Allison Peeler Schwartz, 2014 retreat participant, graciously shared her experience with Wind River, a partner of 24 Foundation who helps relieve emotional stress and improve the quality of life of cancer survivors through wellness retreats.

Schwartz Wind River

There is beauty in just going.

Cancer changed everything. It made me stronger. It made me less afraid of so many things; so when I found Wind River on the internet and connected with Shannon late last year – a beautiful relationship began.

I applied for the April 2014 retreat and by the grace of God things worked out and I flew to North Carolina from Texas for the most profound weekend of my life. Cancer has a way of doing that – changing you in ways you’d never expect. Cancer introduces you to the MOST amazing people ever. Period.  The week before I left Dallas so many people asked: “Where are you going?” “Who will be there?” What will you do?” My answer to all questions: “I don’t know.”  I went with my gut on this one, trusted completely and WOW.

Weeks later and I’m still processing my weekend. What I know for sure is I fell in love with 15 people, two cats and an amazing “cabin” in the woods. Some are survivors and some are healers. They are all real, beautiful and full of life. They changed my life for the better. They surrounded me with love and respect and helped keep me whole. We laughed. We cried. We laughed some more. We had new experiences. We shared our most personal stuff – the kind of stuff that needs complete trust and love in order to share. These folks are real. These folks have experienced pain. These folks are dealing with cancer with the utmost grace and humility. These folks truly realize the beauty in everything life offers. These folks are butterflies and fairies that bring peace and love to everyone. These folks I’m talking about? My Wind River peeps. My posse. My “deuces”. My loves.

Wind River is a place to heal. It’s a place to grow. It’s a place to laugh. It’s a place to cry. It’s a place to learn new things. It’s more than a place, really. Wind River is a state of being. Wind River scoops you up and allows you to float freely while receiving love and peace.

A simple email asking to be added to the Wind River mailing list blossomed into a relationship with Shannon, Dave and the Wind River community. What does the Wind River community mean to me? It means love, understanding, peace, freedom and hope.  My life is taking a different path. I’m changed forever. I took a leap of faith. I trusted. I went.

There is beauty in just going.

6 Responses

  1. Thank you Allison for the beautiful reflections and memories! My favorite line … Wind River is a state of Being!

    And a BIG THANK YOU to our 2013 Charlotte Booty Riders for helping to make this retreat experience possible!!!!

  2. It is all that Allison has so eloquently described and more. Wind River is a world of it’s own and indeed life changing. Once you arrive you are instantly transported to the most tranquil environment, which surrounds you with the sounds of running water, rustling leaves and laughter. You become one each and every individual, realizing your not alone because your group truly understands. Each exercise, hike, and meal, teaches and puts you in touch with something deep in your soul, that begins to grow, and strengthen. I was truly blessed to find Wind River and pray that others will be able to experience the MAGIC that is Wind River.

  3. I’m a 2014 Wind River participant and as soon as I stepped on Wind River’s property I knew it was something very magical, healing and special about this place. I went there very opened minded. I had a very wonderful experience. I met some awesome people and we shared a lot of intimate information about ourselves, but Wind River has a way of creating an uninhibited environment. I felt secure and love all around. It’s definitely a moment in my life I’ll always treasure. I truly feel grateful and blessed to have been afforded the opportunity to attend Wind River…Shannon and Dave you two rock!!

    Tamara Wallace Norman

  4. Beautiful words about an experience almost too special for words. I was honored to share in this retreat as well and Allison captures the essence and memory of an amazing weekend.

  5. Wonderfully written Allison!

    Thank you for putting your experience at Wind River into words – it is humbling and gratifying to know the impact it has had on you and others. These retreats remain free to survivors in part because of our partnership with the 24 hours of booty organization. THANK YOU Spencer, the booty board and ALL the booty riders — you are doing good in the world!!

  6. Allison painted a beautiful and heartfelt weekend at Wind River that I could picture almost completely. The difference in my memory is that the people on my Wind River weekend were different because I went in 2012….but my thoughts and feelings of my weekend are similar to Allison’s, which is truly amazing. Shannon and Dave do several retreats a year with all different types of personalities, cancer stages and different types of cancer…but the outcome is the same. Happy hearts. Healing. Friendships. Forever bonds. New perspectives. Gratitude. Love. Peace. Serenity. Not wanting to leave the cocoon of tranquility that is wrapped around the retreat when it’s time to go back home. You are changed for the better and you can in turn help others see a small glimpse into some positive aspects of cancer. The bonds. The healing. The friendships. And the memories will stay with us all forever. Words are not enough to thank Dave and Shannon for how they are changing lives, one cancer patient at a time. True gifts from God.

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