|Ingrid Dedmore poses for a photo with her 3 year old daughter Alielah, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2010.|
On Jan. 20, Camp Soaring Eagle, a non-profit organization based in Sedona, welcomed 11 children and their families to a three-day Winter Oncology Retreat at Briar Patch Inn, a Bed & Breakfast located in Oak Creek Canyon.
The retreat was designed to give these families, who each have a child currently undergoing cancer treatment, a brief respite from medical treatments, doctors offices, and hospital rooms.
The 11 mothers attending the retreat also received a "Makeovers for Moms" day at Allie Ollie Boutique, located in the Village of Oak Creek, on Saturday, Jan. 21.
"The goal of Camp Soaring Eagle is to give kids with serious illnesses, and their families, a chance to discover the healing power of laughter, and the sheer joy of play that sickness has too long denied them," says Camp Soaring Eagle's Executive Director, Jennifer Perry. "We provide a camping experience filled with excitement, challenge, and fun, in a medically safe setting, all at no cost to the families."
From beauticians to magicians, golf pros to fitness instructors, the entire Northern Arizona community rallied to support Camp Soaring Eagle in this retreat. Dozens of businesses, organizations, and individuals volunteered their time or services, offering meals, transportation, fitness classes, archery instruction, animal interaction, and much more.
Among the list of volunteers who contributed all or part of their services were Briar Patch Inn, Allie Ollie Boutique, Pink Jeep Tours, Domino's Pizza, Red Rock Cafe, Red Rock Quilters, Babe's BBQ of Camp Verde, Gary Pearce of the Sedona Golf Resort, Aveda Red 115 Salon of Flagstaff, Kyle and Alicia French of Camp Verde, Noreen Ireland of Cornville, Magical Michael Steele, and Adobe Mountain Rescue Center of Phoenix.
Rob Olson, Owner of Briar Patch Inn, who is also a member of Camp Soaring Eagle's Board of Directors, donates his entire property and staff to host Camp Soaring Eagle's retreats twice a year.
This year, Olson's daughter, Allie Olson, decided to get involved, too, with the creation of the "Makeovers for Moms" day at her boutique in the Oak Creek Outlet Mall.
"I thought of the Moms - they are so focused on their children and their illnesses, they hardly ever think of themselves," said Olson. "I decided I wanted to give them an opportunity to treat themselves, to feel beautiful and fancy for one day."
On Jan. 21, a team of stylists welcomed the mothers at Allie Ollie Boutique, treating them to a complete shopping spree experience. Olson donated a head-to-toe outfit to each mother, and accessories to match.
Ingrid Dedmore, of Mesa, is the mother of 3-year-old, Alielah, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia a year and a half ago.
"This is the kind of thing you see on TV," said Dedmore. "You just never think, it could happen to me, " she says, as she points to her new fur-trimmed coat and jewelry she says reminds her of the beauty in life.
"Everyone thinks of the kids, of course," adds Annette Odom, whose 14-year-old daughter, Hope, is also undergoing treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. "But no one thinks of the Moms. This is just...beautiful. This entire weekend was amazing."
"I liken it to the old childhood story of Stone Soup," said Perry. "Seeing all these people come together from across Arizona to give these families one weekend of fun...was simply amazing."
Camp Soaring Eagle, Briar Patch Inn and Allie Ollie Boutique wish to thank all those who volunteered to make this Winter Oncology Retreat possible.