Breast cancer survivors gather in Corner Brook
Retreat offers therapeutic, medical, educational sessions
Almost two hundred cancer survivors have gathered in Corner Brook this weekend for the 14th annual Newfoundland and Labrador breast cancer retreat.
The weekend is an opportunity for women from communities across the province to connect as survivors, to share stories and have a little fun.
Joan Aucoin is one of 179 people taking part in the retreat.
Aucoin is a breast cancer survivor from St. John's who became involved with the retreat in 1999, when she was diagnosed.
She said she hasn't missed this weekend in 12 years.
"A lot of women when they're first diagnosed, think they're the only one with breast cancer ... until you get into a room of 200 women and then you realize you're not," Aucoin said.
"Every women in this room can lift your spirit in some way, they can help you in some way, whether it be with your treatments, your diagnosis and your future."
Paula Tessier is the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's community relations officer in the province.
She said the retreat offers therapeutic, medical and educational sessions for anyone who's been diagnosed with breast cancer.
"We look at your physical well-being, your emotional well-being, what you need for support," said Tessier.
"We offer so many different elements for post-diagnosis that we hope that the women attending can fill a need that they have."
Tessier said the women network with other women who can support them through the chemotherapy treatments and doctor's appointments. She added most of them are breast cancer survivors who want to give back.
"It's a real sisterhood with the women that are coming," said Tessier.
"And for those that are recently diagnosed, they may feel tentative and nervous because they don't know anybody. Within 10 to 15 minutes, they have already adopted, I don't know how many sisters, but by the end of the weekend, it's a big family."