It is time for our annual Fitness Retreat, a weekend filled with friendship and empowerment! Our theme this year is Camp Thrive, and we are looking forward to gathering around the campfire together and strengthening each other in a way that makes our annual retreat one of the most beloved events of the year. The retreat takes place at beautiful IslandWood on Bainbridge Island.

The event includes powerful speakers, unique fitness classes of all intensities, and special opportunities to bond with new and old friends like we are back at 6th-grade camp (except with warm rooms and high-quality food)! Check out the retreat details here, including how to prepare, the event schedule, and speaker & instructor bios. We have already filled the retreat location to capacity and there is now a waitlist, which you are welcome to join.

preparing for your stay

Click on a category to read more details.

REGISTRATION COST OPTIONS & REFUNDS

The Fitness Retreat is a very special weekend and we do not want the cost to prohibit anyone from attending, so we offer 3 price options. If you are financially able to cover the actual cost of your room and board ($325), we appreciate it. If this option is more than your means allow, please either select the discounted rate of $160 or check the box to request a scholarship and we will contact you privately. If you have the means to cover a scholarship for someone in need, please consider bringing the joy of the retreat into another woman’s life through a donation! Thank you!

Already registered, but need to cancel? Since February 12th, we have already committed to our headcount based on your registration. We are paying $325 for your room and meals even if you cannot come, so we cannot offer a refund after February 12. The exception to this is if someone can take your spot by February 28th, in which case, the cancellation fee after February 12th is just $20. To inquire about this, please email operations@teamsurvivornw.org.

REGISTRATION STEPS

There are 3 steps to registering:

  1. Click this TeamUp registration link and then “book now”. You need to be a Team Survivor member to attend, so if you aren’t a member yet, the system will lead you through that process. (There is no cost for membership.)
  2. After you register on TeamUp, you will receive an email that will give you a link to finish reserving your spot. You will choose your sessions and select the payment option you can afford ($325 / $160 / free).
  3. When you submit that form, you will see a link to sign the waiver for IslandWood, which is required and will provide the location with information about food allergies, etc.

Then get ready for an unforgettable (some have said “life-changing”) event!

SICK PROTOCOL

Masks are not required, but you are welcome to wear one if you wish. To keep each other safe, please stay home if you have symptoms, are sick (COVID or otherwise!) or have been exposed to COVID. As a reminder of TSNW COVID policy:

· Exposure: Must be 5 days since exposure and symptom-free (without medication) to attend. Must wear a reminder mask until day 10. Because COVID can be asymptomatic, TSNW encourages testing on day 5 after exposure, regardless of symptoms.

· Positive or symptomatic for COVID: Must be 10 days since the positive test or onset of symptoms and no current symptoms. (This is 5 days longer than the CDC recommends in an effort to be extra cautious.)

What to pack

In addition to your usual overnight items, please make sure you have the following:

  • Water bottle
  • Exercise clothes and shoes
  • Change of warm clothes for the evening
  • Rain gear (water-resistant coat with hood, boots, optional umbrella) – especially if you signed up for an outdoor session
  • Pajamas
  • Yoga mat with name on it (for all classes, not just yoga. Please plan to carry this with you to all of your fitness classes. We will have a few extra if you do not own a yoga mat, but we do not have enough for all attendees.)
  • Small hand towel (for cardio classes)
  • Layers for warmth
  • Optional: If you are taking a class like Strength Training, you can bring your own weights (a limited number of 1-8lb weights will also be provided)
  • Optional: a favorite game to play with smaller groups on Saturday evening
  • Optional: cash or card if you would like to purchase wine or beer on Saturday evening (no outside food or drinks allowed)

Please note:

  • All bedding and bath towels will be provided by IslandWood.
  • IslandWood highly recommends that you keep your packing to one small overnight bag. You will be required to carry your bag to your rooms so please do not weigh yourself down with too much stuff. (There will be carts available for those who have difficulty carrying things.)
  • Due to the sensitivities of those who have gone through chemo treatment, Team Survivor has a policy that prohibits scented products in order to provide a comfortable, scent-free environment for all members. Please do NOT pack scented products. Thank you!
  • DO NOT bring food or alcohol, which IslandWood does not allow. IslandWood is providing us with plenty of food (full meals and snacks) and a cash bar on Saturday evening. They are excellent at accommodating for specific dietary limitations.
When to arrive & driving directions to Islandwood

The address for IslandWood is 4450 Blakely Avenue NE, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110. Check-in for the event is from 10:00-10:45 on Saturday morning (new members can check in as early as 9:30 for the 10am new member social). Please plan accordingly and do not arrive before 10:00 unless you are a volunteer or new member.

