Tara Haaland-Ford and her family

Tara Haaland-Ford and her family

Tara Says F**k Cancer,’ and You Can Too

Friendship Paddle Fundraiser Takes Place This Saturday

Thursday, October 17, 2013
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Just shy of a year ago, Tara Haaland-Ford was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Eleven months, two surgeries, and many bouts of chemotherapy later, the high-profile defense attorney and married mother of two is still battling for her health, having endured her latest trip to the operating room on September 25. But, as Haaland-Ford is quick to tell you, her determination to kick the cancer hasn’t waned one bit and she’s taking the battle day by day. “When I woke up from surgery,” she said, “I knew it was going to be a hard road and a long journey. But in the end, I’m going to beat it.”

Though she’s enrolled in her husband’s health insurance plan — he works for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department — “it doesn’t cover nearly what you’d think it cover,” Haaland-Ford explained. Luckily for her and her family, Haaland-Ford was chosen as the beneficiary of this year’s Friendship Paddle, an annual fundraiser held in the name of someone in the Santa Barbara community afflicted with a life-threatening illness. The goal is to raise $100,000, and organizers say they’re about halfway there.

Launching from the west end of Santa Cruz Island on Saturday at 7:30 a.m., a few dozen paddlers — some making the journey all by themselves, others taking one relay leg of the trip — will head across the Santa Barbara Channel and land at the Santa Barbara Yacht Club by around 3:30 p.m. After that, a celebration of life event will be held at the Maritime Museum. Haaland-Ford said while she had hoped to participate in the paddle, the doctors advised against it. Instead, she’ll be in a boat cruising alongside her team of supporters.

Touched by the outpouring of compassion and encouragement she’s received over the past year, Haaland-Ford said the people around her have inspired her to stay strong, to keep life as normal as possible for her two young daughters as she’s in and out of the hospital. “We have such an amazing community,” she said. Not long ago, one of Haaland-Ford’s friends wrote “Fuck cancer” on her Facebook wall. That inspired the creation of the “Tara Says Fuck Cancer” blog where Haaland-Ford keeps friends and family updated on her progress. There’s also a link to donate. “We tell the kids ‘TSFC’ stands for ‘Tara Says Fight Cancer,’” she quipped.

Since her last round of surgery, Haaland-Ford — who’s been in Santa Barbara since college — said she’s taking some much-needed down time with her family, but is slowly feeling better and has stopped taking her pain pills. She’s embraced a few eastern medicine remedies as well, working with a healer, herb doctor, and nutritionist, and credited much of her recovery thus far with those supplemental regiments. Haaland-Ford said she’s looking forward to returning to work — she runs the Santa Barbara Teen Legal Clinic out of her office and has been a vocal opponent of the gang injunction with clients on the injunction list — and getting back into shape. “I can’t wait to work out again,” she sighed. “Like a real workout.”

Continuing with her perpetually upbeat and positive outlook on what she admitted has been a very trying time, Haaland-Ford said she’s happy to see that her diagnosis has prompted a few of the folks around her to schedule colon screenings, quit smoking, and get healthier. “I look at that as a blessing,” she said.

Fore more information on the Friendship Paddle and ways to donate, go here.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

F*ck cancer.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
October 17, 2013 at 7:48 p.m. (Suggest removal)

aye. f*ck cancer indeed.

lawdy (anonymous profile)
October 17, 2013 at 8:02 p.m. (Suggest removal)


I have Stage IV Colon Cancer and have been fighting it for seven years. I feel fine, just bought a sailboat, and have been active in my own treatment from day one.

I have been off the reservation for more than half of those seven years doing my own thing. I have KRAS Wild Type Colon Cancer so things I have tried may not work for your kind of cancer, in fact they may not work if you have my type of cancer. I am not a doctor but have successfully used DCA (sodium Dichloroacetate) for the first two years before any chemo and DCA plus Vidaza for a year (only took them for first three months of year). I have also responded very well to conventional chemo, Folfiri plus Avastin but have only had 18 two week cycles total. I am now trying another "new" thing which I have no info on so far. I have had no chemo since mid April (actually one cycle) and started taking a soy extract, Lunasin, at 47 mg/kg per day along with a low dose of Celebrex. Google them and you may find out why I am trying them.

