When local Samaara Robbins was being treated for breast cancer in 2009, she took time out for a few spa treatments.
"Massage was truly the only time I felt I could go into a space and close the doors and not have cancer for an hour," she said.
So when Robbins graduated from treatment a few years back, she became trained in oncology massage, a service she now offers through her business Basecamp Bodyworks. She wants to help others experience the same therapy she did, which is also why Robbins volunteers for Colorado nonprofit SPA 4 The Pink.
SPA 4 The Pink is dedicated to "changing the healing journey for people who happen to have cancer" by providing free spa services, in conjunction with music and art therapy.
The nonprofit is hosting an event in Summit County July 28.
A spa day can be a respite for cancer patients, said organization founder Julie Bach, who started on her mission after both her parents died from the disease.
Mind-body-spirit components such as meditation and yoga, and spa components like massage, have a positive impact on improving the quality of life for cancer patients and survivors, Bach said. Besides its involvement in providing that respite, the nonprofit also works to educate people about how spa can support healing from cancer. (The organization is hosting webinars soon meant to connect oncology specialists and spa professionals; Bach said they're led by "incredible medical doctors" supportive of her mission).
In fact, Bach said some researchers are now coming to find that stress-reducing therapies may have a positive impact on telomeres, which in turn affects cancer; the organization also wants to help study that connection, she said.
The free spa days for patients and their caregivers are held a few different times a year in locations throughout Colorado. Volunteers like Robbins lend their services in 20-30 minute blocks per patient; At the upcoming Summit event, attendees have access to massage, an aesthetician, yoga and meditation.
"People don't come for just one service, they try all of them," Bach said.
All of the specialists helping out at the upcoming event work in Summit - Besides Robbins, there's Emily Steingart of Mountain Yoga Therapy, along with Val Swentkowski and Yvonne Zook from Anew You Massage. That's important because often, Summit cancer patients travel out-of-county to receive treatment, and this event should help them become aware of spa-therapy services available locally, Robbins said.
"Our model is to train people, and facilitate that (connection) between the local community," Bach said.
For more information about the organization, visit www.spa4thepink.org