Plan for your ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge. Click here to see the ferry schedule. The ferry ride is 35 minutes. We recommend new members take the 7:55am ferry (to attend the 10am new member social), and returning members take the 8:55 ferry. It is a 15-minute drive from the ferry terminal to IslandWood. You must come by car or carpool as Uber/Lift is not an option there and the buses do not run on Saturday. During registration, you will have a chance to sign up to be on a carpool list, if desired.

DIRECTIONS FROM SEATTLE:

Take the Washington State Ferry to Bainbridge Island from the Coleman Dock at: 801 Alaskan Way Pier 52 Seattle, WA 98104.
From the Bainbridge Ferry Terminal:

  • Drive up the hill from the ferry to the second stoplight, turn left onto Winslow Way.
  • At the next 4-way stop, turn right onto Madison Avenue and continue to the next 4-way stop at Wyatt Way.
  • Turn left onto Wyatt Way.
  • Continue on Wyatt, rounding the back of Eagle Harbor (water will be to your left).
  • The road will fork; take the right fork up the hill, following the signs to Port Blakely. You are now on Blakely Avenue.
  • Continue straight on Blakely Avenue. In approximately 1 mile you’ll see Blakely Elementary School on your left.
  • IslandWood is at the first driveway on your left after Blakely Elementary School. Turn left into IslandWood driveway. The street address is 4450 Blakely Avenue NE.
  • Continue on the wooded driveway up the hill. Bear left to the parking area. Follow pathway and signs to the Welcome Center.
Check-in/Check-out process

It takes approximately 10-15 minutes to get from the ferry terminal to IslandWood. You can arrive at IslandWood anytime between 10:00am-10:45am. We recommend taking the 8:55 ferry (unless you are coming early to volunteer or attend the new member social). If you arrive too early, just stop for coffee in the cute town of Bainbridge Island before you come to IslandWood.

When you arrive at IslandWood, you will park your car to the left and follow signs on foot to the Welcome Center. PLEASE NOTE: We cannot check into our rooms early this year. Please leave your items in your locked car for now and you will have time to retrieve them later and check-in to your room. Once at the Welcome Center, you will check-in with Team Survivor staff and volunteers, receiving a bag filled with some important items for your weekend.

When we are allowed to check in to the rooms, you will have a break between sessions to go get your bags (you are welcome to use the carts). Room keys will be handed out at the Welcome Center (please hold on to these as Islandwood will charge for lost keys). Then you will be able to leave your overnight bags in your rooms before your next session.

Room check-out is Sunday, March 3, at 9:00 am. Bring your keys (very important!) and your bags to the Welcome Center. You will have time to put your items in your car and then join more sessions!

If you would like to leave a phone number for your family to contact you in case of emergency, the number at Islandwood is 206-855-4300. If you have any difficulties during your stay, you can also call Jennefer (TSNW Executive Director) at 917-673-9712 or Beatriz (TSNW Operations Manager) at 425-999-9015.

schedule

Below is the schedule for the weekend. Click on the break-out sessions to see options.

SATURDAY, MARCH 2ND

10:00 - 10:45 Check-in to Event / Light Refreshments

Check-in with TSNW staff/volunteers, then enjoy some light refreshments and mingling.

10:00 - 10:30 new member social

Is this your first TSNW Retreat? You are not alone! Join us for light refreshments and a chance to socialize with other new members before we kick off the weekend.

11:00 - 11:10 Welcome: "Thriving. Together"

Outgoing TSNW Executive Director, Jennefer Boyer, will kick-off the event with a quick welcome message before introducing our keynote speaker.

11:10 - 12:00 KeyNote Speaker: Dr. Hannah Hunter, MD, "A Trailmap For Resilience"

“Resilience” is more than a feeling of strength or recovery – it is a dynamic process that you can actively participate in during and after cancer treatment. Dr. Hunter will describe ongoing research about factors that influence physical and psychological resilience. She will highlight the importance of an individualized approach and community in developing healthy habits to thrive together.

12:00 - 12:15 Annual Group Photo

Be part of our annual retreat memory, all together in one room! (We will give you time to step out of the area if you do not wish to be in the photo.)

