NEW! The Holiday season is the perfect time to focus on your beautiful essence. Body image can wreak havoc during this joyous time of the year. Understanding and being authentic with exactly how you feel about your body is a first step to gaining a positive body image. Join me for this interactive session to explore the many tools that will support you along your journey to self-love, positive body image and ultimately a healthy lifestyle. (and an AWESOME holiday season)
Wednesday, November 1st
6:00PM - 7:30PM
Registration HERE - No Charge, Wind River is covering your workshop fee :)
Seventeen years ago, atop a remote mountain in Wyoming's Wind River range, Shannon and I began a trip that would change our lives forever. We had recently left our corporate roles, driven countless miles, and embarked on a week-long backpacking expedition into the wilderness. This adventure was an opportunity to breath deeper, free ourselves of our previous lives and contemplate where we wanted our life journey to take us next. As the sun set at an elevation of 11,000 feet, we were overwhelmed by the profound power and healing offered by places like this. We yearned to share this sense of serenity, connection, and renewal, especially with the cancer survivor community we had become a part of following Shannon's battle with breast cancer several years prior. It was in that transcendent moment, perched on the edge of a cliff, that a daring dream was born.
Our dream was to recreate as much of our backcountry experience as possible. We aimed to harness the calming influence of the natural world, the freedom from the constraints of time, the benefits of healthy living, exercise, restful sleep, and the enchantment of serendipitous encounters with fellow adventurers on the trail. But there was one twist – we would offer all of this on our picturesque property in the foothills of North Carolina, and without the backpacks!
Filled with excitement, we dedicated the following weeks and months to shaping our vision and discovering our new purpose in life. The challenge remained – what should we call this endeavor? After several attempts and brainstorming sessions, it became clear that the perfect name was "Wind River," a tribute to the breathtaking location that had ignited our inspiration. From that mountain peak, our vision swiftly evolved into the inaugural Wind River Cancer Wellness Retreat in 2007 with the tag line “…where hearts and minds meet”.
When we started, resources for cancer support, wellness, and survivorship were scarce. Our initial goal was simple yet profound: to create a haven for those confronting cancer—a sanctuary where they could calm their nervous system, learn tools for self-care and forge deep connections with fellow survivors in just four days.
But how to bring the magic of our backcountry experiences to cancer survivors? We would establish a nonprofit so no survivor would ever have to pay for a retreat and we would begin to morph our very rough property in Western North Carolina into a cozy haven featured winding trails, inviting hammocks, a babbling creek, a soothing waterfall, and crackling campfires under the starry night sky. While we left the backpacks behind, we designed a retreat program with ample opportunities for relaxation, education, connecting with nature, storytelling, and the space to form lifelong friendships.
Our concept was to offer our survivors a variety of tools and techniques to help decrease their anxiety and feelings of powerlessness and increase their feelings of connection and control over at least a portion of their mental and physical health. The idea was to empower them to become more involved in their own health and wellness.
Over the years, our offerings continued to expand, thanks to our talented team of wellness practitioners - people who also believed in our mission of supporting cancer survivors by empowering them with knowledge and experiential learning. Tai Chi, Healing Touch, nutrition, yoga, meditation, writing, art therapy, drumming and forest bathing—these were just a few of the programs we offered during retreats, and later through our Outreach programs and offsite retreats. This variety of techniques enabled us to tailor our retreats and programs for the men and women we served. We embraced individuals of diverse ages, backgrounds and life experiences as well as different cancer types and different stages of cancer. We believe this model is as valid today as it was when we began 17 years ago.
Behind the scenes, volunteers consistently lent their hands, moving stones and earth, crafting heartfelt care packages, and adding their energy in countless ways. And of course the incredible and unwavering TLC and care provided by our teammate Cheryl Lecroy has been a huge factor to the healings of so many of survivors! In addition, we owe a deep debt of gratitude to our incredible supporters and sponsors who generously allowed us to offer our Wind River Retreats and Programs at absolutely no cost to survivors over these 17 years.
As time passed, we also began witnessing the enchanting phenomenon of “Wind River Magic” taking shape as many of our survivors paid it forward by establishing nonprofit organizations, pursuing careers in healthcare and wellness, discovering their true callings, and leading fulfilling lives grounded in gratitude and a commitment to the greater good. This is what we consider the true legacy of Wind River to be.
It’s been a wild ride to be sure! There were lots of twists and turns, highs and lows, uncertainty (especially in the beginning) and adventure, but it always came back to the simple question before each retreat, “what would best serve this particular group of survivors”. We are proud of the services we have provided to the cancer community and humbled by the friendships we’ve made but after dedicating over 17 years to supporting cancer survivors we recognize the need to step back, prioritize our own health, and see where our life journey takes us next. We will continue nurturing our current friendships and supporting the cancer community in a variety of ways but we will be concluding the operation of our current programs and newsletter at the end of this year.
The good news (I should really say “wonderful news”) is that over the past decade, there has been an explosion of programs and interest in supporting survivor’s self-care, both during and after treatments. We couldn't be happier about this trend and knowing that our community of survivors will have the resources they need makes it easier for us to step back and let others continue our mission.
Words alone cannot convey the profound gratitude that fills our hearts. Our gratitude extends not only to the many survivors who have touched our lives but also to everyone who has become a part of the Wind River Family. We extend our deepest thanks for your open hearts and the friendships you've shared. While our initial mission was to support OTHERS on their journey, OUR lives were enriched with love, healing, and inspiration from each of you as well.
We wish everyone of our Wind River Family calmness, joy and an abundance of "trail magic" in all the adventures that lie ahead for you.
With the utmost gratitude and love,
Dave and Shannon
Co-Founders of Wind River Cancer Wellness Retreats & Programs
Offering Retreats and Outreach Programs to survivors at no cost to them since 2007
Top of Form
Healing Mandala Workshop presented in partnership with Wind River Cancer Wellness Programs. We are excited to offer this workshop for cancer community members of the Wind River family. Space is limited so please register today.
When life feels like “too much” for us, when emotions or physical sensations overwhelm us, it is helpful to have some support to assist us in being in the here and now. We can use a strong energetic container to hold us, to hold our emotions, to help us hold it all so that we are able to be present with our feelings in a way that is more bearable for us. We can let a mandala hold it for or with us. We can let the Earth and nature hold us and our feelings. We can ask the Divine, by whatever name we use, to support us. And we can invite our community to hold us as well. The support of a strong container allows us to be more present with ourselves, our bodies, our emotions, so we can become aware of what our soul wants us to know so we can heal and grow.
Using mandala creation, grounding activities, guided visualization and discussion, we will explore the wisdom your body and emotions have for you.
Register HERE - No Charge: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/keeping-your-center-in-times-of-change-tickets-735672314697?aff=oddtdtcreator
WHEN: Sunday, October 29, 2023
2:00PM - 4:00 PM EST (1:00PM - 3:00PM CST / 11:00AM - 1:00PM PST)
WHERE: Virtual Workshop hosted on Zoom