Image Reborn Foundation hopes to spread mission
Nonprofit provides retreats for women with breast cancer
April 7, 2017
It never ceases to make Faye Keller well up with emotion.
Keller is a retreat facilitator for the Image Reborn Foundation, a local nonprofit that hosts women with breast cancer or breast cancer survivors for luxurious weekend getaways in Park City homes or lodging properties. The retreats begin on Friday evenings. And each time, within a few hours, the women begin to bond.
For Keller, who has seen the ravages of cancer while working as a lobbyist for the American Cancer Society, it's a heartwarming experience. For the first time in months, or perhaps years for some women, they are given a weekend without doctors, doctor's offices, chemotherapy and the everyday responsibilities like work and parenting that don't stop when a diagnosis is given. And importantly, they share the experience with people who know exactly what it's like to be battling cancer.
"These can be women in their 20s or their 50s, but that common thread, that shared experience of the journey of cancer, bonds them," Keller said. "Many of them have said, 'I don't have to explain anything. I can just start right here, and people accept me and they know what I've gone through.'"
Now in its 18th year, Image Reborn has become a source of happiness for hundreds of women with breast cancer or survivors. It's even created lifelong friendships, Keller said, as most of the women who attend stay connected through Facebook or other means. Some have even organized reunions years later because, while the retreats only last three days, the connection the women share runs deep.
"It's just wonderful to see the women be able to share and talk about things that they wouldn't feel comfortable sharing with friends at home who may not have gone through the journey," she said. "They create friendships for the rest of their lives."
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Throughout the years, Image Reborn has become well known for its retreats. Despite that, Keller said many people, in Park City and elsewhere still don't know the organization exists. Given that, Image Reborn is ramping up efforts to spread the word in the hope that more women will come to the organization for help and that donors will pitch in to meet that increased demand.
Keller said there's a number of ways Parkites can pitch in, ranging from making donations at the organization's annual gala in October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — to providing use of a home for a retreat to simply pointing a friend or family member with cancer to the group's website, imagerebornfoundation.org.
The Park City community has been gracious to Image Reborn for years, and Keller is hopeful Parkites will step up to support the organization well into the future.
"It's happening right here in your community, and it's something that people can either donate financially or volunteer," she said. "If it pulls in one or two women who are going through this, and they didn't know about the retreats, it'll change their lives."
Any woman around the country who is fighting breast cancer, or who has beaten it, is eligible to attend a retreat. Keller said it's important for all women who have been diagnosed with the disease to understand they are welcome at the retreats, which include spa and therapy services and are catered by personal chefs, regardless of the severity of their diagnoses.
"Often times we have women say, 'Oh, I don't deserve it — they caught my breast cancer early, so I only had to have 10 treatments,'" she said. "The answer to that is, 'No, you're receiving this for four words: You have breast cancer.' Those women come and say it's an experience they'll never forget.
"There's always a spot for a woman who's endured breast cancer."
For more information about the foundation, visit imagerebornfoundation.org. Women with breast cancer or breast cancer survivors can apply online in minutes to attend a retreat.