Nature Is the Best Medicine

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Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition Comes to Killen’s Pond

The Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) is hosting a unique opportunity for survivors of Breast Cancer to explore and enjoy nature together. Through the Nurture with Nature program Breast Cancer survivors will be coming together on Monday, September 12 from 5:00pm to 6:30pm at Killen’s Pond State Park to experience nature and the peacefulness it has to offer.

The Nurture with Nature program is a series that allows breast cancer survivors to come together and experience nature through hiking, kayaking, biking, horseback riding and walking. These outings have occurred approximately once a month over the past three years throughout the state of Delaware and help to encourage survivors to stay active and in touch with other survivors.

DBCC Program Manager, Lois Wilkinson, helped start the program along with former DBCC board member and survivor, Deloris Donnelly. “There was just a need for this program…one that gives survivors camaraderie with other survivors and lets them know that they have others who they can talk to,” Lois explained.

Unique from the traditional support group, Nurture with Nature takes women out of meeting rooms and brings them to the great outdoors. “I know there is a lot of value in traditional support groups, which cannot be unstated,” Nurture with Nature participant Betty Lou Chiffon said. However, “Having the opportunity to meet other breast cancer survivors in a non-clinical setting helps to take some of the pressure off. There’s a lot of camaraderie and support while enjoying outdoor activities and learning about nature.”

Nurture with Nature contains hands-on educational components led by naturalist and breast cancer survivor Deloris Donnelly, creator of the DBCC program. “I gained both peace and strength from observing life through nature,” she said of her own breast cancer journey. “It gives you a wonderful reassurance that nature is a cycle, and proof that life and nature do go on in a beautiful way.”

Perhaps the most important part of the Nurture with Nature program is for women to forget about the stress in their lives. “For those 3 hours or so, these women can forget about their cancer and have a good time,” she said. Betty Lou agrees. “Nature can be very nurturing especially when shared with friends…The experience is life-giving and the benefits are truly therapeutic.”

Chiffons also finds reassurance and encouragement in spending time with long-term survivors. “I was paired up for kayaking with an older woman who’s a long-term survivor, and we just had a ball,” commented Chiffons. “I drove home on such a natural high that I didn’t even take my pain meds that day. There’s a lot of therapeutic value in laughter and we certainly do a lot of that.”

Aside from being outside in nature, the program promotes physical activity too. “With all of the dialogue about how exercise and good nutrition can lower your chances of having breast cancer, the Nurture with Nature series is a chance for these survivors to exercise outdoors.” Lois explained that some participants try a new activity like hiking or canoeing and return to the sites on their own with friends and family.

The Nurture with Nature Program at Killen’s Pond State Park on Monday, September 10 is a great opportunity for Breast Cancer survivors to have fun, connect with other survivors and enjoy nature. Transportation is offered from DBCC offices in Dover and Lewes for the event and participants are reminded to bring comfortable walking shoes. For more information or to register for any Nurture with Nature programs, contact Lois Wilkinson, DBCC Special projects Manager, at 302-672-6435 or lwilkinson@debreastcancer.org.