I was so excited to have the opportunity to attend Epic Experience in Colorado in February 2019. However, after having surgery in March 2018 followed by a knee injury in May 2018, the medical bills began rolling in and I realized that I would not be able to pay for the airfare to get to Colorado for camp. I’m so grateful to the Cassie Hines Shoes Cancer Foundation which made it possible for me to attend and took care of my airfare.
As I prepared for camp, I emailed Nancy Ferro aka Mama Lou with millions of questions about what I needed to pack, what to wear, what to bring and what things we’d be doing. I’d never been to Colorado in the winter and I’d never participated in winter sports before, aside from the one time I went downhill skiing in college 20 years ago and the years I went sledding as a kid. From the very beginning Mama Lou was very patient in answering all my questions and making me feel at ease. I expected a weeklong outdoor adventure with Epic Experience, but I never imagined the amazing friendships that would come out of it. I’ve attended “cancer camps” before and had great adventures but did not really develop close friendships out of them. In our small groups at Epic we discussed our fears, hopes and many other topics throughout the week. It was a safe place to discuss how you were feeling, if you so desired, and if you did not want to talk, that was also ok. We were all in different places in our life with cancer and we recognized the significance of that. And it truly brought us all together.
And let me tell you, this camp wasn’t just all about feelings and talking, lest you are concerned that this camp isn’t for you! We shared lots of laughter as well in all our adventures that week. I was nervous to try snowshoeing and cross-country skiing – more likely I was afraid to fail. But understand this: you are not alone in your week at Epic Experience (unless of course you’d like a few minutes to yourself, which is ok, too!) When you fall, your new cancer camp friends will be there to help you up – or at least laugh with you as they try to help you up and end up falling down themselves. You may have gone into your Epic Experience feeling alone or like you have no support, but I can guarantee you won’t go home feeling the same way!
If you have the opportunity to attend Epic Experience, I urge you to do it. You will not regret it! So grateful for this experience and for CHSCF for making it possible!