|Laura and her daughters|
|Carolina in her hometown in Spain|
To contact Carolina, please email cjohnson (at) debreastcancer.org.
|Deloris kayaking at a Nurture with Nature outing.|
Growing up in Virginia, Deloris Donnelly learned to love and appreciate the great outdoors at a young age. She developed a knack for teaching others about nature and has served as a nature educator, teacher, naturalist, master gardener, and even sat on the Governor’s Commission for Parks & Recreation. Nature has always been a big part of her life and with the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition’s Nurture with Nature program, she has shared her knowledge and passion with breast cancer survivors for more than 5 years.
After her own breast cancer journey, Deloris asked DBCC Program Manager Lois Wilkinson if she would like to start a hiking group for breast cancer survivors. And in 2006, the Nurture with Nature program was born when Lois and Deloris hosted their first outing at Abbott’s Mill. Deloris recalls a wide variety of ladies showed up for this first event and they all had one thing in common: they all had their own breast cancer journey. “People didn’t know each other at that event but they learned a few new things about nature and they were excited about it.”
|Nurture with Nature at Redden State Forrest in October 2011|
Additional Nurture with Nuture photos on DBCC’s Flickr site.
After that first event, Deloris and Lois recognized a real need for this type of program. “The goal was to get breast cancer survivors outdoors and get their minds away from treatment and cancer,” Deloris said. Lois and Deloris started planning monthly outings at different state parks and nature centers throughout the First State. They have visited places like Peterson Nature Center, Bombay Hook, Assawoman Bay, and many more and have hosted a wide variety of programs including wildflower hiking, birding, biking, shelling and various other outdoor activities.
The Nurture with Nature program has also served as a great introduction to Delaware for many breast cancer survivors. “There were a lot of survivors who were new to Delaware and this was a great way to introduce them to a warm, welcoming group and explore some of the most beautiful places in Delaware,” Deloris said. Even the longtime Delawareans discover some places in Delaware that they didn’t know about.
|Deloris talking to the survivors at Slaughter Beach.|
Deloris has received great support from participants of the Nurture with Nature program. “Some ladies don’t particularly like nature but they grow and blossom in the program,” she said. “Sometimes we have a new participant, who is hesitant to try something new like kayaking, but we pair them with someone who has done it before and they always have a good time and want to do it again.”
Nurture with Nature co-founder Lois Wilkinson says that she could not have started the program without her. “Deloris has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to nature. She has introduced all of Delaware’s state parks to us and shown survivors the benefits of being out in nature while healing and recovering from breast cancer.” Deloris says that she just wanted to find a way to share her love of nature with other people. “I think for some breast cancer survivors the traditional, indoor support groups can be very tense and fearful. Many find it much easier to talk during the outdoor activities that are relaxing and educational,” she said.
Testimonials from Nurture with Nature participants:
“It really helped getting exercise and helping to get your thoughts on nature. Deloris is a wonderful person. We are really going to miss a good friend and cancer survivor.”—Joan Golden
“The Nurture with Nature program has been extremely beneficial. It provides such a welcomed opportunity to enjoy nature and to become immersed in the miracles that it presents. Having someone with Deloris’ expertise and genuine love of nature make the experiences all the more wonderful. Her generosity of spirit, her compassion and support, and her sensitivity to each person’s circumstances are both endearing and quite unique. All of us have been touched in such a positive and substantive way by her presence and involvement.” –Susan Chaffinch
“I have always enjoyed the beauty and calming effect of nature. Having the opportunity to share that feeling in the company of fellow breast cancer survivors is wonderful—and then to learn so much information in a fun and interesting way on top of all that from Deloris, not only a survivor, but an extremely knowledgeable naturalist as well—that’s amazing!” –Merry Jones
For more information about the Nurture with Nature program, please contact DBCC Program Manager Lois Wilkinson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 302-672-6435.
Two DBCC Staff Members, Kelly Kershaw and Caitlin Dalik, both of the Wilmington office, graduated from the National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Project LEAD Institute. Kelly and Caitlin participated in the course on July 17-22, 2011 in La Jolla, California. The course enrolled 50 breast cancer advocates from all over the country. The Project LEAD Institute is an intensive 6-day course which trains breast cancer advocates in the science of breast cancer so that they can better understand and analyze breast cancer research and policy. The course included lessons on the language and concepts of cancer biology, basic epidemiology, research methodology, and more. Several other DBCC Staff members have also completed the course.
Photo caption: Kershaw (left) and Dalik of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition on a Project LEAD Institute field trip at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California. Scripps is a medical research facility that focuses on research in the basic biomedical sciences.