Fundraiser to benefit breast-cancer-survivor retreats
Dr. Renato Saltz founded the Image Reborn Foundation in 1998 because he saw a need to help breast-cancer survivors heal their souls.
"I have been involved in breast-cancer surgery pretty much since medical school and my training and my fellowships have been in breast reconstruction, which is a major portion of plastic surgery," Saltz said. "In the past 30 to 40 years, breast reconstruction surgery has progressed quite a bit, and I always thought we did great job dealing with the preventive methods, mastectomies, radiation treatments and reconstruction.
"We put these women through all the treatment and surgeries that fixes their bodies, but find that they still are very sad when they come back to the clinics for check ups," he said. "Some have family issues that are still unresolved. Many go through divorce or lose their jobs and have problems with their children, especially their daughters whose bodies are in the process or have already developed. I saw that there are still a lot for these women to deal with that we, as physicians, weren’t addressing."
The Image Reborn Foundation, now in its 13th year, offers three-day, no-cost healing retreats to breast cancer survivors in the mountains of Park City. The sessions include yoga, massage, facials, journaling and medical direction, Renato said.
However, while the sessions are offered for free to breast cancer survivors, they still cost money to organize. So, the nonprofit organization is holding its annual "The Legend of the Lotus" benefit gala on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. The black-tie event will begin at 6 p.m. To make reservations, call (435) 655-6612 or visit http://www.imagerebornfoundation.org .
Although the RSVP deadline says Sept. 26, Saltz said reservations will be taken up until the day before the event.
"We try to sell out the building," he said with a laugh.
The night will feature live and silent auctions, dinner and dancing and live music by the Joe Muscolino Band.
"Joe has been playing for us for the past 12 years," Saltz said. "He has a very good band."
In addition, the night will include a presentation by a breast cancer survivor.
"We invite someone who has attended a retreat to give a personal testimonial about her experience," Saltz said. "It’s all very elegant and entertaining and the goal is to raise enough money for the next year’s retreats."
The retreats, which are held up to 14 times a year, are another way breast cancer survivors can spend time talking with others who are in the same situation, Saltz said.
"They use the time to get a lot of their issues out of their systems, build incredible networks and, hopefully, help them (on the) inside to cope with their new lives," he said. "We also provide psychologists and doctors to talk with these women and bring in chefs to cook for everyone.
"We want to keep them busy and entertained, but at the same time give them the opportunity to have some incredible interactions with one another," Saltz said.
Although doctors, including Saltz attend, they try not to put the focus on the medical aspect of cancer survival.
"Those sessions we do don’t go longer than an hour and are mostly just question and answer periods," he said.
Since the first retreat in 1999, Saltz has felt these outings have helped the women more than he thought they would.
All of the women participating in the retreat come from different backgrounds socially, culturally and economically," he said. "Regardless, they still keep in touch with each other through blogs and websites, and, after 10 years still have a connection with their groups."
Those who attend the retreats are just not from Utah.
"We’ve had women come from all 50 states and seven other countries," he said.
Throughout the years, the Image Reborn Foundation has even created retreats for specialized groups.
"We have noticed that we have been getting a lot of interest from the Hispanic community, so we have been able to provide three to four retreats a year just for Hispanic survivors," Saltz said. "We also have retreats just for women who have metastatic breast cancer, which is a more advancde stage of the disease. Those retreats are designed to help them deal with the advanced stages and death."
There has also been an increase of younger women who are survivors.
"We developed a young-survivor retreat for women in their 20s and 30s, who have different needs of those who are in their 50s and 60s," Saltz said. "I enjoy seeing these women rebuild their self-esteem and identity beyond cancer.
Renato said seeing how the Image Reborn Foundation has helped breast cancer survivors is one of the most rewarding aspects of his professional career.
The Image Reborn Foundation will hold its annual "The Legend of the Lotus" benefit gala on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Stein Eriksen Lodge in Deer Valley. The black-tie event will begin at 6 p.m. The cost is $200 per person. To make reservations, call (435) 655-6612 or visit http://www.imagerebornfoundation.org .
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