A 2 day pilot retreat was held in Saddleworth, Greater Manchester in August 2016 and I offered the below:

“Have you just been diagnosed with cancer? Do you have cancer? Are you recovering from cancer?  Ever considered how exercise might support you with your recovery?  Maybe you need some motivation to start or continue exercising?”

Giving people the opportunity to try physical activity, perhaps something you have done before or maybe completely different, in a safe, welcoming environment surrounded by like-minded people who understand what you are going through.

When you are diagnosed with cancer, people tell you to take it easy.  Yes, chemotherapy is hard but from the recent reports such as ‘ Exercise as a treatment for depression’ this can be the wrong thing to do.  Your wellbeing has so much to do with both your physical AND mental wellbeing.

I know cancer affects everyone differently but physical activity, I believe, does help with your physical wellbeing and gives you a focus and a buzz to get out.  The mental wellbeing that it can provide is a great help as a patient.  It’s also a vicious circle, we are ill, we eat, we put on weight, we get upset about it.  If you’re in this circle, you’ll understand the scenario.

The senario after Christmas, gyms are full of people starting out on New Year’s resolutions to keep fit but this has to change. We have to think about physical activity as a way of life.  If we are not doing it, why are we not doing it?  You HAVE to make time.  There are so many different things to try, there is something for everyone, it’s just a case of working out what’s right for you.  The NHS recommendations for adults are to undertake ‘at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week’ and also strength exercises for major muscles.

Everyone who knows me, sees how energetic I am and asks how I keep exercising? My answer, because it helps me hugely. Increased weight can increase the risk of disease for so many people from diabetes, to heart problems, to cancer.  What a better reason for physical activity than to try to help risk reduce cancer or a recurrence?  And to help prevent other health issues?

It truly is a way of life and I hope that in the time we spend together, I can help to motivate you and help you find something that you may want to continue for life and reach whatever goal you may have.

Dealing with a cancer diagnosis is tough, you may feel like you will never be your old self again but if you can find the motivation, you can become stronger; mentally and physically.  I’m hoping you can take the motivation back home with you even to your family and friends.  Supporting a patient in their fitness, is a really good way to help people to recover.

Lastly, my Oncologist Dr Greg Wilson quoted the below in a conversation we had before the pilot retreat:

“Number of patients harmed by exercise = 0
Number of patients having worse/poor outcomes due to
lack of exercise = countless”

Here is what to expect

There will be a range of activities to participate in across different parts to the retreat.

Nordic Walking flat route
Nordic Walking hill hike
Relaxation & therapies
May be a discussion with a trained professional, we previously had a talk on menopause.

NB : All the sessions are all led by fully qualified instructors/coaches and when you book I will provide details.

I’m hoping the retreat can help to give you or regain:

  • Motivation
  • Exercise
  • Strength
  • Support
  • Help
  • Shared experience
  • Meeting new friends
  • Time away from your normal life
  • Getting out in the fresh air
  • Seeing the beauty of Saddleworth that I love

Inclusive package:
2 day package: bed and breakfast rooms, all meals except Friday and Saturday evening meals.  Jogging, Nordic walk on a flat route and also hill walking with nordic poles, Iyengar yoga, personal time, enjoyment with new friends, group conversations.

Knowledge and guidance from experts teaching the classes or techniques.

I hope I can provide:

  • Excellence in attention – giving you the full support and attention for your experience • Make your stay as comfortable as possible • Provide an enjoyable experience through exercise, relaxation and fun • Help you feel at total ease through renewal, rejuvenation and a refreshing experience • Give you the techniques you need so that when you leave, you can hopefully continue to keep motivated and have self help in some areas.


Arrive late afternoon
Meet and greet with myself and other supportive people who will be helping on the retreat
Evening meal at the hotel or other restaurant

A short introduction to jogging approx 3 miles
Nordic Walking approx 3 miles
Stretching and relax with restorative yoga
Hand or foot massage by therapist
Evening meal at local restaurant

Early morning local Nordic Walk with hike to local beauty spot
Lunch and finish.

Plan your journey home around 3-4pm home time to take into consideration lunch and any transport connections and freshen up after the walk.

ABCD retreats

“Motivation & Exercise through recovery and beyond”

More information please look at:

Jo Taylor is a breast cancer advocate who enjoys fitness to help with her diagnosis of secondary breast cancer.  This diagnosis is incurable but treatable.  She is a huge advocate of keeping fit and healthy not just physically but mentally too and fitness which can help patients.  She regularly participates in cycling, running, Nordic Walking and yoga and wants other patients to benefit from the buzz you get from exercising whether you are a beginner, an intermediate or an experienced person, this can help with motivation or if you just like meeting other similar people who have similar interests or diagnosis then this is for you.

Her website provides support for primary and secondary breast cancer patients making informed choices with information, up to date news on treatments, breast surgeries, consultants, hospitals and other useful links.

Please watch this video to give you an idea of what the weekend is about abcd retreat video


  1. 10th-12th May 2024
  2. 21st-23rd June 2024
  3. 12th-14th July 2024
  4. 20th-22nd September 2024
  5. 4th-6th October 2024

Bookings are now being taken – click here to go to our booking form

Please email jo@abcdiagnosis.co.uk if you are interested and need more information.

WHERE: Saddleworth, Near Manchester, England 

The nearest train station is Greenfield, Saddleworth and I will provide details of your accommodation directly to you on booking.

COST: This is a fully funded or partially funded retreat, I am awaiting confirmation from a grant application but there will be a £50 non refundable deposit to secure a place on one of the retreats.