12:15 - 12:45 IslandWood Tour

First time at IslandWood? Need a refresher? Join us for a short walk around the IslandWood campus to get your bearings before breakout sessions start.

12:45 - 1:45 Lunch

Join us in the Dining Hall for a delicious, nutritious meal!

2:00 - 2:50 Breakout Session 1

Dr. Sarah Court, PT, DPT, E-RYT:  How Much Exercise is Enough? How Much Exercise is Too Much?  Navigating how, when, and what kind of exercise to do during and after treatment can be daunting. Exercise of all kinds has research-based proof to increase survivorship, but it can be hard to know where to start, what to look out for, and how hard we should push ourselves (or if we should be pushing ourselves at all). This session will focus on breaking down different types of exercise, what each type is good for, and when you might want to focus on them. We’ll also discuss injury prevention, menopause (medical or otherwise) implications, and resources that you can access when you’re back home.

Michelle Babb, MS, RS, CD:  Anti-Inflammatory Eating & Mindful Food Preparation
Prolonged, systemic inflammation taxes the immune system and makes us more susceptible to chronic disease. In this session, you’ll learn what foods reduce inflammation and how to design your pantry in a way that supports healthy, clean eating. You’ll also get practical tips to make planning and preparation quick and easy.

Karen Bierwagen: Compression– Everything you want to know, but didn’t know who to ask! In this session, we’ll discuss:
– Lymphedema – what is it?
– Compression garments show and tell – review of different garment styles
– Lymphedema Treatment Act (now in effect as of 1/1/24) – how it may affect you

2:50 - 3:20 Room Check-in

Please collect your items from your car, get your key from the front desk, and put your belongings in your room. Room building and room number are on the back of your nametag.

3:30 - 4:20 Breakout session 2

Art Therapy for Relaxation & Stress Reduction, Bonnie Walchuk and Katie Kapugi. Learn about the biopsychosocial therapeutic benefits of art making. In this session, you’ll experience mind-body art techniques for increasing relaxation, improving health, and reducing symptoms of stress and pain. Enjoy an intro to art therapy, a brief guided imagery meditation, followed by reflective art-making, supportive techniques, and group discussion. No art experience is needed to participate. Please bring your curious and experiential selves and a personal journal with you to write in if you prefer. All art materials will be provided.

Forest Bathing (Low intensity), Ahna Machan. This Japanese relaxation practice (“shinrin yoku”) encourages quiet presence among the trees, observing nature while breathing deeply. Ahna will share the background and health benefits of Forest Bathing and guide participants on a calm walk outdoors. Toward the end of the session, participants will gather to reflect on their experience and share a time of connection. Forest bathing can help you de-stress and boost health and wellbeing. It is a low-intensity exercise with no predetermined distance. Members are encouraged to listen to their bodies and take breaks as needed.

Vinyasa Yoga (Moderate Intensity), Michelle Tibbs: Vinyasa Yoga connects movement and breath to allow practitioners to flow smoothly between poses. Center yourself and explore a variety of yoga poses for balance, strength, and cardiovascular wellness. We will use a combination of floor and standing poses.

Strength Training (Moderate Intensity), LaTaunya Witherspoon: Join us for a full-body workout focusing on strength and balance. All levels are welcome as we hit a variety of exercises for the large muscle groups. We will have some sets of weights (1-8lbs) available for use. You are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.

Zumba (High Intensity), Sellyna Ehlers: A world beat workout where you will dance with friends and burn calories without even realizing it! The routines feature aerobic/fitness interval training with a combination of fast and slow rhythms that tone and sculpt the body.

4:40 – 5:30 Breakout Session 3

Stick Fighting (Low Intensity), Denise Geroux: Come and play in a non-threatening, fun exploration of the fundamentals that underlie the use of all weaponry. In this introduction to Filipino Single Stick Fighting, you will: 1) learn striking angles, patterns, and hand-eye coordination, 2) run rhythm and flow drills with a partner, and 3) receive guidance on how to apply self-defense techniques. Sticks will be provided. 

Dance Fitness Fusion (Moderate Intensity), Kris Rooke. Break a sweat to a combo of fun and easy-to-learn movements set to music you know and love! Add strength, grace, and balance to make this unique workout even more effective. Come with an open mind and willingness to try something new and exciting.

