The Cassie Hines Shoes Foundation kindly supported me to go on on a True North survivor/caregiver trek in the Selkirk Mountains in Idaho in the summer of 2018.

The Trek was hosted at the Eureka Institute, Idaho, about an hour’s drive from Spokane in Washington State. There was a gorgeous wooden cabin with giant windows looking out at trees and mountains in the distance, deer grazing on grass and a little home vegetable garden. TNT hosted five cancer survivor/caregiver ‘pairs’, all in our 20s and 30s, and we spent three days relaxing, going for hikes in the Selkirk Mountains, camping under the stars, kayaking and eating delicious food.

Before I went on this trip, I’d met few other young people who had dealt with the chaos of a cancer diagnosis and treatment.  It meant a lot to be able to connect with other people who had been through a similar experience, and was refreshing to be able to openly talk about treatment and the challenges of going back to our daily lives. I also appreciated being able to ask about how other people had transitioned back to work and university after treatment.

This trip was also extra special in that each person brought someone who had been a caregiver during their cancer experience. I brought my little sister, who flew from Australia to join me for the four days. When I was diagnosed with cancer it wasn’t just my life that got turned upside down; and I felt like going on this trek together was a way to take time to acknowledge how much my cancer diagnosis and treatment had affected not just me but her too.

I’d recommend a similar trip to anyone who’s interested – I’m so thankful to have been able to go on this trip.