Female survivors of breast cancer in Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia, recently found out their beloved weekend retreat has been cancelled after 20 years of existence.
For years, the Women Alike Retreat had been held at the Tim Hortons Children’s Camp facility in the northern Nova Scotia village. With spots open for 80 women, the weekend retreat allowed breast cancer survivors to meet, discuss their cancer journey and most importantly provide hope for all those in attendance.
Participants were able to attend the retreat by paying a reduced registration fee. The organizing committee was able to offer the subsidized fee due to annual grants from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF); however, these grants are apparently no longer available to the Tatamagouche group.
Earlier this year, CBCF announced a merger with the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) resulting in some CBCF employees being laid off. Something that strikes some similarities to events we’ve seen in the past.
More than 20 years ago, women in Toronto were invited to open meetings to discuss setting up a breast cancer foundation. Mona Forrest, Canadian Cancer Survivor Network (CCSN) Board member, was at some of those meetings and said, “women got together because of media reports that the Canadian Cancer Society was underfunding breast cancer research in proportion to the incidence in the population, and in terms of donations by women.” Forrest said she believes that it will be less than five years before a new effort is made to create another independent breast cancer charity.
The Canadian Cancer Survivor Network worries that this may be the “tip of the iceberg” with funding being cut for programs that can make a difference in people’s lives. The merger between CBCF and CCS should not result in programs like the Women Alike Retreat being cut.
As for this year’s retreat, it is our understanding that the organizing committee has found another location and is scrambling to find another method to pay for it.
For more information, please refer to the original story in the Chronicle Herald.