Faces of Courage- A Day at Camp by Deirdre Powell
As I walked into the campgrounds I was surrounded with serenity of trees, and pools of water. Libby Hopkins (assistant editor of Underground-Woman and volunteer of camp) greeted me and gave me a personal tour. We first checked in on the cooks volunteering, big smiles as everyone cooked for the women including Dr. Elliott Cazes.
Swiftly we walked to the t-shirt dying area, were women of all ages were dipping and designing t-shirts. I was introduced to Cassandra Beitzel, Vice President of Faces of Courage. She, a survivor of cervical cancer, was wearing overalls and big grin. She gave me information on the camp. She explained that the women here were either are suvivors of cancer or are battling cancer. “A place where women could come together, to support one another and have fun events,” said Beitzel.
Then I meander over to the tarot card readings and reiki area. A peaceful place where readings were read and a woman sat comfortably and had Reiki performed. I walked to the manicure center I meet with the found of Faces of Courage Peggie D. Sherry, Herself, a two-time, seven-year cancer survivor. Peggie started the foundation in 2004 providing four weekend camps a year for women and children with cancer and blood diseases.“Many counselors were once cancer patients,” said Sherry.
After talking with Sherry, some of the campers started introducing themselves to me. Sandy Irvine-Callin , Dorene Wilbur-Akujobi and Darcy Rizzo told me their stories of health and battle. Nurse Judy, a volunteer at the camp, huddled with us and answered questions from the women in a wonderful relaxed manner. This made everything feel more humanized, more than an insurance number or a chart. It was so apparent these women felt comfortable among one another to share everything. No masking or pretending just being real and open with one another. The energy with these women was love and encouragement.
A visit to the massage hair salon area followed next and then an introduction to Howard L.Kahen, M.D D.A.B.R., and president of the foundation. He and his wife, Christy were giving Dysport injections to some of the campers who won a raffle the couple offered to the camp.. I saw deserving women relaxing and getting beautified by the couple.
Before leaving I heard laughing where kayaking was in full force. Then I was greeted to a pink fire truck in loo of cancer where hand written notes scrolled by loved ones.
A wonderful organization that deserves in my opinion all help and money everyone has to offer. Here is a link to donate to the website and find out how to become involved. http://www.facesofcourage.org