We had the good fortune of connecting with April Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi April, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
“Empower survivors to take a holistic approach to healing” When I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013, I immediately went to Whole Foods, popped open a Natural Cure for Cancer book, and researched how to naturally heal from cancer. I bought every herb the book suggested. With my faith and herbs in place I was determined to fight and win. But without a proper plan in place my quest to heal thyself holistically failed. However, that did not stop me from introducing herbs into my daily plan. I realized that healing is trifold, mind, body, and spirit. All is needed to be in alignment for optimal results. By taking control of my health, I took my power back from cancer. I changed my eating habits by adding more veggies and herbs. I also discovered a love for fitness-walking, cross-training, yoga, dance fitness, and my new favorite-hiking! I will take outdoors over anything! Me and nature have a thing going on (giggle). Most importantly, let us not forget thy spirit. I spent a lot of time praying, meditating, and journaling. I am comforted knowing that my Creator loves and protects me daily.
My light began to shine brighter, and it did not go unnoticed by friends, family, and the community. I started to get calls from women impacted by cancer or their family members looking for support. My husband and I found ourselves offering support by attending doctors and hospital visits with patients and survivors. We provided guidance on how they could change their lifestyle and get in the driver’s seat of their cancer care. Additionally, we provided financial resources so they can obtain herbs, and nutritious foods.
As the need for support increased, I knew we would be able to make a bigger impact by starting a non-profit organization, and that’s how The Survivor’s Nest was birthed. The Survivor’s Nest is a 501c3 non-profit organization that offers direct support to women impacted with any type of cancer with a focus on health and wellness. We offer a safe space for them to heal and be nutured during and after their cancer journey. When they leave the nest, they are free to spread their wings and help others.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Giving birth to my daughters at the age 15 and 17, I was embarrassed, afraid, ashamed, and insecure. 15-year-old April could not understand how this could be her life. She knew that she had so much more to offer. Afterall she was smart, talented, and well loved. How could this be? You see the seeds that were planted in my womb at the tender age of 15 and 17 provided much strength, love, and compassion for years to come. I did not understand it then, but I understand it now. The highs and lows of being a teen-age mom was training to get me to where I am today.
The strength I needed to overcome the barriers of being a teenage Mom was the same strength I needed (and more) to fight for my life!
Breast cancer came knocking at my door at the age of 34. My husband and I was getting excited about being “young empty nesters” now here comes cancer. I didn’t want cancer to be a part of my life plan!? Geesh, can I just BREATHE!!
This is where the rebirth begins…
I have overcome and deflected numerous side effects that comes with undergoing cancer care. In fact, my medical team was astonished I did not encounter known side effects that comes with chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries. I am survivor of breast cancer and grateful to say that I am healthier than I have ever been.
The passion to heal naturally is embedded in my DNA. Similar to refusing cancer treatment, I also refused anesthetics during the birth of my children. I gave birth to both of my daughters naturally. Brave move-Yes! It was the beginning of this path that I am on now. It is so interesting how things come full circle. At first, being a young mom of two, the health crisis, all seemed like my life was set-up for failure. But it was the opposite; it was a divine gateway into my healing, recovery, freedom, and rebirth.
After years of making healing teas, tinctures and concoctions for my family. I have decided to master my skills, deepen my knowledge and become a Master Herbalist. I will act as a guide to help heal our community, mind, body, and spirit. My life’s journey led to the birth of “na’tea by nature”. With a focus on women’s health, na’tea by nature, specializes in organic, loose leaf herbal tea blends supporting wellness, changing lives, and making a positive impact. Our mission is to simply heal and provide guidance along your wellness journey.
My hope is that our herbal blends will help to encourage you to live a healthier lifestyle and continue to practice self-care + self-love.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m a nature lover! I love being outdoors in nature. My friends knows that an outdoor or fitness related activity will be included in the itinerary. A waterfall nature hike at Roswell Mills, a hike up Stone Mountain to take in the beautiful skyline of Atlanta. A stroll around the Beltline is another option to keep us moving while taking in the sites. We can even hit up Ponce City Market for a bite to eat.
For our dining options we would visit, Breakfast at Barneys (Atlanta), Trend Urban Café (Stone Mountain), Ms. Icey’s Kitchen and Bar (Decatur) and Fudo (Chamblee). APT 4B which is a savvy eclectic, intimate and funky restaurant in the heart of Buckhead Atlanta would be a target spot to visit for great vibes and music.
To unwind we will visit Iwi Fresh Garden Spa, and then head over to Bear and Honey Candle to make our very own soy candle, and recap the day wine tasting at the Cheatu Elan Resort and Winery.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The Survivor’s Nest adopted the motto, “Stronger Together”, and we believe in that wholeheartedly. With the support of our community, we’re able to positively impact the lives of many women impacted by cancer. With that being said, I would like to shoutout my amazing husband, Jerald Smith who’s always by my side and holding me down. My daughters who trusted me to be their mom at such at young age. We overcame many barriers together. I would like to give a special shoutout to Keniysha J Watts for referring us to Shoutout Atlanta! Keniysha is an incredible and inspiring woman who leads by example.