Outdoor Circuit Training (Moderate to High Intensity), Kim Brasfield. Join us for cardio and strength—outside! We will alternate sets of bodyweight strength exercises with cardio intervals (like walking, jumping jacks, etc.) while we enjoy the fresh air and lovely setting of IslandWood.

Aliea Herbert, MD, MPH: Chemotherapy, cancer, cognitive changes, and aging: chemobrain or chemo-fog- what to know and what to do. ‘Chemobrain’ has been described since the 1980s and we now use the term ‘cancer related cognitive changes’ to refer the problems in memory, attention, executive function that are described by up to 75% of cancer patients during treatment and persist in 20-40% of survivors during the years following treatments. The relationship between chemotherapy, radiation, surgery and aging, mood, stress, exercise are interesting and important for survivors to learn what they can do to understand, as well as improve, their symptoms.

5:45 – 6:15 TSNW Programs 101

Have fun while you learn a little about each program, ask questions, register for new programs if interested, and socialize!

6:30 – 7:30 Dinner

Join us in the Dining Hall for a delicious, nutritious meal! Wine and beer will be available for purchase.

8:00 – 8:45 Evening breakout

Mindful Breathing, Mary Clymer. Mindful breathing reduces stress, promotes healing, and increases awareness. Feel calm and centered as you consciously connect to your breath while being guided through mindful breathing techniques. Depending on class needs and time, we will work through three breathing techniques that build on each other: Coherent breathing, Triangle breathing, and Box breathing. *Please bring a yoga mat or towel to lay on. If laying on the floor is not an option for you, feel free to sit in a chair and enjoy all the benefits. 

Sound Bath Relaxation, Kris Rooke. Sound baths are a passive form of healing. All that is required of you is to lie back, close your eyes and listen to the soothing sounds of crystal sound bowls singing around you. As vibration moves through the body, your nervous system and energetic body become more balanced. *Please bring a pillow and blanket to the session.

Dance Church. Dance Church is an all-levels movement class that offers a fun and inclusive approach to dancing! Designed for people of all shapes and sizes, backgrounds and abilities, Dance Church is a fabulous way to express yourself through movement. The teacher leads the class in a series of movement cues, accompanied by a curated playlist of multi-genre pop music. The format is open but guided throughout. No previous training is required, but open-mindedness is a prerequisite!

9:00 – 10:00 S’mores / Games / Socializing / Relaxing

S’mores will be outside, so please wear extra layers. Games will be indoors in smaller groups (we encourage you to bring a favorite game!). (You can also start with S’mores and then move to Games.) Additionally, the IslandWood living facilities have large common rooms with beautiful fireplaces. They are the perfect cozy spots for reading, doing a puzzle, or just hanging out. Wear your comfy clothes, throw on your slippers, bring your knitting or a good book and relax at the end of the day in front of the fire!

SUNDAY, MARCH 3RD

7:00 – 7:50 Restorative yoga with michelle tibbs

Start your day off with a nourishing yoga practice focused on active relaxation. Stretch and release the effort of yesterday’s fitness sessions and prepare for another day of connection and movement. Please bring a yoga mat. 

8:00 – 9:00 Breakfast

Join us in the Dining Hall for a delicious, nutritious meal!

9:00 - 9:30 Check out of rooms

Please take all of your belongings out of your room, turn in your key in the Welcome Center, and load your items into your car.

9:30 – 10:20 breakout session 5

Toni Fielder, Laughter Yoga. We’ve all heard that “laughter is the best medicine”– and it is true! Scientific studies show that laughter has proven mental and physical benefits, such as helping to relieve stress, boost relaxation, produce “happy” hormones, promote healing, increase immunity, and more. This class combines laughing with the breathing benefits of yoga (no mat required!), and we may also dance, play, and meditate. Both spontaneous and intentional laughter elicit positive responses from your body and mind, so you truly can “fake it ’til you make it.” This session is cathartic as well as fun!

Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO. Eating for Relief: Targeted Nutrition to Combat Cancer Side Effects. This comprehensive session is dedicated to empowering survivors with dietary strategies specifically tailored to mitigate the side effects of cancer treatment. Led by an experienced registered dietitian nutritionist, this presentation delves into how certain foods and nutrients can provide relief from common symptoms both during and after a variety of treatments such as nausea, fatigue, and weight changes. Interactive and informative, this session also includes practical tips for meal planning and preparation, making it easier for survivors and their supporters to incorporate nutritional strategies into their daily lives. The goal is to equip participants with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate their nutritional journey during and after cancer treatment, enhancing quality of life.

