Typically, well over a thousand people would be getting together in Stowe today, for the 19th annual Stowe weekend of hope. But this year, it looks a little bit different.
What’s usually a peaceful retreat for cancer survivors and patients in Stowe, has taken a new format this year, thanks to the Coronavirus. The retreat usually draws about 1,200 people to the area, from across the country.
“As far as we know, we are the only organization, the only event that is for every single type of cancer. There are breast cancer events, there are different types of events for particular types of cancers. We’re the only one that we know of that’s for every single cancer, we’ve had upwards of fifty different cancers at an event,” says Valerie Rochon, Co-founder and Board Member.
But this year’s event almost didn’t happen… because a gathering of 1,200 people including immuno-compromised cancer survivors and patients wasn’t going to work.
“The idea of not being the host for all of these folks, was terrifying to us… and we didn’t want to let them down. And so some of our wonderful energetic board members and committee members said ‘well, why don’t we do it virtually’. And that was a huge decision for us because it’s always about being there together, for everybody,” says Rochon.
And even if it is virtual, the board members I spoke with are happy to still connect with and support their attendees and community they’ve built over the last 20 years. “We’re so glad that we can bring these methods of communication, where even if you cant be there holding someones hand, or giving them a hug, we’re all here saying we are here with you virtually. Even if you cant be there or your family or your friends cant be there in person, so we’re happy to be there,” says their Board Member, Hannah Normandeau.
For more information on the Stowe Weekend of Hope, click here