Thea is a Haliburton resident who comes to the Abbey Retreat Centre with a wealth of teaching and curriculum-building experience. In addition to her experience in Canadian schools, Thea was an active volunteer internationally implementing literacy, nutrition, and health programs for children in India and educational HIV/AIDS programmes in Africa. She is a volunteer with several other local community organizations.
A cancer diagnosis for her daughter, and later, her husband, profoundly affected her relationship towards this disease. In her words, “both had cancers that were life threatening involving surgery and heavy treatments with debilitating side effects and the caregiver role fell to me. Caring for a loved one with cancer becomes a lifelong task; the fear of recurrence is ever present.”
It was the search for wholeness and stability in the midst of living with a cancer diagnosis, that led Thea to help establish the Abbey Retreat Centre. The hope was that participants might find a community of support, understanding and care to nurture and mitigate the discombobulating effects of cancer for both caregiver and cancer participant.