Chris Burkhart. Tools and Resources for Cancer Related Financial Distress. As cancer costs have skyrocketed, physicians have begun to treat the severe financial distress associated with a cancer diagnosis as a new health problem, known as cancer-related financial toxicity. Chris will be sharing tools and resources available to us through CENTS Financial Planning for Cancer and explore types of budgeting.

Fran-Michelle Reichert: The Stories of our Lives (Generative Writing Session). Our bodies hold wisdom by virtue of our lived experiences. Every experience, large or small, changes us, and is the basis for a story of transformation. In this session, we’ll use writing prompts that encourage exploration. We will also employ writing strategies to turn off the editing brain and connect with our experiences in a safe, creative, and rewarding way. Bring a favorite pen and writing pad, or use materials provided by TSNW.

10:40 - 11:30 Breakout Session 6

Macramé Plant Hangers with CraftLab Seattle, Laura Duris and Kathleen Sande: Macramé is making a comeback and this version is so useful! If you enjoy plants and need vertical space to keep a plant baby (or several!) up out of the way, join us to create your own hanging plant holder. All materials will be provided, including string, beads, yarn, and a dish to collect excess water.

Movement Mix, (Low Intensity) Maria Rico: A delightful combination of individual and group/partner movement designed to integrate social, emotional, cognitive, and physical wellness—and have fun! Experience a variety of basic fitness exercises plus elements of Latin dance (especially Colombian folkdance) and rhythm. Like our signature Move to Heal classes, this session is great for anyone who is new to exercise or returning to activity after some time and includes all four basic fitness components: cardio, strength, flexibility, and balance.

Run/Walk with Your Whole Body (Moderate Intensity), Denise Geroux: Walkers and runners will enjoy this moderate intensity session focused on better body mechanics and posture to lower your risk of injury and make your activity more enjoyable. The session will include drills to warm up, cool down, and build endurance, and you’ll apply these in real time as we run or walk outside. There will be a “personal best” approach, so whether you run regularly, sporadically, or currently not at all, this moderate training session is a great introduction to running and endurance walking.

HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), Kim Brasfield: Break a sweat with a full-body workout. This fast-paced, explosive class features a warmup, core, upper- and lower-body work, and a blast of cardio set to some sweet 80s tunes. This class can be modified for your level of fitness but is intended for those who want to breathe hard and sweat! Be sure to bring a water bottle and towel.

11:45 - 12:45 Lunch

Join us in the Dining Hall for the last meal of the event.

1:00 - 1:30 Concluding speaker, Dr. Kiran Dhillon, "Vaccines to Treat and Prevent Cancer"

Vaccines can train the immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells. Dr. Dhillon will share cutting edge research on the development of vaccines to treat and prevent several types of solid cancers, including breast, colon, lung, ovarian, prostate, and bladder. She will discuss vaccine and related research that is in development in the laboratory and in clinical trials at the University of Washington.

1:30 – 1:45 Break (/departure for those not hiking)

If you are not planning to go on the afternoon hike, this is the time to get in those last hugs, then head to your car.

If you are planning to hike, find your hiking buddy and stay in the Great Hall until year hear further instructions.

1:45 – 3:00 Optional Hike

The trails will be open with IslandWood staff available at certain points. Maps will be provided. Find a hiking buddy and enjoy a hike through the beautiful forest among towering Douglas-fir, Western redcedar, and Hemlock. View the bog and ravine habitat from the treehouses or take a more vigorous hike down to the ravine, cross the suspension bridge, and ascend the 120ft canopy tower to get a new perspective on your surroundings. There is no longer a headcount limit to this activity so anyone who wants to stay for the self-led hike is welcome.

1:30 – 3:00 Departure

Ferries depart Bainbridge Island for Seattle at 2:10, 3:00, 3:55 & 4:40. Click here for the full schedule.

Check out the fabulous 2024 lineup of speakers and instructors below!

Speakers

Click on the name of the speaker to read their bio.

halle hutchison
Dr. Hanna Hunter, MD

Dr. Hanna Hunter is the medical director of oncology rehabilitation at the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center. She graduated from Rutgers New Jersey Medical School prior to her residency at New York Presbyterian Hospital – Columbia/Cornell. Dr. Hunter is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, and completed a fellowship in Cancer Rehabilitation at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. 

