Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can this cancer retreat program benefit me?
At a Healing Odyssey cancer retreat program, it’s all about you. Our goal is to meet the individual needs of each woman. Regardless of your prognosis, type of cancer, or life situation, we will provide you with practical tools to help you cope effectively with your challenges so you can keep moving forward with your life. You will have fun and escape the pressures of everyday life in a serene environment, have new experiences, feel the positive energy of group support from women who understand, and make new friends. You will laugh, and cry, and leave “different.” You will return home refreshed, and re-energized with renewed strength and a sense of purpose. Perhaps most importantly, your experiences at the therapeutic cancer recovery program will remain with you, and benefit you, long after the weekend has ended
How many women participate in the cancer retreat program?
At each cancer retreat program there are 30 participants. Typically led by an oncology nurse specialist and an oncology social worker, a staff of 5 to 10 volunteers, made up of nurses, therapists, and specially trained camp counselors and activities staff—many of whom are cancer survivors provide a medically safe and psychologically supportive environment.
How can I get to the cancer retreat program if I am not able to drive?
When you register, everyone is encouraged to carpool to the cancer retreat program. Carpools facilitate friendships and assist those who are not able to drive. Healing Odyssey is not responsible for transportation. Contact us if you feel that transportation will be a barrier to your attendance and we will try to assist you.
What if my cancer prognosis is not good? Am I still a “cancer survivor?”
We are survivors from the moment of our diagnosis, regardless of the prognosis or the outcome, and every survivor lives with the possibility of recurrence. Healing Odyssey assists every woman with cancer with whatever challenges she is facing. Each person makes the decision to attend based on her own needs. However, if you are in active treatment, you will need your doctor’s release to attend, and our cancer professionals will consult with you if you have special needs. You need to be able to walk unassisted and provide basic care for yourself throughout the weekend; we will assist in any way we can to ensure a successful experience.
Are most participants still in recovery, or are they long-term survivors?
While the make-up of each cancer retreat program is slightly different, typically, some women are still actively in treatment, most are survivors of between one to five years, and some are long-term survivors. Survivorship is a continuum with no closure; we face different issues at different times.
What are the age ranges of participants?
Typically, some participants are in their 20’s and 30’s, some are in their 60’s and 70’s. Most participants are somewhere in the middle range. Healing Odyssey works with other cancer organizations and agencies to encourage participation by women of all ages, ethnicity and cultural backgrounds. Three-day cancer retreat programs are conducted in English.
I am ready to move on from cancer. Isn’t the theme of the weekend going to be “cancer”?
While cancer is the common thread that brings participants to the cancer retreat program, what bonds us is the qualities we share—strength, humor, wisdom, kindness and support. Our goal is to help survivors’ transition away from their cancer experience, and back to living fully. The focus of the weekend is you—the exploration of your emotional, psychological and spiritual healing, the release of your fears, and the acquisition of tools that will enable you to move forward with your life.
What are the sleeping arrangements?
Participants and staff are housed in dormitories, which fosters new friendships, support and fun. Dorms are simple and clean. You will need to bring your own blankets and sheets or sleeping bag, and pillows, and towels. There are shared bathrooms and hot showers in each dormitory, with privacy doors and curtains. A complete list of things to bring will be given to you in your registration packet.
What type of food is available, and where is it served?
Participants and staff eat together at communal meals. Food is freshly prepared on-site. It is simple, tasty, plentiful and nutritious. If you have special dietary considerations, let us know at the time of registration; every attempt will be made to accommodate your needs by the camp facility staff.
How often are cancer retreat programs conducted, and how long have you been holding them?
Cancer retreat programs are held twice a year, in the spring and fall. Our first cancer retreat program was held in May of 1994; since then, nearly 1,000 women have participated.
My cancer treatment has cost our family so much. I really can’t afford the registration fee.
FEES HAVE BEEN WAIVED FOR 2019. If you are having trouble paying the $100 fee, please call or email us to discuss.