That woman who never usually dances got up anyway to enjoy the music and shake her stress loose. That woman who’s never been to a gathering of like-minded woman celebrating life, and is scared she won’t feel comfortable, went anyway and felt right at home. That woman who hasn’t been that long out of treatment and is weighed down with tiredness went, enjoying the flexibility and ease of the event, and had an amazing time. That woman who is not afraid of new people or experiences went to simply to relax and catch up with old friends. That woman who has a skill, a talent, or a passion shared them generously with other women. Who are all these women? They are cancer survivors and instructors who were present at the 2015 Team Survivor Northwest Fitness Retreat in Port Townsend, WA.
The TSNW annual retreat has been happening for over ten years, but this year was extra special because Team Survivor Northwest celebrated its 20th anniversary. The weekend got off to a great start with an inspiring keynote address by stage 4 lung cancer survivor, Diana Lindsay and husband Kelley, authors of the new book, Something More Than Hope. It continued on Saturday with yoga, Zumba Gold, adult recess, Qi Gong, and much much more. Though it rained a little the sun came out just in time for our outdoor Chi Run/Walk and Photography classes. The National Park surrounding Fort Worden is the perfect setting to enjoy the outdoors and uncover plenty of wildlife and still life worthy of pictures.
While everyone enjoyed each other’s company and all the pampering, reflection and self-care that takes place at the retreat, the highlight of the weekend had to be the Marimba band who played for us after dinner Saturday evening. Yesango reside in Port Townsend, WA and were themselves celebrating their 20th anniversary. About ten or so people danced to the music throughout most of the performance. Others decided that tapping their feet was movement enough for them, however by the end every single woman in the room was on her feet and moving to the enticing marimba rhythms. It was a truly miraculous moment to witness. It is this unbridled joy and spontaneity that makes the Annual Team Survivor Northwest Retreat such a special, special event. Some topped off the evening at the beach bonfire, others went to the crafts room to explore their creativity, while still others retreated to their rooms to cuddle up with a good book or some long awaited sleep.
Sunday we had a few more classes and the pleasure of listening to the founder of Team Survivor Northwest, Dr. Julie Gralow, present an overview of cancer research and prevention during these past twenty years since the creation of TSNW. It was amazing to see just how many more women survivors there are now than there used to be. The women in the audience were just a sliver of the number of survivors in the world today thanks to cancer researchers and doctors like Dr. Gralow, and thanks to all the wonderful non-profit organizations and all the survivors, friends and family who have helped raise awareness and funding. This retreat is a truly not-to-be-missed event for any female cancer survivor who lives in the Seattle Area. If you have not had the opportunity to attend one of our retreats I highly recommend looking into it for next year.