Dr. Hunter works closely with oncologists as well as a team of physical, occupational, speech and lymphedema therapists to create a holistic rehabilitation plan. She specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal and neurologic changes that can occur from cancer and its treatment. Dr. Hunter treats patients throughout their cancer journey, whether it is creating an exercise plan to optimize strength before a surgery (pre-habilitation) or restoring strength during survivorship. 

halle hutchison
Dr. Sarah CouRT, PT, DPT, E-RYT

Dr. Sarah Court is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, and provides in-person and online sessions that blend her decades of yoga, Pilates, and physical therapy experience. She’s a co-founder of Movement Logic, a series of continuing education tutorials that help movement teachers understand how to work with challenging clients while staying within their scope of practice. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2021, and after her experience with surgery and chemotherapy, she created a FREE online video exercise series for people going through or recovering from cancer treatment. The series progresses from simple yoga to lifting weights. Sarah lives in Los Angeles.

halle hutchison
Michelle Babb, MS, RD

Michelle Babb, MS, RD, has a private practice in West Seattle where she specializes in mind-body nutrition, digestive disorders and inflammatory eating. Michelle is a Bastyr-trained functional medicine practitioner and was a clinical nutritionist at the functional medicine research center. Michelle is the author of Mastering Mindful Eating; Anti-Inflammatory Eating Made Easy; Anti-Inflammatory Eating for a Happy, Healthy Brain; and The Imperfect Perfectionist. She teaches nutrition-focused cooking classes at Puget Consumers Co-Op (PCC) Natural Markets.

halle hutchison
Karen Bierwagen

Karen has spent more than thirty years fitting bras, including the last ten years as a Certified Mastectomy and Compression Fitter at Fred Hutch’s Shine store. Over the last ten years, she has helped solve compression garment challenges for hundreds of people, some in the middle of treatment and some many years post treatment. Karen’s mission is to fit comfortable, wearable garments that do the job and enable the wearer to live an active, healthy life.

halle hutchison
Dr. Aliea Herbert, MD, MPH

Dr. Herbert is a cancer rehabilitation physiatrist, which means she believes in supporting cancer patients to live well, maintain or increase independence, and achieve personalized, patient-centered goals from work to social interactions to recreation. She sees patients across the continuum of their cancer journey: from shortly following diagnosis to beyond treatment and at all points in between, focusing on prevention of debility and increase in function. She received her MD/MPH from The George Washington University in Washington DC, followed by specialty training at University of Colorado and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

halle hutchison
Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, CSO

Ginger Hultin is a Seattle-based Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and owner of the concierge, virtual nutrition practice Ginger Hultin Nutrition where she helps clients with complex health conditions through an integrative approach. She specializes in anti-inflammatory diets for integrative oncology nutrition, people with gastrointestinal disease, and autoimmune issues and is a board certified specialist in oncology nutrition. Ginger has authored two nutrition books: Anti-Inflammatory Diet Meal Prep and The How to Eat to Beat Disease Cookbook. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and Bastyr University and is currently pursuing her doctorate of clinical nutrition at the University of North Florida. She serves as a proud expert advisory board member of TSNW.

halle hutchison
Fran-Michelle Reichert

Fran is a mom, attorney, holds a Certificate in Memoir from the UW, and most recently worked as a gym manager. She finds storytelling helpful in all parts of her life. (Read more about Fran’s incredible story of childhood trauma and how she reclaimed her voice after her cancer diagnosis in the Dec. 14th newsletter.)

halle hutchison
Chris Burkhart

Chris Burkhart is a Financial Advisor with Cutler Investment Group and has over 16 years of experience in the financial services industry. She specializes in retirement strategies and estate planning, with a focus on helping women achieve their financial goals.

Chris shares her financial acumen beyond her professional practice through volunteer work. She is a Financial Advisor for the CENTS Cancer Program, where she helps patients proactively manage cancer-related costs and helps terminally ill cancer patients and their families organize their estates. As a cancer survivor herself, she understands first-hand cancer’s financial impact.

halle hutchison
Dr. Kiran Dhillon, PhD

Dr. Kiran Dhillon is the Executive Director of the Cancer Vaccine Institute (CVI) at the University of Washington. At the CVI, she oversees strategy, development, and operations in support of the Institute’s mission to igniting the immune system to end cancer. She received her PhD in Genetics at the University of Washington and postdoctoral training at the Fred Hutch. Prior to joining the CVI, she served as the Director of Scientific Programs for the Rivkin Center for Ovarian Cancer. Dr. Dhillon is also a 9 year survivor of breast cancer.

