Future of Wellness: why this naturopathy student knows life is too short for what-ifs

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | 21 August, 2020

Naturopathy student Talisa Marsden has more than one good reason for putting her hand up for the World’s Greatest Shave. She understands all too well that there’s more to life than having beautiful long hair.

“While I haven’t been directly affected by blood cancer, I understand what it’s like to have cancer and for it to affect someone you love. My mother passed away when I was 13 years old from bowel cancer,” Talisa explained. “It was genetic cancer, and there was a 50 percent chance that I had the gene and I do, which meant a 100 percent chance that I’d get bowel cancer. While I knew the risk, I didn’t expect to be diagnosed at 19 or to be told, if I didn’t have surgery, I wouldn’t make my 24th birthday. That was a shock.”

Talisa was working to become a hairdresser (like her Mum) at the time of her diagnosis. “My life did a complete flip. My treatment experience opened my eyes to the power of big pharmaceutical companies to push drugs,” she said. “My parents had always used natural, holistic medicine, and I wanted to return to it.”

Today, Talisa has screening and a colonoscopy every year as well as an upper endoscopy to check for signs of cancer. Five years on from her diagnosis, she also enrolled in an advanced diploma of naturopathy. Unfortunately, the Brisbane college where she started her studies closed before she could finish, so she moved to Endeavour.

“I had heard Endeavour was a good College, and one and a half years in, I’m enjoying the Naturopathy degree. I like the study spaces, and the teachers are so knowledgeable. The College size means you can interact with lecturers and other students. We bounce ideas off each other. The work is harder, but I’m sure that’s actually a good thing”, Talisa laughed.

While it’s still early in her degree, Talisa would like to have an integrated, multimodality clinic one day, working alongside her husband, who wants to become a physio. She is already a Reiki practitioner, like her father was, and also has plans to study kinesiology, acupuncture and emotional freedom techniques (EFT). Through her life experiences and studies, Talisa has developed an interest in gut health, women’s hormonal health and mental health.

“I haven’t thought about specialising too much or what I will do when I graduate because I haven’t had enough practice yet. I’m also interested in preventative health. Even if you never used it as a career, you always have the knowledge you learn for yourself and your family,” Talisa said. “Besides, I think you’ve just got to follow your intuition. If you think it’ll make you happy, then go for it! Life’s too short for what-ifs.”

To help Talisa raise enough funds to shave her head for blood cancers, visit her donation page.

Future of Wellness

The Future of Wellness series features stories from current Endeavour students around the country. From where they started to where they are now to where they are headed, we celebrate their unique stories and perspectives.

Interested in reading more Future of Wellness stories? Head here for more.


Endeavour College of Natural Health

Endeavour College of Natural Health is Australia's largest Higher Education provider of natural medicine courses.

The College is known as the centre of excellence for natural medicine and is respected for its internationally recognised academic teams and high calibre graduates. Endeavour offers Bachelor of Health Science degrees in Naturopathy, Nutritional and Dietetic Medicine, Acupuncture and Myotherapy, a fully online Bachelor of Complementary Medicine and  HLT52015 Diploma of Remedial Massage.

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