Cancer survivors retreat by moving forward

Cancer survivors retreat by moving forward

Healing from cancer is not a simple process. This is because cancer affects the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. The “new normal” after treatment is unfamiliar territory, and many cancer patients appreciate some help in finding their way to well-being.


On Saturday, March 9, 2019, breast cancer survivors gathered for the annual cancer survivorship retreat. This year’s event, “Sailing On to Survivorship,” was held at the Shore Acres Clubhouse in Chillicothe, IL, right on the riverfront.

Even though it poured rain, the mood was upbeat, friendly, and relaxed. Roughly 40 participants enjoyed a delicious breakfast and lunch, informative presentations, interactive workshops, prizes, and pampering.

Dr. Rhonda Johnson, a clinical psychologist at OSF Healthcare who specializes in cancer survivorship, spoke about “Feeling Lost at Sea: Finding your way in survivorship.”

“Breast cancer survivors can experience a number of emotional, financial, physical, and relationship challenges during and following treatment,” Dr. Johnson says. “Interventions, including psychotherapy, to reduce distress and improve quality of life in people with cancer are effective and now much more available to cancer survivors.”

[Click here to read about how OSF HealthCare is supporting cancer patients in Rockford with Healing Pathways.]



Not only did the women learn from experts, but they also learned from each other. Tapping into the power of their own creativity, they shared their stories and experiences, asked questions, laughed together, and encouraged one another. Sessions included:

  • An explanation of dry needling by physical therapist Leann Croft
  • A creative writing workshop by writers Gina Vozenilek and Katie Lancia
  • A DIY inspirational sign-making project with The Simple Things Custom Designs
  • Plus pink purses, pampering, raffles, door prizes, and vendor tables

The cancer journey does not end when treatments do, and it is so important to know that you are not alone.  If you missed the retreat, you can connect with support services for cancer survivors here. Another retreat to serve survivors of all cancer types is being planned for the Fall.

Did you know? Breast cancer survivors report psychological issues as one of those most frequently unmet needs following treatment.