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Isaac Moel was diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer in April 2019 at the age of 23. He completed several major surgeries and dozens of rounds of chemotherapy to remove cancer from his colon, liver, lymph nodes, and peritoneum. Thankfully, he has come a long way since diagnosis, is feeling good overall, and currently has very minimal residual disease remaining. His current treatment plan should keep things stable with manageable side effects until more effective treatments or a cure is developed.
Prior to his diagnosis, Isaac had been worrking in organic farming and soil engineering while he finished his associates degree. After his mom talked their family into trying goat yoga in the Summer of 2019, he decided raising goats himself might help him keep a smile on his face and active during treatment as well as provide a possible avenue for employment in the future. This turned out to be an especially good decision when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and made it even more difficult to return to a traditional workplace due to his compromised immune system. Ever since, Isaac has been dreaming of turning his hobby farm (he also has chickens and a garden) into a small-business that would gain him greater independence and financial stability while also allowing the flexibility and safety needed as a cancer survivor. Which brings us full circle and to the creation of "Luna's Prairie"!
"Luna" means "moon goddess" in ancient mythology and so it's a very fitting name for "the queen" of Isaac's Nigerian Dwarf Dairy Goat herd on No Where Ave in Iowa City, Iowa, where he lives on 20 acres of a family farm, prairie, and wetlands. Luna and her twin sister, Eleanor, just delievered their first kids, which means he can start milking his goats and developing products to sell! Nigerian Dwarf goats produce some of the higest quality milk which can be used to make moisturizing soaps and lotions for sensitive skin as well as cheese and yogurt for sensitive digestive systems. These products became important to Isaac when dealing with skin and digestive side effects of the treatments he's received. It hasn't been easy to find quality, non-toxic, fragrance and dye-free options that actually work, feel and smell good...so he's decided he could make his own! He'll start out with skin products, including soap, lotion, shampoo bars, and bath bombs. He found lotion with CBD to be helpful for pain relief during treatment and hopes to develop an option for this use as well. It is his hope that by providing high-quality, local, sustainable, and healthy products anyone can enjoy and feel safe using, he can give back to the community that has already supported him through so much!
The really good news is that Isaac recently qualified for the Self-Employment Program through Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS). This program provides technical and financial assistance to help individuals achieve self-sufficiency and work at their optimum level by starting their own Iowa-based small-business. IVRS will provide support from a Business Development Specialist and up to $10,000 of financial assisstance based on a Dollar-for-Dollar Match (see more details about the program here: ivrs.iowa.gov). Isaac has already developed a business plan and created a logo and is ready to start purchasing equipment for milking and product development. He plans to start by selling products in local stores, markets, and online and as always will have lots of hands-on support from his family and close friends as needed to make his business a success!
This is where the rest of you come in! Please consider helping Isaac to kickstart his business with a direct financial crowdfunding contribution which can then be matched dollar-for-dollar by IVRS. 100% of your donation (minus credit card platform fees) will come back to Isaac (scroll to the bottom of the page for the link). You may also purchase a shirt or tote with the original "Luna's Praire" logo that Isaac designed himself and 40% of that purchase will come back to help Isaac achieve his self-employment dream!
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