly anecdotal, and often the research focus is on cancer prevention. Complementary treatments are rarely funded as their yield for profit is limited. However, there is emerging and compelling research that correlates lifestyle approaches during cancer treatment with an increased chance for survival and remission. Our goal is to provide funding to researchers who focus on these therapies for advanced stage cancer patients in order to bring light to the best comprehensive equation for optimal survival.


Our Research

The Willow Foundation funds researchers interested in complementary medicine for advanced stage cancer patients. Examples of past research include specific nutrients and their effect on microRNA and the progression of cancer metastasis, as well as the ability of exercise to change the biology of breast cancer in advanced stage patients.



research dollars raised

In only three years, Willow has helped fund a variety of organizations from oncology nutrition to exercise physiology, all with the intent of improving cancer patient outcomes.



The amount of funding that supports metastatic breast cancer

Other organizations tout their commitment to cancer research, but much of their funding goes towards awareness campaigns and screenings, leaving advanced patients in the lurch.



10-year survival rate

An average metastatic breast cancer patient is given dismal odds of survival upon diagnosis. However, traditional cancer treatment rarely includes nutrition, exercise, and mindset forms of therapy. These patients deserve the ability to take charge of their health in any way possible.


Our History

The Willow Foundation is a passion project, founded by Leah and Janine after Leah’s stage four breast cancer diagnosis in 2017. Leah’s a Registered Dietitian and Certified Exercise Physiologist who works as the Global Associate Wellbeing Director at Marriott International. She’s also a former officer in the United States Army Reserves, former division-one athlete, and an MBA graduate of the Georgetown McDonough School of Business.

When Leah was diagnosed at age 36, her cancer had already metastasized outside of her breast. That means that Leah will be on some sort of treatment forever, and will never get to use the word “cure”. In the summer of 2017, Leah completed four months of aggressive chemotherapy. Afterward, she entered a clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of a new drug on metastatic breast cancer patients. Although the trial brought numerous side effects and frustrations, Leah persisted and, in parallel, continued to nourish herself with healthy nutrition, exercise, and a steadfast commitment to positivity. In the winter of 2018, Leah’s oncologist shared with her that her cancer could no longer be detected. She believed that Leah had become one of the rare metastatic patients to reach complete remission.

What we don’t know is why some people respond to treatment and live long lives and some don’t. Leah was determined to learn about lifestyle during cancer, and became impassioned about research connecting diet, exercise, and mindset to improved cancer outcomes. After scouring the internet and emailing with cancer dietitians and specialists around the country, she still couldn’t come up with best practices for cancer patients that help improve the quality and quantity of their years. While there are some researchers out there connecting the dots between our own behaviors and response to treatments, funding is limited. Leah believes that relying on medicine alone is just not enough.

In response, Leah and her best friend Janine created The Willow Foundation. Janine's an Exercise Physiologist and is passionate about natural living. The Willow Foundation supports research efforts that help connect behaviors with improved outcomes for advanced and late-stage cancer patients. Willow raises money to support research that improves and extends the lives of these patients, and then vets these researchers in search of promising data that can potentially improve outcomes in conjunction with traditional cancer therapy.


Get Involved

When someone's been faced with a life-altering diagnosis, many people turn to those things they know will help them thrive. They may pray, travel, or spend time with loved ones. They may change their diet or lifestyle. Many simply want to have some control over their outcome. We believe that lifestyle plays a role in life extension and quality of life. Help us learn more about how we can live longer and thrive with advanced cancer.


Sign Up to volunteer

Help us at an event, initiate a fundraiser, or just become an advocate for Willow. Let us know how you want to get involved.

apply for a grant

Each year, Willow provides 1-2 researchers with funding to support advanced cancer research. Apply for a Willow grant below.


Willow survives with your support. Donate today to help our researchers solve the remission equation.