Passionate About Helping Cancer Patients Eat Well
Corporate Partner Wexley Supports Cancer Institute
People with cancer face many challenges, including problems with eating well. “Cancer and its treatments take a toll on people’s appetite, change the way food tastes, and may even affect digestion,” says Jyoti Benjamin, MS, RD. As a Virginia Mason cancer nutritionist, Jyoti is passionate about helping people eat better to stay stronger during treatment.
Jyoti met another passionate patient advocate in Cal McAllister, CEO of the Wexley School for Girls, Virginia Mason’s advertising agency and a corporate partner. “My personal mission is to better understand chemotherapy’s effect on food taste to help win the battle against cancer. Nutrition is such a huge part of treatment, and sometimes taste is forgotten, or at least not prioritized. We know why − treatment is the focus. But we’d like to put taste and the enjoyment of food back in play.”
Chemo Kitchen Community
Cal founded Chemo Kitchen with the intention to produce a cookbook, but he learned greater support was needed, not only for people with cancer, but their families, friends and caregivers. Chemo Kitchen will build a community through social media and produce a series of international cookbooks. Cal worked with Jyoti to learn about the effects of chemotherapy, the issues patients face and ideas about how to handle them. She also helped direct the award-winning chefs as they prepared their contributions for the first cookbook now in development.
As a Virginia Mason corporate partner, Cal and Wexley also support the Cancer Institute nutrition program. “Wexley believes in the mission,” Cal emphasizes. “We love all the different ways Virginia Mason focuses on their patients and their well-being above and beyond the medical services they provide. It’s a level of service we also aspire to deliver. In many ways, Virginia Mason inspires us. It feels great to support those efforts.”