Instructors

Click on the name of the instructor to read their bio.

halle hutchison
Bonnie Walchuk

Bonnie has over 8 years of oncology experience facilitating therapeutic groups, and individual and family sessions for adults experiencing cancer. She has worked as the full-time Art Therapist running the Art Therapy Program at Swedish Cancer Institute, trained and worked as the Art Therapist at UW Medical Center, and is currently the President and Founder of local Art Therapy & Integrative Wellness Collective, Dream Big Wellness.  

halle hutchison
Katie Kapugi, MA, LMHC, ATR

Katie is a nationally registered art therapist and licensed mental health counselor who specializes in Chronic pain, medical trauma, complex trauma, nervous system struggles, and adjustment and transition. She has over 6 years of counseling experience facilitating therapeutic groups, and individual sessions for people in varying stages of their lifespan. Katie specializes in Mindfulness based therapies, relaxation strategies, trauma informed care, and art therapy. She has worked extensively with client’s facing co-occurring medical and mental health issues, anxiety, panic attack disorder, CPTSD, grief and loss, relationship work, body-based trauma, identity and lifestyle transition, chronic illness and chronic pain. She values the power of relationship to self and others as an integral part of healing.

halle hutchison
Ahna Machan

Ahna Machan is an Integrative Life Coach, Yoga Teacher, Consultant, and a TSNW member! She helps people live more vibrant lives in rhythm with their unique nature and own definition of success by integrating mental, physical, emotional and spiritual aspects of life, drawing on evidence-based strategies and the wisdom of ancient traditions as validated by modern science.

Ahna is trained as a Professional Life coach, Mindfulness teacher, 200-RYT yoga instructor, and she has a Master’s degree in transformative change for Individual and Systems Renewal, Whole Systems Design. Ahna spent 20 years learning from and working with indigenous communities around the world on sustainable change until her cancer diagnosis. Ahna says it was a shock but also “taught me some of my biggest lessons about integrating the bodymind and slowing down to go deep to create true wellness and joy that lead to a more vibrant, purposeful life.”

halle hutchison
Michelle Tibbs

Michelle is a breast cancer survivor and has been a yoga instructor for 18 years. She has taught in Washington State and Southern California. Her teaching style is one that lets everyone who enters her class feel accomplished and stretched. She teaches a flow yoga class and specializes in Trap Yoga, where you move your hips to the beat of the music. Any class you attend, you’re sure to get a good experience as her classes are for EVERY BODY!

halle hutchison
LaTaunya Witherspoon

Owner and Founder of SpoonFed Training, LaTaunya is an Alumni of Washington State University where she received a B.A. in Sociology and M.A. in Elementary Education; she is also a former track and field athlete. With over 14+ years of experience in fitness and sports, she developed a natural passion for supporting others on their health and wellness journey. As a small business owner, customer satisfaction is LaTaunya’s top priority; she has received many awards with recognition for her commitment to excellence, skills, and community support.

halle hutchison
Sellyna Ehlers

Sellyna is an avid dancer and has been dancing all her life. With the introduction of Zumba in the 1990’s, Sellyna found an outlet for her energy and she is passionate about teaching Zumba because it provides people with one hour where they can lose themselves and still get all the benefits of exercise. To Sellyna, Zumba is much more than an exercise class. It provides students with a way to relieve stress, meet new friends and form new communities. Sellyna’s choice of music reflects this too. Sellyna’s journey to teaching Zumba started in Riverside, California and she is certified to teach Zumba and Zumba Gold.

Sellyna has a bachelor’s degree in Women Studies and has a full-time job at the University of Washington as the Director of Human Resources, Equity and Inclusion. Before COVID-19, she also taught Zumba at the YMCA, Greenlake Fitness and University Heights Community Center and loves the students and the Zumba community.

halle hutchison
Denise Geroux

Coach Denise Geroux is the owner of Coach Denise Bodyworks, LLC. – offering functional personal training, group exercise classes, triathlon training, martial arts training and bodywork in modalities of massage therapy, The Feldenkrais Method, and more. Coach Denise brings a playful enthusiasm for educating her clients and students with humor, precision and a mastery of human body mechanics in action. Coach Denise – a.k.a. “The Swiss Army Knife of Trainers” – brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to all she does. When she is not leading classes and training clients, she loves chasing her cat Izzy or getting out hiking and climbing trees.

halle hutchison
kris rooke

Kris has been a fitness professional for more than half of her life. During her two cancer diagnoses, she found and incorporated yoga into her instructor fitness programming. Kris owns a fitness franchise in Bellevue and serves as the director of fitness for Professional Fitness Coaching, a national company based in Seattle. Kris’s view on fitness has always been to live life as an active participant that makes healthy choices while being of service. 

