Author: Gortzen, Waltrude
Date published: November 29, 2010
Camp Squeah was decked out in pink like never before, for the British Columbia Mennonite women's retreat held last month. This year's focus on breast cancer brought out women ranging in age from 16 to 73.
Feather Janz of Abbotsford, a double breast cancer survivor at age 38, was the keynote speaker. Janz was diagnosed with breast cancer and had her first mastectomy at age 23, and underwent another mastectomy following a second bout with cancer in 2009. Janz shared her personal experience with breast cancer in one session, and focused another on the medical aspects of the disease. During the Oct. 17 worship service, she shared her faith journey through her cancer experience.
Lisa Adrianne of Yarrow provided special music, and shared her own story of losing her mother to breast cancer.
The women prepared for the Pink Dress-up Dinner on Oct. 16 by having a pink manicure the evening before (see front cover). Also helping get the women in the mood for their photographs, the Superior Propane "breast cancer" delivery truckpainted pink in support of breast cancer awareness- paid a visit to camp.
Even the food had special pink touches: cookies and cupcakes with pink icing, and pink whipping cream for the fresh fruit for the heart-shaped waffle breakfast.
As a service project in keeping with the weekend's theme, participants were asked to bring bras that were then donated to the Fraser Valley Pregnancy Centre. Staff at the centre loved the gesture, saying that they very rarely, if ever, get bras donated to them, and how happy their clients would be.
Two-thirds of this year's 94 participants either attended the annual retreat for the first time or were returning after an absence of a year or two, which pleased the planning committee.
"We realized that this year we had reached a whole new group of women, not just younger women but women who had never before attended a ladies retreat," said a committee member. "It was what we had hoped for when we started to plan."
Participants were effusive in their comments at the final evaluation.
"Over the years I've stayed away from retreats, as they were too 'churchy;'" wrote one woman. "This was a perfect blend of Christ and the real world. I just wish I could have brought along five or six more friends!"
"Because of the topic that was discussed there was a sense of shared sisterhood," wrote another. "This was the blessing that came from introducing such a topic that we can all relate to. It has affected us all, and, as Christian sisters, we can be there to support each other."
STORY AND PHOTO BY WALTRUDE GORTZEN
Special to Canadian Mennonite