I am in better shape now than the day I was diagnosed. You are much younger and have a better immune system. Keep up the fight. Also you should follow the clinical trials of Reolysin. If it is approved for any cancer you can use it off label for yours. I think it could be a very good treatment for Colon Cancer.

robmx (anonymous profile)
October 17, 2013 at 8:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Why is cancer the scourge of the industrialized world? It's afflicting more and more people as the years go by.

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 17, 2013 at 8:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Two things: First, Lance Armstrong had cancer all over and was given a 2% chance to live, so yes, never give up. Second: Pretty scary that even in her family's financial/insurance position she still had to endure the red tape of hassling with insurance.

P.S. Spacey raises an interesting point.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 12:23 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@Spacey- GMO's, GMO's, that is why.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 6:52 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tyler- thanks for the great story on Tara and this weekend's fundraiser. Hope you're well.

formerSantaBarbarian (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 9:58 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Someone as humble and caring as Tara is not exactly a "high profile lawyer;" not all attorneys are well paid and seek out prominence. However, she's one super smart person who uses all that she can offer well in court and I know her cases draw attention because they are difficult but worth fighting. She's old school, with upgraded contemporary relevant skills. We love her in this city as a professional, a friend, and community member. Have a safe and fun paddle! The event certainly reflects Tara's spirit- IT IS TOUGH!!!

ChrisCastillo (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 10:16 a.m. (Suggest removal)


Pre Obamacare a lot of insurance policies were/are little more than scams. Low year limits, low lifetime limits and lots of other restrictions which only come to light when you get sick, i.e. when you need the insurance it is not there. Tara may not be just suffering from red tape but finding out that she has to pay most of the cost of her treatment.

Also pre Obamacare you had insurance companies with large staffs dedicated to finding ways to deny you the coverage you DID pay for. If they can make it too much of a hassle many people just gave up.

robmx (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 10:24 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Cancer is a result of a diet high in processed sugar, artificial sweeteners (with the exception of stevia), processed grains and starches.. and the animals we eat? That's right, mostly grain fed and not very healthy.

You can defeat cancer and/or greatly increase your likelyhood of avoiding it but cutting out as much processed sugar, artificial sweeteners and grains as possible.

So what should you eat?

Organic vegetables, organic fruit in moderation, grass-fed and pastured animals, wild animals and wild seafood. Carrots and sweet potatoes are starchy but are ok in moderation. Other starchy items should be avoided as much as possible. Coconut oil, grass-fed butter and optional dairy (raw or grass fed) to help increase fat intake. Olive oil is ok, but avoid vegetable and seed oils as much as possible. You want high fat (good fats), medium protein and low carb. This should be at LEAST 80% of your diet, 100% is optimal but it is very difficult and expensive, if you can keep between 80-100 you will be in much better shape than the rest.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 10:37 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Candida is the #1 cause of modern health problems, some say that candida causes cancer. They are, at minimum, certainly closely related and thrive in the same conditions.

Candida is a yeast overgrowth that starts in your gut but eventually goes throughout your entire body negatively affecting many organs and glands. It actually causes you to crave foods that are heavy in carbohydrates as well as alcohol because that is what yeast eats and thrives in. So the yeast literally reprograms your body to crave different foods. Some people believe that alcoholism is related to candida. I didn't mention alcohol above, but it is a good idea not to drink too much and/or too often. If you drink a lot on the weekend, then try skipping it during the week and make sure your diet is very light in carbs to starve that yeast out on a regular basis. Or if you drink on a regular basis, keep it minimal and avoid sugary drinks. If you want a mixed drink, a 'skinny margarita' with lime juice, water, a little raw honey and stevia (optional) is a good alternative to other mixed drinks because the lime juice will help lower the pH of your gut and that is key in staving off candida overgrowth. Just make sure alcohol is part of your 80/20 rule along with the rest of your diet as described in my previous post.

Another way to kill off candida is with the help of unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Shake the bottle very well to get the brown stuff off the bottom, 2 tsp with an 8 oz glass of water and optional squeeze of lime and raw honey once or twice a day. This will really help balance your gut pH and ensure the candida is staved off.

