COURAGEOUS - Red Deer resident Dian Layton recently posed for a photo before leaving for Mexico to undergo treatment for breast cancer. Layton

Well-known local children’s author embarks on cancer battle

Dian Layton relying on faith and community through health journey

  • Mar. 30, 2016 2:42 p.m.

Red Deer resident Dian Layton is the kind of woman who has always been working hard to reach out and help others.

Well-known for her Seeker series of books for children, the popular author, playwright, storyteller, wonderfully creative director and dedicated church leader has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and it marked a significant turning point in her perspective.

Not only was she forced to deal with the news, but she knew she was embarking on a journey where she would need help and support.

“I’ve got a great family around me,” she said, reflecting on the past while as she had to come to terms with the diagnosis and consider treatment options.

“I’m so very, very thankful for my church family at ‘Home Church’ (formerly Word of Life) here in Red Deer and how they continue to pray for me and support me through this journey.

“I would say that my faith, and the scriptures that are inside of me, have come to whole new level. Now it’s like, I need that healing. One of the scriptures that has comforted me through this is Psalm 23. It says, ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, thou are with me’,” she added. “This has the shadow of death. It’s aggressive. It could kill me. So as I’ve prayed, I’ve thought, Lord, can I walk around the valley – maybe tunnel under it,” she said with a chuckle. “Maybe take a plane over it?

“But it says, ‘Yea, though I walk through’. He’ll be with me and He will comfort me. So I know that God is with me. And there are many people who love me and who are praying for me.”

She said the outpouring of support that has been shown even via facebook has been amazing.

“I feel so loved and so encouraged,” she said. “I don’t feel alone in this at all.

“Perhaps one of the good things that will come from this is that people will know that there is hope. There is a place and it’s actually called Hope4Cancer.”

As to current treatment, she is now at that clinic in Mexico for three weeks. Layton became aware of the facility after her husband Barry ran into a friend who filled him in about the breakthrough methods of treatment that are offered there. She also has a friend who has undergone treatment at the same facility.

“She’s had a huge turnaround,” explained Dian, adding the woman wasn’t granted much hope from doctors prior to embarking on the Hope4Cancer round of treatment. “So I’m reading about it and thinking about it, and the more I’m looking at Hope4Cancer, the more it made sense.

“Their protocols are focused on repairing and stimulating the immune system as well as targeting the cancer cells,” she said. “The cancer treatments target the cancer. And the side effects are minimal.”

There are extensive follow-ups as well.

A facebook page called Healing for ‘HuggaWugga’ – an affectionate name she’s known by via all her work with kids – has been set up as a means to help raise funds for the treatment.

Also, the page is the ideal place for friends and supporters to post words of encouragement for Dian.

“I want people to know that when they have cancer that doesn’t mean it’s the end of their story. There are places like Hope4Cancer. And there is a Christian community that will stand with you.

“No one is guaranteed a tomorrow. My pastor recently preached about the importance of living every moment to the fullest. He said, ‘Life is short and eternity is forever’.”

According to her facebook page, Hope4Cancer Institute is a full service inpatient treatment center for cancer patients located in Baja California, Mexico.

“Hope4Cancer has treatment options for patients with all types of cancers, from early to advanced stages of the disease. They combine the latest non-toxic, evidence-based medicine that selectively targets cancer cells, with a sophisticated whole body cancer treatment program.”

Those interested in helping out financially can donate via PayPal at; e-Transfer at; cheques/cash may be given to Dian or family members by mail to Dian Layton, 86 Kennings Cresc. in Red Deer.

The postal code is T4P 3M9.

Meanwhile, Dian has had a profound impact on both the local community, as well as youth around the world. All seven Seeker stories have been released in one volume and each audio music CD has either been nominated or won a Covenant Music Award, which are the leading national awards for Canadian Christian Music.

The original idea for Seeker came to her during her own spiritual quest back in the 1970s, and the stories have garnered international acclaim for their remarkable insight not to mention terrific, fast-paced adventurous sensibilities.

It was while working in Vancouver she became a Christian after feeling a profound emptiness for years. A journey of seeking was to follow, and that’s when the music really started. She also started working with children soon after. Throughout the Seeker series, Seeker consistently faces dangers from menacing dragons as his adventures unfold.

The awful dragons represent things like anger, fear or abuse. But victory comes as Seeker gets to know the King who wants to see people free, at peace and joyful.

As for how she’s feeling these days, she again emphasizes the core importance of her Christian faith.

“I’ve always been aware of how short life is,” she said. “And because I’ve been telling stories and singing songs and doing this (ministry) for 40 years, I’ve seen a lot of people grow up. A lot of the children that I was a pastor for – now they have children,” she said with a laugh. “So I know the importance of investing in people. That’s the most rewarding thing any of us can do.”

The word ‘cancer’ can have an influence on a person’s overall perspective as well, she said.

“What have we done that will last?”

Check out ‘Healing for HuggaWugga’ on facebook for more information.

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