Life after cancer can be isolating so local nonprofit Shay’s Warriors gave survivors a safe place at its second annual I Am Hope Survivors Reset Retreat.
Shay’s Warriors used the $25,000 Spotlight Grant from the Berger Foundation to sponsor 11 of the 40 women on the retreat. The retreat offered healing techniques and a community for survivors to thrive in their life after cancer.
As founder of the nonprofit, Shay Moraga turned her pain into a passion to help other cancer survivors like her.
“I just want to thank, first and foremost, the Berger Foundation for giving us the opportunity to help transform and change lives," said Moraga. “Survivors still need to be seen, they need to be heard, and may still need to feel supported.”
Survivor Elizabeth Ayala-Moreno left the retreat with a new sense of self.
“One of the greatest experiences I've had in in my life," said Ayala-Moreno. “I was able to find my voice. And I was able to share that experience with somebody who actually understood who got me who didn't judge me.”
The retreat helped survivors with tools to move forward through activities like yoga, meditation, and support groups. Up until the retreat, survivor Monica Vasquez struggled to accept her journey through cancer.
“Coming here... My goodness. It was it was all a validation of everything that I've been feeling along the journey," said Vasquez. “Life-changing, absolutely life-changing.”
She stepped into courage hand in hand with fellow survivors like Brenda O’Brien.
"A lot of what I learned was not when I was talking, or when I was being questioned. It was listening to somebody else," said O’Brien. “This retreat really connected me to my truth again.”
It helped create a sisterhood that will last a lifetime always making space for other survivors who feel alone.
“We all need to feel love and we all need to heal. And I know that they will find it with Shay’s Warriors," said Ayala-Moreno.