Weeklong Cancer Retreats


Residential Retreats for People with Cancer

Smith Center has been offering Weeklong Retreats for people with cancer since 1996—and they are still the core and the heart of all we do. Retreats offer a respite from everyday life with a cancer diagnosis and an opportunity to be fully immersed in healing.

 “The retreat was one of the most meaningful experiences of our lives…” 

The goal of our retreats is to empower participants to make life-affirming changes by providing tools and knowledge in a safe and caring community of others facing a cancer diagnosis. Participants will experience the healing power integrative and complementary therapies, group support, yoga and other relaxation techniques, gourmet whole foods meals, therapeutic massage, expressive arts and the opportunity to connect with those on a similar journey of healing.

Why take the time for a Retreat?

Smith Center retreats offer a place to explore the issues and choices that people with life-threatening illness encounter. We aim to provide a comfortable, nurturing environment and experiential healing options paired with the highest quality small-group support program.

Our Weeklong Retreats offer:

  • An intimate setting with skilled, professional staff (a one-to-one staff to participant ratio)
  • Delicious, whole foods, health-supportive meals and valuable information about the connection between diet and good health
  • Three therapeutic massages throughout the week
  • Creativity sessions offering another pathway to greater self-understanding in the face of cancer
  • One-on-one meetings with staff
  • Gentle morning yoga and training in meditation
  • Individual time for rest, nature walks, and reading
  • Group sessions with staff, focusing on both practical and profound choices in healing, pain management, death and dying, expressive writing, nutrition, and more.

 “Experiencing yoga, having access to the experts, eating meals that I can prepare, the massages, and individual sessions—the entire retreat was valuable”   -Retreat Participant

Cancer retreats provide a non-medical, educational, hands-on experience for patients and sometimes their primary caregivers. They are not a cancer therapy or treatment program.

Who should attend?

Weeklong retreats are for adults with any type of cancer at any stage in the cancer journey, including remission. Spouses, significant others, and caregivers are encouraged to participate.

Over the years we have observed that Smith Center retreats are most beneficial for those who seek to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and who are open to the work of personal transformation.

Participants must be under the care of a physician, able to care for themselves and participate in the daily program, and well enough to devote two-and-a-half concentrated days to the program.

Where are Weeklong Retreats held?

Residential retreats are held at a peaceful, countryside retreat center in Hallowood, Maryland- about one hour outside of Washington, DC. It is easily accessible by car and served by Washington area airports and metrorail (Shady Grove Station).

The property includes a lake, an historic log cabin, a walking labyrinth, hiking trails and local plant and animal life. Participant accommodations include individual rooms with private baths, and common dining and meeting areas.

How do I sign up?

We are not currently offering any weeklong retreats. To find out more about our current three-day retreat offerings contact retreats@smithcenter.org or 202.483.8600.

Smith Center strives to ensure that all retreat participants are prepared to benefit from the retreat experience. To begin the process, please request an application for the by emailing retreats@smithcenter.org or by calling 202.483.8600. Our retreats are intimate and limited to 9 participants, so please apply as early as possible.

What is the cost of the Weeklong Retreat?

The cost for the 7-day program is $2150 per person including individual accommodations at the retreat center and all meals. Please note that the cost to put on the retreat is over twice the amount charged to participants. The fee is generously supplemented by contributions from past participants and other friends who help us keep the price as reasonable as possible.

Partial scholarship assistance is available on a limited basis to those for whom the full fee is a barrier to participation.

Spouses and other close support people are welcome to enroll at the same fee and with full participation in the retreat program.

“The experience of being with people who at the deepest level understand what I am going through is unlike any other group that I might be with.”

Who staffs the Retreats?

Smith Center retreats are staffed by highly skilled professionals including a licensed psychotherapist, a yoga master, an oncology nursing specialist, a health-supportive chef, an art therapist, wellness educators, and bodyworkers. There is a one-to-one participant to staff ratio.

 “The people at Smith Center who are chosen to do this work are masterful in the art of healing, the art of facilitation and in helping you discover yourself, find your dreams, and feel a little safer and more hope as you struggle through life with cancer.”

What have previous participants said about the Retreat?

“I worried about taking the time and spending the money, but it’s been the very most important thing I’ve done to deal with my cancer – an investment in ME!”

“Words cannot express how your program changed my life… Thank you for the amazing gift of peace, quiet and true relaxation you bestowed upon me. I will never forget…”-KM

“I am so thankful… to your Center for perpetuating the premise of generosity, healing and love into my extremely stressful situation.” -AK

“…the retreat at Smith Center has been a bridge for me. The skilled and loving support of everyone made it possible to face and deeply touch many joys and sorrows… and then there was a wonderful release… a letting go.” – MB

“What a wonderful program Smith Farm puts on. My experience was profound and continues to have benefits.” – J

 “Cancer can be a lonely, isolating journey. I found a powerful community of fellow travelers at my Living Well with Cancer retreat and have returned home with hope and renewed energy, knowing we are all connected in a web of healing and love.”

 “We felt empowered, emboldened, to make things happen in our lives that not only enhanced us but gave something back to the world.”

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