Image Reborn retreats serve as a place for those diagnosed with breast cancer to connect with each other and heal.

I pause to marvel at the shadowed outline of the Mount Timpanogos and the ebony sky as I approach the three-story, posh home. Once inside, I join a warm gathering of seven extraordinary and diverse women, each of whom has traveled a different path of challenges. The one thing we have in common is a diagnosis—past or present—of breast cancer. 

“At the Heart of It” is the theme for Image Reborn 2020, where I find myself for the weekend. At no cost to those in attendance, the retreat serves as a place to relax, connect with other survivors, rejuvenate, and heal. We begin with a talking circle, sharing personal stories, challenges, and how finding our way through breast cancer has forever changed our lives. There are no interruptions, no judgments made, and no advice is given. We are all aware of how a sense of our identities have been placed in the shadows of breast cancer. As we nurture the mind and body through yoga, meditation, massages, chef-prepared dinners, guest speakers, and conversations, we forge connections that openly expose sorrows and strength.

By the end of the weekend, we’ve created a bond of emotional support and friendship. As each of us turns in a separate direction, our journeys continue, stronger from knowing each other and thankful to Image Reborn for supporting the need within each of us.

Image: Image Reborn

How Image Reborn Came to Be

In the United States, one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. And an estimated 2,470 men are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Image Reborn was founded in 1998 by Dr. Renato Saltz, a local plastic surgeon. Throughout his years of surgically treating breast cancer, he came to realize that the emotional pre-and post-surgery treatments that accompany breast cancer—physical body changes, hormone change, side effects of chemotherapy, radiation, hysterectomies, and numerous reconstructive surgeries—were being overlooked. Image Reborn helps fill that void.

Get involved

In coming months, there are plenty of opportunities to party (and ski) while raising funds to support cancer patients and survivors—and to help fund research.

Pink Park City, benefiting Huntsman Cancer Institute, hits the slopes on March 28.

The third annual Pink Park City, benefiting the Huntsman Cancer Institute, returns to Canyons Village at Park City Mountain on March 28. Don pink for a day of skiing/riding, checkpoint challenges, a “Rally for Hope” parade, costumes and plenty of après opportunities—in fact, you can participate sans skis or snowboard if you so choose. For team registration and information, visit hope.huntsmancancer.org/pinkparkcity

Night of Empowerment, held May 2, helps raise funds toward Image Reborn retreats.

Image: Image Reborn

On May 2, Image Reborn, imagerebornfoundation.org, hosts a Night of Empowerment celebration and fundraiser at Adib’s Rug Gallery in Salt Lake City. The non-profit’s swanky annual gala (this year with a Roaring ’20s theme) takes place September 26 at Stein Eriksen Lodge.

To learn more about the symptoms and how to support yourself or someone you know visit breastcancer.org

A Note of Personal Gratitude

I continue on my path with heartfelt gratitude—and not just for the Image Reborn experience. Breast Cancer is a journey in which the medical professionals that you choose become a strong network of support. In my case, two extraordinary surgeons guided me through the ordeal with their surgical gifts, care, and positive support: Dr. Vanessa Hart, general surgeon at Park City Hospital and Dr. Devan Griner, plastic and reconstructive surgeon at Elevation Plastic Surgery. The care I received from the entire team at Park City Hospital was so inspiring that I ultimately accepted a position on the hospital’s staff.

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