“YACC came into my life at just the right time”May 8, 2013
Shannon Goddard says life was simpler and happier before she was diagnosed with cancer, even when she was a student studying to be an Engineer Technologist and a single mother to a two-year-old daughter. Life was about raising her now 10-year-old, figuring out relationships, and working for a small oil and gas company in Calgary, AB.
“I was on a good path both professionally and personally,” she said.
Then, in January 2012 at the age of 31, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
“I entered chemo less than a week after I found out I had cancer…It was hard to move into my parents’ house part-time as I learned to deal with the lack of control in my life. It was unbearable to not being able to be there for my daughter like I used to when I was healthy. It stalled my life,” she said. “Then I started processing that I had cancer and all that it entailed. It was (and still is) a lot to process. The hardest thing to think about is the fact that the treatment might not work; I might not be there to watch and help my daughter grow in to the beautiful young lady I know she will be.”
Shannon says she struggled with the expectation that she would be able to bounce back to her old routine when treatment was over. Attending Localife Calgary events helped her recognize how much she needed support from her cancer peers.
She said, “YACC came into my life at just the right time. I was just coming out of a very confusing time in my recovery, but was motivated to get to a better place. I have an amazing support system around me, but I had realized that they would never fully understand as they have not had cancer. After just one night with a handful of survivors and their supporters, I felt rejuvenated.”
That feeling was amplified after she attended Retreat Yourself Alberta at Lake Louise from April 18-22, 2013.
“The Retreat was like a Localife event, but tenfold. We were in a safe environment that let us dive into the real issues we were all dealing with on different levels. Everyone let their barriers down; there was no judgment, just understanding. There is something healing about telling your story and holding value to it. There is something inspiring about listening to others do the same. Getting to know people on a real level is something we rarely get to do as adults,” she said.
“Then we laughed together—the full body laughs, the ones that are made of pure joy—the most healing medicine of all. It is an experience that I will always hold close to me,” she said.
“The Retreat has been a true gift. I have made new friends and the experience has helped me shed light on my existing relationships. I now have a deeper understanding and appreciation for the supporters around me. I feel like I have some control over my life. Bringing everyone’s stories and insights with me has made me stronger. Though cancer will always be part of my story, it holds less power of fear over me.
“Thank you YACC and to every single generous person who made Retreat Yourself possible!”