I am a breast cancer survivor for 3 and 1/2 years now. To God be the Glory. There are so many foundations that are raising funds to find a cure for cancer and I am grateful.
Not many foundations support women emotionally and spiritually during and after their diagnosis.
But there is ONE
Lotus Survival Foundation
I had the pleasure of participating in a retreat for Breast Cancer Survivors that improved my coping and hope both now and for the future. The retreat covered body image issues. You can only imagine what it is like to be transformed by a mastectomy from a DD to B. It has been a difficult journey. One that I am still learning to embrace.
I am proud and honored to be a part of this seminal moment with Lotus. I am excited about the potential of such an annual affair.
I can imagine five years from now, there will be thousands of women experiencing the joy, oness, happiness and peace they have this initial privilege of enjoying.
I want to pay it forward for other women.
My name is Elizabeth Harrell and I am a 22 years breast cancer survivor. I attended the Lotus Survival Retreat (Mind, Body & Soul). This retreat was a LIFE CHANGING EXPERIENCE for me. I do thank the visonaries Jose & Claudia for having this retreat. God is gonna bless them for thinking of others. Through this retreat I have gained new sisters, new knowledge, new inner strength and most of all how to laugh. Yoga @ 7 AM with Audrey was great & rewarding. I came to the retreat one way (stressed) and I left a total complete person (happy). I owe that to all of my new family. Everything that was taught & said came straight from God. Again THANKS SO MUCH Jose & Claudia!!!!!!!! VERY GOOD, VERY GOOD.....YAYYYYYY!!!!!!!! I LOVE U MY LOTUS SURVIVAL FAMILY YAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!
Thanks you Claudia and company for the enlightening and invigorating St. Pete experience. I needed a gentle kick in the rear to get back to participating in the game of life. I hope many other women who have had or are dealing with breast cancer will give themselves this opportunity to be pampered a little with the love and positive energy that is so abundant at the retreat. I do feel a sense of renewal and it feels great! Prayers to you for continuing success with the Foundation.
Clau always has my support to continue with the beautiful Lotus mission, the sadness overwhelms me because our Warrior is very young, my prayers are for her, I am sure she enjoyed the days at the Retreat of Lotus and for her were very specials, where she found shelter and laughter to forget fear and sadness .. where each morning perhaps be in front of the ocean she realized that we are not just a physical body, because that is what really desapear we are so much more ..We are an eternal energy, beautiful and powerful ,that it transcends time and space and also can fly wherever you want ... At the retreat she received all the Love, Joy and Union of a group of wonderfull hearts warriors ! May God bless you and Padre Pio my litle warrior !!!!!! I join your call Clau to be echo of the campaign touch your self for breast cancer, this may save your life.
To whom it may concern,
I attended the First Annual Lotus Retreat in St. Petersburg, Florida, last May. I didn't go as a survivor, but rather as the photographer for Lotus foundation. It was an incredibly moving experience and one in which I hope that I can experience year after year. The camaraderie and the bonds that I witnessed being formed was like no other. I learned a great deal about support, strength and hope and met some extraordinary women. I saw how important it is for victims of cancer to experience this type of support system and how it lifts their spirits to be together and can bond to others who understand their pain and difficult situations.
The experience certainly changed my life for the better and I'm grateful for it.
I was privileged to have seen first-hand the wondrous effects of the inaugural Mind, Body & Spirit Lotus Survival Foundation Retreat on the women who were suffering with breast cancer and those who had survived it. It was, without a doubt, the most moving and inspirational experience of my life.
Just watching the strong emotional bonds that developed between the women participants over the span of those five days was proof enough of the retreat's effectiveness in boosting the women's morale through the support of others in similar circumstances - others with whom, unlike the individuals back home who were among their family, friends, and coworkers, these women felt secure in confiding their deepest worries, fears and struggles with the disease that ravaged their bodies, their spirits and their lives. The impact of that freedom to release their burdens on these women who shared their distress was overwhelming, as was evidenced by their tears of joy and relief at now being able to ease their soul of such pain.
That coupled with the valuable answers the women derived from the topics covered by the speakers (ranging from handling their finances in spite of difficulties posed by their cancer treatments to managing the effects of the illness on them physically and emotionally, and more) testified to the program's tremendous worth, as they also contributed immensely to restoring these women's sense of control over the various aspects of their lives covered by the speakers, thus further boosting their ability to cope with the hardships brought to bear upon them by their suffering.
