Forest Moon offers free retreat for cancer survivors

A free weekend retreat for cancer survivors and an accompanying loved one will be held at Stump Sprouts Guest Lodge in Hawley, Mass., on Aug. 24-26.

“Renewing the Spirit” is offered by Forest Moon, a local nonprofit organization that provides free or low-cost support programs to cancer survivors and their loved ones in western Massachusetts and southern Vermont and New Hampshire.

The retreat – held in a scenic, rustic setting – will provide a place for self-exploration, connection, and healing for those with any kind of cancer diagnosis and a family member or support person. Participants will be guided through a variety of activities that have been shown to reduce stress and anxiety while increasing hope and strength. Some of the activities include writing, gentle yoga, creative arts, walking, and ample free time to enjoy the wooded trails and beautiful views.

A participant in a previous Forest Moon retreat said, “The retreat was a place where you were a person with cancer not a victim of cancer – you were allowed to feel what you feel without judgment.”

The retreat will be facilitated by Deb Steele and Pam Roberts.

Steele has been facilitating healing retreats for those touched by cancer for 17 years. She is the manager of Support Services Programming at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. Roberts is a writer, artist, certified yoga teacher, and ordained graduate of the IM School of Healing Arts in New York City. She is Forest Moon's program director and has been leading programs for individuals dealing with cancer or loss for the last nine years. Both women are cancer survivors.

Forest Moon offers one-day and overnight retreats as well as evening workshops in accessible, supportive settings. Participants are encouraged to connect with others living with cancer, learn activities that reduce stress, and explore ways to celebrate cancer survivorship.

Forest Moon is supported by grants, corporate sponsorships, and individual donations such as those raised in Brattleboro's Strolling of the Heifers and the Bridge of Flowers 10K/3K in Shelburne Falls, Mass. This retreat is sponsored in part by Rays of Hope, a program of the Baystate Health Foundation.

The weekend, including lodging and all meals, is free after a registration fee of $25 per person, which may be reduced or waived in cases of hardship. Cancer survivors may attend by themselves, or bring a family member or friend with them.

Stump Sprouts Lodge is about a hour's drive west from Brattleboro. The program will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 24 and conclude at 1 p.m. on Sunday Aug. 26.

To register, contact Roberts at 413-625-2402 or [email protected]. Registrations may be made until Aug. 17. More information about Forest Moon may be found at

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