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Bladder Cancer Retreat 2023

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Our 2nd Annual patient and caregiver's retreat was held on February 18-19th, 2023.

Here's a wrap up from our power-couple, patient Hans, and his wife and caregiver, Annie ~

Say what?! Twelve months have gone by?! No way!!!

It seems like yesterday we were meeting at the RACV Healesville Country Club for our inaugural Retreat. We met up with our BCA family just after lunch.


It was great to see patient and yoga-extraordinaire Daisy Sonter-Kelso spread her own brand of sunshine leading the group through her gentle meditation/yoga session. Thank you, Daisy. We wish you good health.

Our next activity – Art. I shuddered at the thought reflecting at my own art prowess which hadn’t progressed much past kindergarten and stick figures. Octavia Tomyn, an accomplished artist, was charged to help us create our self portraits through continuous bare lines.

Octavia gently encouraged us to create and frame our portraits thinking about our life experiences and likes. It was fantastic to see the end results.

We had a couple of hours to chill back at our rooms before coming back together at the Grand Conservatory for a Palms Springs inspired dinner.

Before dinner, we heard an inspirational tale from Alex Johnson, Zoe’s partner, who played AFL at the highest level. His playing career was cruelly shortened by successive knee injuries. His story is one of utmost resilience in the face of many setbacks. Good luck for the future Alex.

The food was lovely and plentiful. Burp!

The company was, as always, fantastic.

This year’s attendees again drew on a wide spectrum of association of patients and carers.

Patients just going through the discovery and diagnosis of Bladder Cancer talk to patients and carers who have progressed through various treatment opportunities. It broadens our community gives strength and comfort to all.


It was great to have supporters of the cause with us. Lauren and Lee Casuscelli. Nice to have met you and thank you for your ongoing commitment. Thanks also to Emma and Harry for their fundraising efforts. A lovely surprise to Mum and Dad.

Bedtime for the young ones! We walked away with bellies full and much laughter.


Next morning, a sumptuous buffet breakfast before heading back to the James Room.

We heard from Barry Knights, one of our more recent patients, and his remarkable lifetime journey to date. Barry is so committed to ensuring Bladder Cancer is spoken about openly and honestly in the public. His ability to communicate to a large audience via his online television station and FM Radio station is one of the tools to shine a light on the people, rather than statistics. Good luck Barry with your journey. A special mention to Barry's nephew of Chocolate Works fame, who provided our very #bladdercanceraware treats.

Hannah Weir and her partner Alex Glinski rounded off our Retreats activities with a Mindfulness session leaving us with a sense of calm and well-being.


It was time to say our farewells. Stephanie, Zoe ( + Baby Bump), Alex and the extended Demkiw clan. Thank you for continued devotion and love for our BC family.


To our beautiful extended BC family ~ Love to you one and all,

Hans and Annie

BCA would like to acknowledge our colleagues at Merck and Pfizer who, through their commitment to patient and carer advocacy initiatives, have provided generous financial supported to this year’s Wellness Retreat.



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