Without the Lotus Survival Foundation's Mind, Body & Spirit Retreats, I cringe at the thought of how dismal the lives of these women would have been as they faced their illness alone. I thank God for having inspired Claudia to have founded Lotus Survival Foundation in the first place, for all that its retreat did for those wonderful, brave, women, and for granting me the grace of being able to witness the miraculous transformation that took place in those women as a result of her kindness.
With all sincerity,
I was honored to photograph and video Lotus Survival Foundation's very first Breast Cancer Survivor Retreat in St. Petersburg, Florida. This was an amazing event with amazing group of ladies! This very well-organized event included both educational and fun activities for the survivors. Many distinguished speakers and experts shared their knowledge and provided guidance. It was very touching to witness the group come together as a family. The survivors helped each others by sharing personal stories. We made many friends. And I believe that is what this young foundation is all about- to help each survivor heal their mind, body and soul. This was a multiple day assignment over which I got to know the founder Claudia Aguirre better. She is an inspiration who has a dream to heal many lives. I applaud Claudia and Lotus Survival Foundation. And I look forward to working with the foundation on this journey to help others.
I never thought the hole in my heart could be filled. My parents suddenly past away in 2007 together and it was such a painful loss, one that I don't know that I will ever get over. When I met Claudia, and was introduced to Lotus Survival Foundation, I was nothing but a shell, just going through my days, working as an owner in my photography business. Claudia hired my company to photograph and video her event down in Florida, and this was the first contact that I had any type of survivor. I didn't volunteer much but when I did, it was mostly with under priviledged children.
Once I was with the group, I immediately started to meet women that had suffered so much. Some of them had survived their treatments, and some of them you could tell, would have a much harder time doing so. What we brought to those women in the 5 days can never be imitated, and it can never be replaced. The peace that we brought to them is something that I can't explain, except to say that you could see them get their life back, if only for a moment.
I cried alot while I was there, some for them and some for me. I realized early in the retreat that each of these women were giving something to me, selflessly, and what they were giving was filling the hole in my heart. I was so touched by all of the events and all of the women, that when we got back to Raleigh, I immediately asked the foundation how I could help and became the Director of Fundraising. I am forever a part of Lotus, and am so blessed to be. Claudia's vision to help men and women has now become a part of me. I can't wait to work with as many survivors as I can, to help to bring positive back into their lives, in whatever way I can.
It’s been nearly six months since I attended the Lotus Survival Foundation’s first survivors’ retreat. I was planning to submit a testimonial at its conclusion, but at that time I still was trying to process the reality that I was a new cancer survivor. This trip was only my second time away from home since my breast surgery 5 months prior.
Five months have passed since the retreat. Reflecting back on that experience a few things really stand out. First, the openness and kindness of the organizers, facilitators and presenters was unbelievable – the majority of whom were breast cancer survivors. I didn’t have to walk around with a fake smile or answer “Oh, I’m fine” to every “How are you?” Everyone knew the answer – no need to waste time with formalities and small talk. Everyone had experienced huge difficulties that only other survivors could understand.
All the sessions and activities were focused on how to go on living after a cancer diagnosis. We learned healthful lifestyle strategies to use to decrease our chance of cancer reoccurrence. We left the retreat loaded with tools and resources to use now and in the years to come.
My favorite part of the retreat was meeting other survivors. I know I’m now part of a group of incredibly strong women. I am no longer alone on this crazy journey. I will move forward knowing I have the support of this group. As they say, strength in numbers!
Many thanks to Claudia and all the others involved with turning her vision into a reality.
Thanks for checking on us. We are feeling a great deal of pain, but the concern of good friends help to ease our discomfort? Thank you so much. I feel that Jenny's time spent at the retreat brought her a great deal of comfort and peace. When I look at the pictures of her taken there, I see such serenity in her beautiful face. I know that she experienced something truely special there. I feel that this is a very important factor in treating the breast cancer survivor/warrior. The emotional support is vital to their well being. Thanks so much for the opportunity that you gave our daughter to be part of something so wonderful.
There are many opportunities in life for loss, anger, disappointments, and frustrations to rob you of your zeal for life. These events distract you from the many joys that await you in life. Laughter Yoga has taught me to reconnect to with the joy of life in the midst of despair. Laughter yoga is effective because, even when you lack the hope to bellow out a heart restorative chuckle to recharge yourself emotionally, laughter yoga echoes, "fake til you make it". So you force yourself to laugh. And before long, laughter becomes effortless. And you find that you can't stop and that you don't want to stop, because that moment relieves you from all of life's pressure. Even when it hurts so bad because you are laughing so hard, it still feels so good. Thanks to laughter yoga, when things feel really hard, complicated, or dismal.....I bellow out a deep one that cleanses my soul.
-Renee Watson Adams