New charity, Knight's Cabin, draws cancer survivors to Canmore
Organizers hope to host more retreats in future
A new federal charity based in Alberta is wrapping up its first retreat in Canmore this weekend.
Knight's Cabin aims to help cancer survivors learn to enjoy life after cancer by offering tips on diet, fitness, sleep and managing stress. It's designed to make sure survivors get support beyond just medical treatment — particularly in rural areas.
"The idea is to add social support and have a person close to them know and they're trying to do and help them in any way they can," said Knight's Cabin founder and president Lisa Belanger.
Belanger says the inspiration for the retreat came from the loss of a close friend, Jane Knight, who died of cancer at the age of 18 in 2004.
According to the retreat's website, more patients than ever are surviving intensive treatments but there's no help for the mental and physical impacts of cancer once the treatments end.
At Knight's Cabin, survivors can find counselling on physical activity and nutrition and also unplug and unwind.
About a dozen survivors came to the retreat this weekend.
One of them was Tracy Goertzen, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in October.
"It's a chance of 'Yeah, we need to heal our bodies,'" Goertzen said. "You know it's happened, where do we go from now?"
For now, it's uncertain whether the registered charity will host more retreats like this one in the future.
On Monday, organizers will meet to determine the effectiveness of the retreat and look at whether holding another is possible.
The hope is to be able to host one every year with more participants.