How This Journey Started…
Journey to be FREE Naturally™ originated in New Hampshire in 2010 as a free cancer survivorship and healthy lifestyle program to naturally help cancer survivors stay FREE (Feel inspired, Release stress, Eat healthy, Exercise) of cancer after treatment and bridge that transition gap from cancer care to self-care. Catherine Desfosses, a 20+ year cancer survivor living with lymphedema, retired paralegal and certified yoga teacher, identified a need for a comprehensive cancer support program for the whole family and was committed to meet that need.
In 2012, Catherine and her husband retired to Asheville, North Carolina, and she brought the Journey to be FREE Naturally™ program with her. To fulfill her grand vision of opening a brick-and-mortar community cancer support and wellness center to offer support services, education, wellness programs, and sense of community free of charge to all those touched by any type of cancer, she converted the Journey to be FREE Naturally™ program into a North Carolina 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2013.
Over the next few years, Journey to be FREE focused solely on creating a solid organizational foundation to build its infrastructure upon, making strong connections within the community, cultivating relationships with cancer care providers, and forming alliances with local cancer support groups and other cancer-related nonprofit organizations.
Today, Journey to be FREE is a critical community cancer support resource to help cancer survivors restore health and wholeness, recover from the side effects of treatment, reflect on the cancer experience, and redesign a healthy and happy lifestyle to move beyond surviving to thriving in life.
Our philosophy is grounded on how “we can best serve” to improve the cancer experience and the health and well-being of those impacted by a cancer diagnosis. We inspire, educate, and empower the individuals we serve to be active participants in their health and to take back their life; to move beyond illness and mindfully redesign a life filled with peace and wellness; to be healthy, happy and FREE in mind, body and soul; to help prevent a recurrence of cancer; to help manage living with lymphedema and other permanent side effects of cancer treatment; and, most importantly, to thrive in a joyful, purposeful life FREE of cancer!
A Community Cancer Support & Wellness Center for individuals and families impacted by cancer.
Journey to be FREE is committed to be that Community Cancer Support & Wellness Center for WNC. To be that gathering space with a homelike setting, positive uplifting atmosphere, and caring professionals delivering ongoing support, educational workshops, wellness programs, healthy lifestyle classes, social activities, and connection to resources in ONE place, free of charge. To be that space where individuals and families facing cancer will be surrounded by healing support and can connect with others experiencing a similar situation. Having access to such a space may be the only time people dealing with the everyday stresses and struggles associated with a cancer diagnosis can find respite, feel “free” and have a sense of normalcy in their life.
What does the Butterfly Leaving the Rainbow Trail in the Journey to be FREE logo mean?
“The Journey to be FREE logo represents my personal emotional and spiritual journey as a survivor of cancer. I am sure other survivors may resonate with the meaning of this logo. The logo as a whole represents rebirth, courage, being a ‘surthrivor’ not cancer’s victim, and finding the good [hidden gift] that comes from suffering. The gray shadow reflects letting go of what no longer serves you, shedding old patterns, and leaving behind despair, fear, anxiety. The heart shape center signifies self-love, non-judgment, compassion, love for life, and gratitude. The rainbow trail symbolizes personal growth, natural transformation, and the creation of a colorful and spirited life filled with health, happiness, and inner peace! Be free to be true to yourself. Be the golden butterfly and illuminate in the new life that you mindfully create every day! Life is a journey to be embraced every step of the way!” ~ Catherine Desfosses, Founder
What makes Journey to be FREE unique?
1) We serve individuals impacted by any type of cancer, at any phase, or any income level.
2) All services and programs are always free of charge to people impacted by a cancer diagnosis.
3) A Cancer Concierge to help create a personalized cancer support plan for the best possible positive experience.
4) A variety of programs to choose from to meet people wherever they are in their journey.
5) 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization managed by a team of volunteer professionals who have been impacted by cancer.
6) There are no paid personnel or salaries to keep operating costs low.
7) Programs and services are delivered by licensed, registered or certified professionals in their field of expertise.
8) Opportunities for people with specific skills (“careholders”) who wish to give back and help others.
9) Innovative and forward-thinking.
10) Equine-Assisted Healing for Cancer Survivors (Private Sessions)
11) 100% of monies raised and donated go to support local individuals and families.
12) That ONE place to go to belong to a caring and compassionate community so that no one journeys cancer alone.