Janelle's Blog

A Surprising Connection to Good Health

For centuries the Rosetans, a close community of Italians, forged trails to work in the marble quarries in surrounding hills of the Italian province of Foggia or cultivate the terraced fields in the valley beneath the mountain where they lived. These peasants had little hope of ever overcoming their illiterate and poverty-stricken condition. Malcolm Gladwell tells this amazing story in his book, Outliers.

In 1882 eleven Rosetans ventured to the New World of opportunity to New York. The following year another fifteen Rosetans from their province traveled to America. By 1894, twelve hundred Rosetans immigrated to America. Those who migrated to Pennsylvania had such a thriving community that the town where they lived was renamed Roseto. The Rosetans’ diligence and tenacity is worth reading about.

A physician named Stewart Wolf, who studied digestion, became aware of the Rosetans, and conducted extensive studies to discover why the Rosetans had such a low incidence of heart disease. He examined all of the obvious reasons but could find no connection to good health. They drank, ate pizza made of lard instead of the healthy Italian olive oil from their homeland, smoked heavily, and struggled with obesity. It was a puzzling study of their habits that brought Stewart Wolf to a startling realization.

The Rosetans lived in a social structure where they had created a little world unto themselves. They had strong community involvement, participating in church and each others’ lives. Several generations of families lived together and people frequently stopped and spent time visiting with each other as they walked throughout the streets of their community. They had mastered the art of community living. The Rosetans created a stress free environment that would be the envy of people today.

Where Is Your Social Community?

Community life is not what it used to be—a cup of coffee at a neighbor’s house after the kids went off to school. Now, people have a virtual visit with hundreds of people at one time, if they wish. One thing has not changed, though. People still need people, not an avatar or fantasy life. They need real humans to interact with and to care about their hurting lives.

22 Year Old Young Woman Reached Out

A few days ago I received an email from a 22 year old healthy woman diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer. She is a personal trainer who eats healthy and rarely drinks. Yet, she faced breast cancer, much to the surprise of her doctors. I encouraged her to join our online community at MyNBCF. Breast cancer crosses the lines of age, race, and any reasoning.

At our online community, there are friends waiting to connect with you today who care about your breast cancer experience. As the Rosetans found life-sustaining strength in caring for one another, I believe you can find help through our online community.

Come Out of Your Shell

Now is not the time to hide your emotions and feelings about your life experience with breast cancer. Any tendency you may have to live behind your physical scars will only deepen the inward scars. Give life a chance and don’t be afraid to trust people who can help you.

Every experience in life is a stepping stone to the next place you will go. Keep your eyes looking at where you want to go, not where you have been. Dare to dream of your future.

Thought for Today:

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Live Life,


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