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Kim Brasfield

Kim Brasfield has been a personal trainer since 2001. She joined Team Survivor Northwest in 2007 as our Triathlon Coach and spent five years working with women who have had a cancer diagnosis to prepare them for the rigorous physical experience of a triathlon. Kim then set out to pursue a major goal of her own: completing 3 Half Ironman races. Kim returned to TSNW in 2015 as a fitness instructor – she currently teaches our Monday Interval Training online class. Kim is active in her personal life – having completed numerous half marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks. She loves working with the inspiring members of Team Survivor and calls her current role as a “dream come true.”

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Mary Clymer

Breath has always been a gateway to inner knowledge for Mary. It is what led her to Sri Lanka where she studied Pranayama, Yin, and Vinyasa under the direction of Mathieu Boldron in 2018. After becoming a certified 200hr YTT, Mary continued to follow her passion for breath and became a certified breath coach with Yogabody.

In addition to her work as an individual breath coach, Mary has led many retreats, workshops, and events. With extensive training in various breathwork techniques, Mary empowers clients to unlock their full potential by guiding them inward. The care and mindfulness Mary brings to her work foster lasting transformations and enhance overall well-being.

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Toni Fielder

Although Laughter Yoga has been around since 1995, Toni first “discovered” it in 2023 as she found herself struggling with the aftermath of successful treatment for breast cancer. Grappling with what to do next and whether to go back to her tech career, she sent this question through an AI program: “I want to laugh, dance, play and bring joy to others. What can I do for a living?”. One of the ideas it came back with was, “You could be a laughter yoga instructor.” A WHAT?!? She started attending laughter clubs, taking classes, and researching all things laughter. Her smile returned, the cloud lifted, and her anxiety and depression melted away. She was certified as a Laughter Leader by the founder of Laughter Yoga, Dr. Madan Kataria, in 2023.

Toni lives in Kirkland with her husband of 22 years and her pup Ernie. She is also working towards certifications in Clinical Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Reiki.

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Laura Duris

Laura is a West Seattle resident and Mom of two school-aged kids. She grew up around the Puget Sound area with a Mom who loved crafting. From an early age, art and making things were super important to her, and she took those skills into her career in architecture. After working in that field for 20 years, she really missed working with her hands. In the Fall of 2021, she decided to take a break from architecture and focus full-time on working on this passion—working with kids and adults to make things and create art.

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Kathleen Sande

Kathleen is a retired educator and amazing Nana. She recently retired from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction advocating for incarcerated youth, working to ensure that they received a high-quality education while in the Washington State prison system. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2021 and is currently cancer free and doing well with the help of her family and community!

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Maria Rico

As a Cancer Exercise Specialist & Fitness Instructor, Maria recognizes the good that movement can do for physical health and wellness, but also what it can do for the soul. Maria believes fitness connects the mind to the body and dance makes fitness much more fun. Maria’s work today revolves around fitness, dance, and Colombian culture. Maria provides free indoor and outdoor Colombian dance lessons through a grant from Seattle Parks and Recreation and teaches a blend of Colombian, African, Indigenous and European dance. This multicultural offering inspires many to learn about different countries and travel the world. Maria is thrilled to be leading Team Survivor’s very first fitness class taught in Spanish, Ejercicio Para Sanar! Maria’s work helps all ages burn energy, release stress, socialize, improve coordination, memorize steps and patterns, and develop a sense of rhythm. Maria works with all age groups, ethnicities, genders, and abilities.

Photographer

Click on the name of the photographer to read her bio.

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Mary Gomez Camba

Mary is a master photographer, business coach, and a youth visual storytelling mentor. She is founder of The Think Visual Project, a learning platform that combines her two passions – photography and business strategy. She has given a TED talk on the magic of serendipity and how, ultimately, we have the power to write our stories by getting involved and taking action. Her talk, “You Decide What Happens Next” can be found on YouTube.

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