Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia hosted its first annual “SEARCH” Retreat for Cape Breton survivors, supporters and facilitators. Thirty-five women participated in the Retreat at Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort, at Indian Brook.
One woman from Baddeck said: “This place is a hidden treasure of peace and tranquility, a great retreat. Awesome..” Another woman put it this way: “Great experience, great staff and support. Very friendly”.
Volunteers and staff from Breast Cancer Action, NS worked for months to organize the retreat and fund the retreat with donors including:
The Good Health Festival Society; Just Us Coffee Roasters Coop; Rainbow Farms; Pete’s Fruitique, Bedford; Community Health Boards from around Cape Breton Island; and others.
BCANS came with their own program agenda with Cabot Shores adding some programming that included a night walk along a trail lit by candles and a bonfire;
Morning meditation, and Morning Qi Gong outside on the deck:
As one woman put it: “Very relaxing, very uplifting. Perfect spot for a retreat – relaxing with nature. Paul & Barbara made us feel so welcome. The exercises (Qi Gong) and meditation session Barbara did with us were a bonus.”
A guided hike along the Red Island Trail:
As one woman said: “The Saturday hike was beautiful!”
Beach combing along St.Ann’s Bay:
and even mushrooming:
Cabot Shores also supplied all the meals, including a festive Taco Bar on the first night, and planked salmon, prepared over fire, on the next night, with greens from our organic garden. Special diets, such as vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free were also accommodated.
As one woman put it: “Excellent! Great job! An option to participate in a vegan menu”.
It was even mild enough for the women to have a picnic:
Breast cancer survivors gathered in “clans” and had the opportunity to create strong connections with each other – an important ingredient to surviving and thriving with a breast cancer diagnosis.
As one woman said: “The scenery along with the calmness was the perfect setting for a retreat to relax and connect with each other….”
And another: “The location was wonderful, very beautiful and calming.”
and even enjoyed a Kitchen Party/Ceilidh with Baddeck fiddler Rosier Mackenize and guitarist Johnny Muise. They played celtic sets and performed some original music as well.
The weekend had poignant moments of young women faced with diagnosis interacting with women who’ve survived for 20 years, raised families and reached out to others. One young woman arrived with a frown on her face and said she was also experiencing back pain and anxiety . She left more relaxed and with a smile on her face. Asked: why the change.
She said: “it’s about connection and not feeling so alone with it all.” and a woman from Sydney said: “: “Beautiful place inside and out…Thank you so much for your generosity”…while a third exclaimed: “One of the best weekends I have ever experienced! Loved it!”
Here is the BCANS team which was generous enough and skilful enough to produce this “SEARCH RETREAT”.
“Thank you – this experience has been invaluable to me. It gave me hope, comfort and confidence.”
Next retreat is scheduled for October 25-27, 2013.
And be sure to check out the music video of Rosie Mackenzie and Johnny Muise live at Cabot Shores, they will be back.