Sunday, May 21, 2006

Weekend of Hope, Stowe, Vermont - May 5-7, 2006
Once every year, the community of Stowe and surrounding areas open their hearts and resources to cancer survivors across the nation. Lectures, workshops and informational sessions are given by leaders in the field of cancer care. Rooms are provided free of charge to families dealing with cancer--donated by the members of the Stowe Area Association. I first attended in 2002 and then again in 2003 where my life was changed--I wanted to share my story of hope and healing with others.

In December 2005, the journey was complete with the book I had in my heart since I was first diagnosed: Trading Ashes for Roses: From Pain to Passion. It's the book I always wanted when I was diagnosed: "Here read this book; this is what I'm feeling and this is how you can help!" One of the best gifts I received was a journal that read, "Start writing!" and I have stopped since. Writing is therapeutic--it aided in my recovery, and to share that with others is my way of giving back. This year I returned as a presenter for a therapeutic writing workshop, and what started as a way of dealing with the life-changing effects of cancer, has now become my passion--speaking and writing!

Thanks to the generosity of the Stowe Weekend of Hope, I stayed at the lovely von Trapp Family Lodge (a bit of Austria in America!). From my balcony I captured a rare moment for me--a sunrise! I heard it would be magnificent, so I set my alarm for 5:00 a.m.--no sunrise! Then again at 5:15 a.m. (where is that sun?!) Once again at 5:25 a.m. (I was tempted to go back to bed!), and then creeping over the mountains it came--a magnificent fireball filling the sky. I captured it on film to remind myself that it's worth an early rising to see God's beauty painted in the skies in such a glorious backdrop!

Green is the color of spring, hope, and healing! It's also the color of the mountains in Stowe that inspire us to celebrate each day as a gift--something those of us living with cancer never take for granted.

If you know someone dealing with cancer, tell them about the Weekend of Hope (held every year--the first weekend of May). Bringing survivors together in such a beautiful, supportive resort environment is healing for the body and the soul. That weekend three years ago, changed the course of my life--I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today!

For more information on the Weekend of Hope visit