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Surgeon helping cancer patients find wellness in nature at Pennsylvania farm

How a surgeon's Bucks County farm is helping cancer patients heal
How a surgeon's Pennsylvania farm is helping cancer patients heal 02:44

PERKASIE, Pa. (CBS) -- As we wrap up Women's History Month we highlight a surgeon who's also running a farm in upper Bucks County that is helping cancer patients recover. It's a 40-acre farm called a living laboratory for cancer patients all about finding wellness in nature.

It's the brainchild of a doctor with a special mission.

Dr. Monique Gary is a breast surgeon and CEO of Still Rise Farm in Perkasie which helps cancer patients recover through inclusion and nature.  

"I'm a city girl. I grew up in Mt. Airy," Dr. Monique Gary, of Grand View, said. "We didn't learn the lessons of gardening and nutrition and even herbal medicine, and it's been an experience and a journey."

And what a journey it's been for Gary, who runs and owns Still Rise Farm in Perkasie.

"I literally have a brown thumb but I'm not letting it stop me," Gary said.

She's used to breaking barriers, Dr. Mo', as she is known, is a breast surgeon and the medical director of Grand View Health's cancer program.

"I think it is breaking some barriers when you look at the fact that less than 2% of all oncologists are people of color," Gary said. "And then when you look at farming, you know, farming has historically excluded Black folks."

For her, it's about inclusion and including nature as a critical part of wellness. Her farm is where patients come to be part of nature.

"We call it experiential learning. It's like an incubator farm where folks come out and they're gonna get a chance to really experience for themselves different facets of wellness," Gary said.

Mona Gold, 72, was diagnosed with breast cancer almost three years ago. She said working on the farm has been an important part of her recovery.

"Anytime I get to be in the garden and outside, it makes me feel good and healthy," Gold said.

Gary says the 40-acre farm is about to explode with its spring and summer bounties.

"We grow our blueberries, our raspberries, our blackberries and there are medicinal properties in those. There are antioxidant properties that get rid of damaged cells," Gary said. "Green leafy vegetables, dark green leafy like spinach, kale and chard, those are things that can help increase trace minerals in the body and they can help promote healing."

From the operating room to the farm, Gary is all about building a healthy community.

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