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Art from the heart

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Author and speaker Judi Moreo paints at an art class in Wenatchee on Sept. 6. Moreo took to painting on the advice of naturopaths treating her cancer.

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Judi Moreo: A life timeline

Judi Moreo has had a busy life, and still does at age 69. A few highlights:

1960s and 1970s: Models for giant clothing retailer Montgomery Ward. Opens Universal Models in Las Vegas to supply conventions and trade shows with models, venues, VIP shuttles and customer service and marketing advice.

1980s and 1990s: Begins teaching customer service seminars for big companies, including the Argus newspaper chain in South Africa. While living in Johannesburg, she sketches the first outlines and research for future books.

2009-10: Diagnosed with breast cancer. Turns away from conventional medicine to seek alternative therapies. She begins writing “Overcoming Cancer: A Journey of Faith.”

2012: Meets an East Wenatchee businessman and strikes up a long-distance romance.

2013: Begins publishing the online magazine “Choices” and recording a daily inspirational podcast of the same name. She moves to Wenatchee to spend more time with her beau.

Now: “Overcoming Cancer,” her eighth book, set for a late September release. She’ll speak about the book at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at the Leavenworth Public Library, and signs books at 1 p.m. Oct. 12 at A Book for All Seasons in Leavenworth. She’ll also sign from 1 to 3 p.m. Oct. 19 at Hastings Books, Music & Video in Wenatchee.

— Mike Irwin, World staff

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EAST WENATCHEE — Author, lecturer and cancer survivor Judi Moreo got the best advice of her life when she was just 16 years old.

My dad told me to sit down, think hard and then write out my life’s purpose,” said Moreo, now a new Wenatchee Valley resident at age 69. “He said it would be my North Star, and it would guide me for the rest of my days, no matter what problems arose or what challenges I faced.”

It worked, she said. Moreo’s purpose — “to live life so that my life lives on in others, so that it affects people in positive ways” — has guided her through multiple careers around the world as a model, business owner, popular self-help author, communications trainer, motivational speaker, book publisher, Internet radio personality and, more recently, an explorer of alternative ways to beat cancer.

That “North Star” also guided her, she said, to a newfound love of painting and art, and a newfound love — a new romance that brought her here from a former home base in Las Vegas.

Life just keeps unfolding in miraculous ways,” laughed Moreo. “It’s a terrific adventure.”

Moreo’s new book, “Overcoming Cancer: A Journey of Faith,” will launch later this month, just in time for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. She’ll sign copies of the book — her eighth on empowerment, positive thinking and healthy living — at local bookstores during the month.

This book is the most important thing I’ve ever done,” said Moreo. “I’m not a doctor or scientist or any kind of health expert, so it comes straight from my own experiences — and straight from my heart.”

Overcoming Cancer” outlines the steps Moreo took after a 2009 diagnosis of breast cancer resulted in a lumpectomy, partial mastectomy and — in the months to follow — her growing skepticism about conventional treatment of the disease. When doctors pushed for radiation treatments and additional surgeries, including removal of lymph nodes, Moreo said she backed up and took a breath. “I kept thinking there had to be a better way,” she said. “Or, let’s put it this way — I wanted there to be a better way, and I was determined to find it.”

Moreo said she immersed herself in deep research — online, in books and face-to-face with doctors, healers, patients and survivors — and emerged convinced that naturopathic therapies of diet, exercise, herbs and supplements, along with daily doses of prayer, would be her best path to wellness.

(In an interview last week, Moreo strongly emphasized that alternative medicine for such a serious condition may not be appropriate for every cancer patient, but that “my heart and soul said this was the right track for me.”)

Moreo said she knew she was on the right course after a naturopathic doctor examined her and said, “Let’s see if we can get you well.” Up till then, conventional doctors had talked to her of sickness and disease, but never in terms of health and wellness. “It lifted my spirits.”

Soon after, she stumbled across a quote — “the power that made the body, heals the body” — that gave her an immediate sense of peace. “I began praying regularly to strengthen my personal relationship with God. I’m not fanatical about it, but I do have a continuing conversation with him.”

In just under eight months of alternative treatments, Moreo tested negative for any signs of cancer and has remained cancer-free for the last two-and-a-half years.

But the most surprising outcome of her treatment, she said, was a talent for art that had remained hidden for over six decades. “A naturopath recommended I try it just to nourish my soul,” she said. “I gave it a try and got hooked.”

After two years of learning, Moreo is now painting regularly, has just finished a series of artful Christmas cards for an Oregon winery and is taking weekly classes in acrylics from noted landscape and wildlife painter Jeff Tift of Cashmere.

Painting has opened a door to a creative side I never knew about,” she said. “That door appeared because I got sick, and now I’m going places I never dreamed possible.”

Reach Mike Irwin at 509-665-1179 or . Read his blog Everyday Business. follow him on Twitter at @MikeIrwinWW.