News and Record – Healing Seekers earn recognition for work

Greensboro News and RecordBy Tina Firesheets, Staff Writer News and Record
Originally Published: July 7, 2009. 

Amy Greeson’s journey to Madagascar took her deep into the rainforest, where she saw rosy periwinkle, mantella frogs and geckos.

Greeson, a Thomasville pharmacist, travels the globe searching for traditional healers. Accompanied by a film crew, she also seeks the plants and animals used in healing practices. The footage is used to produce Healing Seekers, a multimedia project that produces Web and TV documentaries.

Their work recently earned top honors in the annual Telly Awards, an international awards program for film and video, which drew more than 13,000 entries this year. The Healing Seekers team won a silver award for a trailer promoting the Madagascar expedition. Other silver winners include Oprah’s Harpo Productions and HBO.

Sherrie McWhorter, whose company produced Greeson’s award-winning trailer, said it’s nice to win an award for a project like this.

“It has a larger meaning than perhaps something that has a short shelf life like a commercial,” McWhorter says. “We really respect her and the work that she’s doing.”

Much of modern medicine is derived from plants and animals found in the rainforest. Because of this, Greeson emphasizes the importance of its preservation in her documentaries. The trailer and the first Webisode of the Madagascar expedition can be seen on Greeson’s Web site. In it, Greeson talks about the rosy periwinkle, which has a flower that resembles an impatiens. It was one of the main things that drew Greeson to Madagascar.

“It’s where we’ve gotten two of our most powerful chemo drugs,” Greeson says.

The herb has been found effective in treating childhood leukemia and Hodgkin’s disease.

But Madagascar, an island nation in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Africa, is threatened with serious habitat loss because of civil war, Greeson says. It’s also considered a biodiversity hot spot, which refers to regions with extraordinarily high levels of plants and animals found only in one specific part of the world.

Although she seeks funding and sponsorships for her projects, Greeson says corporations now have less money to give to nonprofit organizations like hers. She has spent close to $90,000 of her own money to fund “Healing Seekers.”

“It’s worth it, though,” she says. “The rain forest is being destroyed at an alarming rate, and it’s possible the elders (the healing practitioners she met) won’t be alive much longer.”

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