The #abcdretreat to recovery – exercise for breast cancer patients

Held 26-28 August 2016

9 ladies had applied to attend a pilot exercise retreat for breast cancer patients who were recovering from treatment and one lady had decided to join just before she had her mastectomy.  These were ladies who ranged from doing little or no exercise to some who exercised moderately to regularly.

They were booked into local accommodation – 3 shared cottages at and shared the experience together.  After a quick introduction from myself about abcdiagnosis and why I had created it and my history, they settled down for a discussion with Dr Jacqui Stringer from The Christie hospital to discuss issues in and around the menopause and issues with breast cancer ladies.  It certainly broke the ice if there was any!  It was a very informative talk and I do think many gained valuable take away information from this discussion.

We went for a meal after at a local pub and the professionals who were providing coaching on the weekend also came along for an informal meet and greet over food and drink.

The next morning, Saturday, consisted of a 9.30am start collecting the ladies to meet at Dovestones reservoir for cycling.  Alan and Gaynor Keane (U Project) and Scott (cycling coach) met us at the reservoir with the bikes and helmets, went through some safety information about the bikes and off we went.  The weather kept dry and was perfect and they all seemed to enjoy the experience even though some found it challenging.


Finished we made our way back to the accommodation for lunch which I had arranged.

Lunch over, we were off to meet Howard the running coach (Howard Chambers – ) in Delph for a run through the Castleshaw valley, it was quite muddy and wet on the first part but we made it in one piece with people running and walking.  We trotted back down hill and completed 3.5 miles.  A downpour of rain when we got to the car we went to the next activity which was Iyengar yoga with Susie Savage for restorative yoga and relaxation.


Activity completed I collected them from the yoga studio ( and went back to the accommodation where Jennifer Young ( ) provided gift bags for the ladies, also organized a massage therapist (Christina Murray – ) for hand or feet massages for them for a well needed relaxation.

A great way to end a busy day, I collected them at 8.15 for a meal at another lovely local restaurant ( where we chatted the night away where we had a well-deserved cocktail or glass of wine before they headed back to their accommodation ready for the final day.

An early morning start, we met at my running buddy Jo’s house ready for the ascent up the hill and many peoples first experience of Nordic walking.  Alan and Gaynor Keane from U Project provided the coaching for this.  After a quick demo and try with the poles, we set off.  It was quite a hard walk and ascent up the hill and then it flattened out a little as we walked over to Alphin view point, to where we could see where we had cycled the previous day.  It had been misty morning but the sun had broken though and the clouds and mist had blown away thankfully!  It was definitely a WOW moment and a great finale to the weekend.  A very emotional moment.


We then proceeded to walk over to Aldermans hill where Pots and Pans War Memorial obelisk stands and on arrival some local information and history about the area.  We made the descent back to Jo’s house for tea, coffee and I had brought sandwiches for everyone for lunch.  ½ hour later we had to drop 5 ladies at the local train station to catch their connection to go home.

The other 3 ladies went back to the accommodation (one had left Saturday night due to family commitments) to pack and head off home at their leisure.

From the feedback already received, they thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and I hope this can be repeated as from the comments, it has proven a huge success.  I have had reports of not just increased exercise but more regular exercise, motivation and even weight loss which for some which was a specific goal.  A couple of people have taken up running and it has even spurred others on who have read about the retreat to start exercise!

I hope that the experience has done what it was expected to do which was to motivate people and give them confidence to maybe try something new and initial indications are very positive.  I can see that people are already making life changes to help them recover better and improve their health.

Even if I don’t hold any further retreats, I know I have gained some more friends and helped them in their recovery from breast cancer.




Please contact me on if you are interested in further information about any subsequent retreats

I have included many photots from the weekend and there maybe others to view on this link

Thank you to Greater Sport and GMVCO who provided grants to support the weekend and see my vision.

To all the professionals who helped provide the activities over the weekend, the local businesses supporting me and to my friends Jo and Jane for your help over the weekend and ongoing support.