If you are overweight there is pretty much a 100% chance you have candida. If you get rid of it, your pounds will shed immediately. If you are not overweight you still may have candida. Do you eat a lot of carbs or crave alcohol? There is also a "spit test" in the link above that is a good indicator of whether or not you may be suffering from candida. MOST Americans suffer from candida.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 11:04 a.m. (Suggest removal)

I appreciate your willingness to address me robmx, however it seems you misunderstood what I was asking. It had more to do with why this disease is less prominent in the so called 3rd world. I knew 3 females who lived, grew up in SB. 2 of them died of cancer, the 3rd was just diagnosed with it. 3 for 3 in a group of best friends. Tara and lots of others, male and female, are now battling cancer. My question is a poor attempt at discussing prevention and planting the seed of investigation, not insurance. I will say that what Tara is dealing with regarding insurance companies is unfortunate, but it seems that a capitalist society is all about one thing: money. Cuba takes care of it's sick....

spacey (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 12:05 p.m. (Suggest removal)

100% on the mark, both posts, loonpt.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 1:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Candida produces alcohol and acetaldehyde as metabolic byproducts. These chemicals are produced by yeast, not consumed. Alcohol is toxic to yeast - one reason why fermentation can't produce 100% EtOH is that the alcohol kills the (brewer's) yeast before it gets near 100%. Alcohol doesn't feed candida. Many alcoholic beverages contain yeast and cause problems for those with allergies or sensitivity to yeast. Many also contain carbohydrates that are digested rapidly and raise blood sugar. People with candida and yeast allergy experience problems when drinking alcohol from 1) residual yeast in the alcohol and 2) from sugar produced by the metabolism of carbohydrates in alcoholic drinks. Distilled liquor eliminates residual yeast, and doesn't cause problems if it's not used with sweet mixers - juice, soda, etc.
Whip it, Tara - you're too tough for colon cancer!

14noscams (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 2:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Levels of alcohol above 18 or 19% are usually toxic to the yeast and leads to the death of the cells..

Alcoholic drinks usually have less than that.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 4:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Apple cider vinegar is good for many things. I drink the Bragg ACV with "The Mother" (the stuff at the bottom) and that particular brand has gotten many good reviews.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
October 18, 2013 at 5:58 p.m. (Suggest removal)


Actually I was addressing billclausen and mistook who said what.

I have the same question you do, why so much cancer in the "advanced" countries.

robmx (anonymous profile)
October 19, 2013 at 8:03 a.m. (Suggest removal)

@tababtha- So getting really drunk ever other day is a good way to battle candida? I'm definitely in with that.

AZ2SB (anonymous profile)
October 19, 2013 at 11:02 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Tabatha - You missed the point. No sane person would advocate drinking alcohol to kill candida.
I was making the point that alcohol doesn't feed candida - it's the stuff (carbohydrates, sugars) in alcoholic drinks that feed candida.

80 proof distilled liquor is 20% ethanol. A straight shot of JD is 20% EtOH.
This also has nothing to do with killing candida. The yeast lives in your body, and, no, you're not ever going to get an ethanol concentration high enough to kill candida in your entire body- DUI is currently defined as .2% to try to kill candida, which would make candida a relatively minor health problem. EtOH is a toxin, and causes magnesium, copper, iron, zinc, and B-vitamin depletion, liver and brain damage, etc.
It's unfortunate for alcoholics who have candida infections that donuts, cookies, and other sugar-containing foods are common at AA meetings, because these foods feed candida. Unlike 100% pure pharmaceutical EtOH.
Stevia is a sweetener that doesn't encourage candida albicans growth.

The nutritional value of foods has decreased radically over the last century due to the use of synthetic fertilizers and selective breeding that allow farmers to produce bigger crops with longer shelf life and decreased damage caused by transportation in a shorter growing season. We eat fruit and vegetables chosen and grown for their economic value, rather than their food value.
We also eat more processed fruit and vegetables, even raw ones. Chopping, peeling and shredding (as in premade salad mixes, for example) prior to transportation by truck to supermarkets makes fruit and vegetable salads that have lower nutritional value than those made from whole fruits and vegetables prepared just before they're eaten.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
October 19, 2013 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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