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Local yoga teacher gets support in cancer battle

ENCINITAS — The late comedian Robert Schimmel received lots of laughs with his book, “Cancer on $5 a Day** Chemo Not Included.”
The fact is, too often money can make the difference between life and death for a cancer patient.
Such is the case with Summer Autio, a popular yoga teacher who has had to rely on the kindness of strangers as well as friends since being diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006.
Her medical insurance alone runs $1,300 month. Then there are living expenses.
“Ideally, I need $5,000 a month,” she said. “But $3,000 would take the pressure off.”
Autio views her personal crisis as an opportunity for learning and teaching. Those who know her say this is true to her character.
“When I’m pushed against the wall I think, ‘Can I have one more opportunity to be a loving person?’” Autio said. “I can be sad or angry, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be loving. With cancer, I’m turning it into an experience rather than a punishment.”
Autio teaches at Yoga Vista in the city of Vista where owner Sherry Zak Morris has generated $6,000 in donations for her.
“When she had a relapse, we could not understand why this vibrant, beautiful and gifted person had to suffer once again,” Morris said. “I believe it in my soul and have shared it many times with Summer that she is not going through this because of anything she did or anything she has to learn. Rather it is for all of us around her to learn compassion, love and the joy of living in the moment.”
Autio also has a loyal following in Encinitas where she has taught for more than 20 years. She currently teaches at Soul of Yoga. The school has a nonprofit arm, which raised $30,000 last spring enabling Autio to receive life saving treatment at the Hope4Cancer Institute in Baja.
“Summer is beloved in Encinitas,” said Tom Kelly, owner of Soul of Yoga. “When we were first doing fundraising, the ones who had money that Summer thought would donate, didn’t. The ones who didn’t have it, did. It didn’t matter if it was their last $500. It was the right thing to do.”
Kelly adds that on the last day of the fundraising drive individual donations of $5,000 and $16,000 came from people who didn’t know Autio at all.
Susan Budner is a student who became a close friend and caregiver for Autio.
“Summer’s cancer wasn’t detected until she had two very large tumors, and it was at a stage three,” she said. “She has been an advocate for early detection. In general women need to be more proactive about requesting pelvic ultrasound and CA-125 (blood) tests.”
Budner adds that as Autio’s battle with the disease continues, it’s become less about the diagnosis, treatment and result and more about her journey.
“She’s on the precipice every day, physically and financially,” she said. “In spite of everything going on in her life, I think she’s really happy. That, in itself, says a lot about who she is.”
Autio has attracted a large audience who follow her blog at
“I can’t cocoon because it’s about me,” Autio said. “My job is to continue to teach. It doesn’t stop just because I’m not employed. I’m employed by the community.”
At 5:30 p.m. Sept. 23 at Soul of Yoga is sponsoring a fundraiser for Autio in which all fees collected for her regularly scheduled class will be donated to her care and living expenses. If Autio is strong enough, she will teach the class herself. Soul of the Yoga is located at 627 Encinitas Blvd. next to Chin’s Szechwan Cuisine. Cost is $15 for one class; $25 for a new student special which includes unlimited classes for two weeks.
To make a tax-deductible donation through the Soul of Yoga Foundation call (760) 943-7685 or e-mail
Yoga Vista also has a fundraiser for Autio in progress called “Yoga in the Garden” from 1 to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through Oct. 16. Cost is $10 per class. For more information visit or call (760) 630-9642.
To learn more about Autio visit or e-mail her at


Diane Y. Welch September 18, 2010 at 8:04 am

This is truly inspirational, thank you for bringing this beautiful young woman’s journey with cancer to the public attention, Lillian.

amy jones September 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

Lots of thanks from Virginia! Summer has touched the hearts of many people across this country. She is the most genuine person I know. Your article is very special and part of her healing.

Mandrake September 18, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Angelina Jolie says her vegan diet almost killed her.

Cancer is not a disease which starts with a few mutant cells which form and multiply. Cancer is a disease of cellular starvation. The host’s cells become incapable of surviving on the diet the host is eating. The form of starvation grows tissue instead of using energy.

Cancer cells form and multiply because they are capable of surviving on a diet which is killing the host.

Summer is likely eating lots of 1. food which tastes sweet, and 2. grassy grains. She likely has been battling an autoimmune disease or an inflammatory autoimmune condition …..knowingly or unknowingly. She should stop eating the two foods above. If she has type 2 diabetes, and is addicted to them, she may have to lower her blood sugar medically first.

Summer needs to replace these two food items with animal protein and animal fat.

Elle Cloud September 18, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Mandrake, I’m curious – are you a medical professional. Where do you get your information from?

Elle Cloud September 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Mandrake, The reason I ask about your credentials is that I had a friend who died of cancer in her 50s. She was a carnivore who rarely touched a vegetable.

