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Natural Health Heroes: Choosing a natural health career in response to adversity

Written by Endeavour College of Natural Health | Friday, 31 July 2020

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Twenty-year-old electrical apprentice Lachlan Mullen felt like he was invincible. That’s until a stage 4 lung cancer diagnosis forced him to completely rethink his life. Seven years on, he’s fit, healthy and empowering others to take control of their health through his own natural health career.

“I was carefree, working 45 hours per week, going to the gym and hanging out with my mates,” Lachlan said. “I’d been seeing my GP about a persistent cough for at least a year, but I didn’t think much of it until I started to vomit up my breakfast and blood. That’s when my Mum went to the doctor with me and demanded that they investigate further.”

The doctors found a six by 7.5-centimetre tumour in Lachlan’s lung. Unfortunately, cancer had spread to his abdomen, spine and brain. He was told there was no cure, and he had one to two years. In the next twelve months, he underwent a series of invasive treatments, including two brain surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation to prolong his life.

“I felt there were no grounds to tell me that I couldn’t beat it,” Lachlan said. “From the start, my attitude was that I’d be fine. My Mum was my biggest supporter. She researched everything we could do – both Western and natural medicine. She looked into every clinical trial and advocated with the oncologists on my behalf. She’s saved my life at least three times with her persistence.

“Along the way, I developed a passion for natural medicine. It has played such a big role in my longevity and vitality. I’ve always been into exercise, but changing my diet and lifestyle helped me to bounce back from each treatment,” Lachlan said. When he asked his naturopath for advice about studying Naturopathy, they recommended Endeavour. Lachlan visited the Adelaide campus and signed up that same day.

“Enrolling was a big deal because I was never academic, and I never thought I’d go to uni,” Lachlan said. “What I didn’t realise then is that Endeavour gave me a goal during really uncertain times. By studying Naturopathy, I was focused on what I wanted to do with my life and distracted from my treatment. I also met my partner Connie in the second semester, and we’ve been together ever since.


“I started my degree just months after brain surgery and radiation and just before a new clinical trial, which was based in Brisbane,” he said. “Once I got through that first messy semester, things got better. Then suddenly in my fourth year, I had a seizure, and the doctors found two spots in my brain were progressing. I had a third brain surgery mid-semester, went to Italy with Connie, and still managed to finish my assessments. My lecturers were always supportive.”

While he was studying, Lachlan spoke at a primary school leadership day. He was nervous, but he soon saw the impact his story had on the students. Around the same time, Lachlan’s mother met a professional mentor who wanted to help Lachlan. These two experiences led to many public speaking opportunities. Lachlan has now spoken to over 60 school, sports and community groups about resilience, gratitude and self-belief.

“When I speak, I often use a quote from Viktor E Frankl. Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. I chose to see my diagnosis as a way to bring new opportunities into my life.”

Despite some delays due to COVID-19, Lachlan and Connie now have the keys to their new clinic. They are determined to build Biophilia Health as a business focused on connecting with and empowering others.

Natural Health Heroes

Natural Health Heroes celebrates the wellness journeys of our alumni. From where they began to where they are today, we showcase our alumni’s unique stories, experiences and successes.

Interested in reading more Natural Health Heroes 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 Therapies and Chinese Medicine, Undergraduate Certificates, a Diploma of Health Science and massage courses.

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