For over twenty years, our life-enhancing retreats for people with cancer have been at the heart of our work. Smith Center retreats offer a respite from everyday life with a cancer diagnosis and an opportunity to be fully immersed in healing. Our retreats are designed to empower participants to make life-affirming changes by offering tools, knowledge, and support in a safe and caring community of others facing a cancer diagnosis.

If you have any questions, encounter problems with the online applications or would like to request a paper application, please contact Erin at or by calling 202.483.8600.


Retreat Attendees

We welcome adults with any type of cancer, at any stage, wherever they are on their cancer journey, including remission. The three-day retreats appeal to individuals who seek a nurturing environment in which to explore their issues and choices in living with cancer, but who can’t spare significant time away from work, family or other obligations.

Spouses, significant others, and caregivers are also welcome to attend as participants.

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 receptive 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.

Retreat Attendees

Our retreats provide a safe, relaxed and nurturing environment that invites participants to experience the healing power of many integrative and complementary therapies along with offering a small-group support program of the highest quality.

Our Three-Day Retreats offer:

  • A respite from the stresses of daily life with a cancer diagnosis in a nurturing environment for mind, body, and spirit
  • An opportunity to learn about and personally explore choices in healing
  • Gentle, therapeutic yoga and other relaxation techniques
  • Delicious whole-foods, health-supportive meals and valuable information about the connection between diet and good health
  • Group sessions with a licensed psychotherapist
  • A creativity session offering another pathway to greater self-understanding
  • Skills and tools to support you in living with cancer
  • An opportunity to connect with others on a similar journey of healing

Cancer retreats provide a non-medical, educational, hands-on experience for participants. They are not a cancer therapy or treatment program.

We recognize that attending a retreat is an investment of your time. Smith Center has designed an application process that strives to ensure that each participant is well-prepared to enter the retreat and benefit from the experience.

The process entails completion of an application and a telephone conversation with the Retreat Director.

  • If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are interested in attending a retreat, please fill out this application.
  • If you are a caregiver or companion who would like to accompany a cancer survivor on a retreat, please fill out this application.

If you have any questions, encounter problems with the online applications or would like to request a paper application, please contact Erin at or by calling 202.483.8600.

Our intimate retreats are limited to 9 participants, so please apply as early as possible.

Cancer Retreat Stroll

Three-day retreats begin mid-morning on Friday and conclude mid-afternoon on Sunday.

Retreat schedules include gentle morning yoga, training in meditation and stress reduction, creativity workshops, group sessions, facilitated discussions about the practical and profound choices in healing, and time to relax, have individual conversations with staff and participants, explore the natural beauty of our retreat setting and enjoy delicious, whole-foods meals.

Smith Center retreats are staffed by highly skilled, deeply committed professionals including a licensed psychotherapist, a yoga master, an oncology nursing specialist, a health-supportive chef, a creativity facilitator, integrative navigator and social worker. There is a one-to-one participant to staff ratio.

Dayspring Retreat Center


Our three-day retreats are held at Dayspring Retreat Center, set on a serene, relaxing reserve of over 200 acres in Germantown, Maryland.

Driving directions to Dayspring Retreat Center

The cost for the three-day program is $850 per person including individual accommodations (private bedroom and shared hall bathroom) at the retreat center. All meals (two on Friday, three on Saturday and two on Sunday) are included.

Please note that participants’ fees cover just a portion of the cost to Smith Center to offer this retreat. The fee is generously supplemented by contributions from past participants and other friends who help us keep the price as reasonable as possible.

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

We do have limited scholarship funds available, however, requests generally exceed our resources. In most cases, scholarship awards are offered in the amount of $250. Awards are made on a first come-first served basis. We encourage submittal of your application as early as possible.

To be considered for a scholarship, you must submit a completed retreat application and a separate scholarship application (included at the end of the online retreat application).

Once we receive your completed application, the Retreat Director will schedule a telephone conversation with you and we can discuss any individual scholarship needs at this time.

For more information
Call: 202.483.8600

“This [retreat] caused an unexplainable shift in my disease. I am so much more at peace…I cannot imagine this experience being better.”


The Guardian by Michael Winger

Retreat Reunion Event Information & Directions

The Guardian

Tina’s experience at her 2004 Cancer Retreat inspired her to create a healing garden in her home. The focal point of the garden is a sculpture, “The Guardian”, created by one of her fellow CHP participants, Michael Winger. “The concept of ‘The Guardian’ is that of avian forms protecting their eggs- their young. Four birds hover over and under their young with outstretched wings, protecting their young. When viewed from the side, the negative space created by the egg forms create two eyes. These are the eyes of the guardian. Others have seen an image of the Madonna and Child from the front, and lovers from the side. I think these images are all present in ‘The Guardian.’”

– Michael Winger, Artist and CHP Alum (2004)


The event is located at the home of Retreat alumna, Tina Cleland

9506 Culver Street, Kensington, MD 20895

The venue is ADA accessible. Street parking is available.

More information on Kensington, MD

METRO: The venue is close to the Medical Center, Grosvenor, and Bethesda Red Line Metro stations. From the station, it is a quick trip via Uber or Lift.

We will also have volunteers available to drive people from the Medical Center metro station to Tina’s house.

To request a pickup from the metro, please email DeAnne Nehra at by May 29, 2018.


There are a number of hotels in Kensington, Bethesda, and Silver Spring that are nearby.

If you are coming in from out of town and would like to request a place to stay with a local Cancer Retreat alum, please email DeAnne Nehra at by May 1, 2018. to request a placement. Spaces available are dependent on how many local Cancer Retreat alums volunteer to host. We cannot guarantee accommodation space will be available.

If you are a local Cancer Retreat alum and would like to volunteer to host a Cancer Retreat Alum from out of town please email DeAnne Nehra at to volunteer your home.