Investing in Health: Waterfront stem-cell therapy in Thailand
“Open your mind: we are going to live far longer than you imagine.” Inspired by the results of stem-cell therapy on himself and the father of his friend Mel Gibson, William Johnson has created RenewyouAsia and the Demarest Clinic, which offer world-class treatments while guests stay in a luxurious island retreat near Phuket and even on a superyacht.
RenewyouAsia packages are held on a private island near Phuket
There is a paradigm shift coming and it’s going to change the way you think about your life. We are the first generation to truly begin unravelling the mystery of ageing. Many sophisticated researchers now consider ageing to be a disease and one that is treatable. Open your mind: we are going to live far longer than you imagine.
Western medicine is reactive and treats symptoms as they arise. Regenerative medicine restores the body to a previous state, younger and healthier, by supporting the body’s own healing mechanisms.
I discovered regenerative medicine because I had to. I caught a rare virulent antibiotic-resistant pneumonia. I didn’t know how sick I was. Soon I was waking up from a dead sleep out of breath. It was terrifying. I went to the hospital and learned I was in late-stage heart failure. The virus had destroyed much of my heart tissue.
Six weeks of intravenous (IV) antibiotics wiped out the virus. I was put on seven medications and told I had about 1½ years to live. Think about trying to explain that to a 13-year-old daughter. Absolutely unacceptable prognosis.
This being 2010, stem-cell therapy was still experimental. I travelled to the Bahamas and had my own stem cells derived from fat tissue cultivated and injected into my heart wall. I began to recover. My heart function was still impaired, but I was no longer dying anytime soon.
The regeneration inspired me to switch careers and start making feature films. I became friends with Mel Gibson, which fortuitously led to my making Hacksaw Ridge. He directed the movie, which received two Academy Awards in 2017 and four other nominations including for Best Picture.
Mel treated his 92-year-old wheelchair-bound and suffering father with stem cells. If you don’t find my story compelling, I suggest you watch Mel’s interview on the Joe Rogan show on YouTube. Mel’s dad only passed away last year, at the age of 101.
MOVING TO THAILAND
I came to Thailand as an antidote to Hollywood, bought a yacht, began enjoying the almost ethereal lifestyle that entails and tried to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. As my parents were both incredibly successful, I lived under a big shadow. Making movies was amazing, but it still felt like a hobby. I wanted something more meaningful, something that could really change the quality of people’s lives.
RenewyouAsia packages include the option of a night on the 106ft Demarest
Thailand’s medical system is world class and there are many clinics doing amazing work with stem cells. I became so interested in this space that I interviewed most of the research doctors, visited their clinics and decided to try some of the new treatments. I had epic results.
My memory, cognitive function (certainly dampened by those years in Hollywood), arthritis and Type 2 diabetes all improved noticeably. I have become passionate about regenerative medicine. I have immersed myself in the research. It’s not a job – it’s my passion.
The state of regenerative medicine now is like the internet in 1996. Even though many people know about it, they just don’t think it’s necessary for them to embrace it and try the treatments. Most Western doctors still think of it as inconsistent and unproven. In a sense, they are partially right. With the current science, about two-thirds of clients have good to excellent results, while a third have little to no results.
My passion is to figure out why and continue to improve efficacy. I can’t imagine anything more important than extending people’s health span and giving them more time to enjoy the things they are passionate about.
RenewyouAsia and the Demarest Clinic in Phuket are dedicated to the belief that chronic illness should be cured at the cellular level, not treated for the symptoms it produces. Our international board of research doctors and dedicated research staff endeavour to stay current in this rapidly evolving field. Our treatments are safe and effective. I am living proof. My heart function is almost normal and at 58, I feel 35. I am living my best life, as I plan to for decades to come.
My wish for you is that you begin to manage your health assets with the same diligence as you manage your financial assets. You will find that stem cell therapy is an excellent investment.
WILLIAM D. JOHNSON
William Demarest Johnson is the CEO and founder of RenewyouAsia and the Demarest Clinic in Thailand. He is the youngest son of Charles Johnson, the multibillionaire founder and majority shareholder of the Franklin Templeton Mutual Funds and owner of the San Francisco Giants baseball team. After graduating from UC Berkeley with a BA in History, William Johnson – better known as Bill – followed the family legacy and began working on Wall Street, spending 25 years as a retail broker. Johnson then started producing movies as the founder and chairman of Demarest Films, which produced over 20 feature films including Hacksaw Ridge and The Night Manager. After retiring from producing films, he became a full-time venture capitalist under the Demarest Media banner.
Note: This Column originally appeared in Yacht Style Issue 60
The Zeavola Resort and the Phi Phi Islands play host to the second edition of the three-day event, which features 100 guests, 14 yachts and a packed calendar of watersports, beach barbecues and parties.