Mandrake September 18, 2010 at 7:49 pm

Elle, No really, a guy posting as "Mandrake" on the internet means he is actually claiming to be a physician. Does your post mean you are a physician?

I posted a link to a real person claiming her herbivorous diet almost killed her. Where is the link to your friend’s claim, the one where he claimed a "carnivorous" diet gave him cancer?

I am a self cured autoimmune disease sufferer. I’ve done lots of book and internet research. I am a cancer caregiver.

A carnivore is an animal which eats only meat. I am not endorsing a meat-only diet. I am endorsing abstaining from sweets and grassy grains, and ensuring adequate intake of animal protein and animal fat.

Summer, This is about fructose and gluten. Since the problem with gluten concerns sensitivity to glycoproteins, people could have to diet-test for sensitivity to foods like nightshades (peppers, tomatoes and tomatoes) and legumes (beams and peas) as well.

Human cells feed mostly by oxidative phosphorylation. Cells use mitochondria to churn glucose and fat into adenosine triphosphate (ATP). When needed, cells break ATP into pyruvate and oxidize it.

In 1933 Otto Warburg earned the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery that cancer feeds by glycosylating sugar, predominantly glucose. More recently researchers discovered the exact mechanism required for cancer glycolysis. Cells create dimeric PKM2 when blood glucose gets too concentrated. Dimeric PKM2 catalyzes the breakdown of ATP into substrates and glycosylates them. The resulting products are useful for tissue creation, but not for cellular energy.

There are a few ways of initiating cellular glycolysis. One is by ingesting fructose. Fructose makes cells insulin resistant. Insulin is the pancreas-created enzyme which transports glucose into cells. Fructose breaks ATP into substrates, and begins glycolysis. Another way of making cells insulin resistant is with gluten peptide WGA. WGA mimics insulin, plugs into cellular insulin receptors, and prevents glucose transport. Yet another route is still poorly understood. Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) is the protein which forms glutamine into the extracellular matrix (ECM). Wheat gluten can cause immune antibodies to attack and destroy tTG. When glutamine breaks down in the ECM, it can enter adjacent cells and become sugar. M.D. Anderson and other researchers have observed a high correlation between shortages of tTg and cancer formation.

There are other pathways which use sugar to starve cells and feed cancer, but they fall along the same lines ……wheat and sweets.

I did not and do not offer this as professional advice any more than someone calling herself "Elle Cloud" offers her rebuttal as professional advice. My advice stands on its own merit. But then, advice for cancer patients to stop eating wheat and sweets isn’t exactly dangerous, is it?,8599,1662484,00.html

Summer Autio September 29, 2010 at 8:59 pm

Dear Mandrake,
I see you are really concerned about me and must have met me in another life time because you are making such incredible assumptions about my diet…and yet you don’t know me at all…I don’t eat wheat or sugar and have followed a diet that has sometimes been vegetarian and sometimes including animal proteins …lately fish…so you are very sure of yourself and yet…you are so misinformed and arrogant! I feel strong today and just found out that these comments from you have been posted…please identify yourself in real form as I would like to have a talk with you either on this blog or on mine or in person!!!
There is so much I want to say and could say but for now I’ll wait for your reply…judging me and assuming you know my diet is very entertaining and sad….you can also email me without an audience at

Mandrake October 1, 2010 at 10:52 pm

Good. Now keep it up for a very long time. Oh, and mix in plenty of red meat and actual saturated animal fat, not just fish and fish oil.

Gluten is in all grassy grains, including wheat, barley, rye and oats. These products are in virtually all processed foods, gravies, dressings and sauces ……including soy sauce and bleu cheese dressing. Yes, fructose comprises half of sucrose, or "sugar". Glucose comprises the other half. Fructose is in all fruit and everything which tastes sweet ……not just "sugar".

By the way, supplement with potassium ….important for cancer patients. I take mine with Morton Salt Balance.

"Arrogant"? Yes, arrogantly correct.

…..still looking for my text which judges you. But my alter ego can take it.

Good luck, and keep reading my links.

Summer Autio October 3, 2010 at 7:09 am

Dear Mandrake,
I would love to know who you really are…why hide behind Mandrake…if you are so arrogantly correct…why not share on this blog or with me privately…there are many optinions out there about cancer and I have heard many of them…I’m sure you are very convinced that you are right…one thing I have learned is there is no right …I don’t have to agree or disagree with you…I would encourage you to not assume that you know about me…when you did not have any info about me…how do you know I don’t know about Gluten and the like? What is your real name and how can I talk with you? If you are so interested in helping me…why not meet with me?

Summer Autio October 11, 2010 at 9:23 pm

I guess Mandrake has disapeared…not willing to reveal your true identity…I would love to meet you since you obviously care about me…please contact me ..if you really care about all the info you have asked me to understand you will be willing to meet with me…I’m open…

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