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Epic Experience

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Centers to Support the Independence of Specific Populations, Health, Human Services

Mission: Epic experience seeks to engage adult cancer survivors as well as their caregivers in the healing process by providing a retreat where participants can experience adventure, seek solace in the peaceful surrounds, and establish a supportive community amongst fellow survivors.

Target demographics: To support adult cancer survivors to live beyond cancer

Direct beneficiaries per year: 300

Geographic areas served: United States

Programs: Fundraising and public awareness continue to be a main focus in order to provide free week long camps. In 2014, epic experience provided five free week long camps and a weekend retreat to cancer survivors and caregivers. In 2015, epic experience plans to provide eight free week long camps to cancer survivors.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

EPIC Experience is truly that.....EPIC. This was a transforming time for me when I attended camp this past summer. It’s about bonding with unlikely peers, getting out of your comfort zone and get busy living. When you are diagnosed with cancer it is very easy to crawl into bed and sleep your life away. EPIC Experience reminded me that I need to get out from under the covers and remember what life is about. They reminded me that cancer does not own me or define me. I love that their were thrivers and survivors of all ages. We had folks from 19 years old to 49 years old and it amazed me how well we molded together. This week long camp was truly transforming. Although other programs exist - they all seem to focus on young adults. Why does there have to be any limitation on age for encouraging cancer thrivers to get out and live? The best part of this camp was the different dynamics of everyone. Bonding within different stages of cancer, diagnosis and age IS a very big piece of the success of EPIC Experience. Thank you EPIC Experience team, volunteers and sponsors!!!

Michael W.7

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was on a journey with cancer and needed to "find" my new normal, EPIC Experience did that for me! The words "you've got cancer" rocked me to my core. Even after successful treatment and 3 years of clean check-ups my heart, mind, spirit, and soul still needed healing. I didn't realize what I had lost until I attended an EPIC Experience week-long winter camp and found my "joy" again. I got to play hard, reflect much, and discover the new "me" beyond my cancer diagnosis. Sharing this experience with fellow cancer battlers, survivors, and thrivers launched me into a place of "newness" that I so very much needed. Show up, be present is my new life motto! I now volunteer for EPIC so that others can experience the life beyond!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Epic Experience helped me heal the wounds that cancer left behind. They helped me find my inner strength and in turn I received friendships and support from others just like me.

Board Member

Rating: 5

“When I is Replaced by We, Illness Becomes Wellness!”
This quote by Malcolm X represents literally what I believe in! Togetherness is a key factor when it comes to well-being. Togetherness and the healing power of nature are exactly the two elements Epic Experience provides to cancer survivors, fighters, and thrivers.

I had completed active treatment for my primary brain cancer six months prior to participating in my week-long outdoor adventure camp. With twelve other cancer patients, I took on kayaking, horseback riding, stand-up paddling, and more. Lodging, food, gear, guides, nurses, a chef, etc.—everything was sponsored through Epic! Almost too good to be true!
Since my energy was slowly coming back after a year of chemotherapy, I enjoyed being physically active again. The one thing I was not prepared for, though, was cancer’s emotional aftermath.
While the world around me was moving on, my entire life had changed. I found myself sans career, sans doctor appointments that dictated most of my life over the past two years, and sans perspective.
Spending a week in the beautiful state of Colorado, on a ranch I instantly fell in love with, paired with profound conversations around the campfire and the loving care of all the volunteers, helped me to come out with a deeper understanding of what I care about and need in my future life.
Upon coming back home, I made the decision to not go back to work and dedicate my life to the cancer community instead. I am well aware that having this choice is a privilege denied to many—and I am very grateful for my outstanding German disability insurance.
I told Mama Lou (Epic's Founder and CEO) that I wanted to be more involved. Only a couple weeks later, I became a member of Epic’s Alumni Team—a group of Epic Experience alumni who focus on engaging former campers through technology, activities, and volunteer opportunities.
Over the past 3.5 years, I became more involved. I fly out to Colorado once a year to volunteer at camp. I organize local fundraising events, took over the Alumni Team lead and joined Epic's board of directors.
Epic has absolutely changed my life. Over the past years, I have many "cancer friends" from all across the U.S. that I can’t wait to see again someday. The memories and pictures together with the laughter, joy, celebrations, tears, emotions, hugs, and talks we shared will forever be with me.
-Bee

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

“When I is Replaced by We, Illness Becomes Wellness!”
This quote by Malcolm X represents literally what I believe in! Togetherness is a key factor when it comes to well-being.
Togetherness and the healing power of nature are exactly the two elements Epic Experience provides to cancer survivors, fighters, and thrivers.

I had completed active treatment for my primary brain cancer six months prior to participating in my week-long outdoor adventure camp. With twelve other cancer patients, I took on kayaking, horseback riding, stand-up paddling, and more. Lodging, food, gear, guides, nurses, a chef, etc.—everything was sponsored through Epic! Almost too good to be true!

Since my energy was slowly coming back after a year of chemotherapy, I enjoyed being physically active again. The one thing I was not prepared for, though, was cancer’s emotional aftermath.

While the world around me was moving on, my entire life had changed. I found myself sans career, sans doctor appointments that dictated most of my life over the past two years, and sans perspective.

Spending a week in the beautiful state of Colorado, on a ranch I instantly fell in love with, paired with profound conversations around the campfire and the loving care of all the volunteers, helped me to come out with a deeper understanding of what I care about and need in my future life.
Epic has absolutely changed my life. Over the past years, I have made over 50 new Epic friends from all across the U.S. that I can’t wait to see again someday. The memories and pictures of both weeks together with the laughter, joy, celebrations, tears, emotions, hugs, and talks we shared will forever be with me.
-Bee

Client Served

Rating: 5

Epic Experience is a fantastic organization ran by a family whose passion for helping those that affected by cancer knows no bounds. I attended an Epic Experience camp two summers ago and was so positively impacted that I came back to volunteer this summer to help pay it forward and will always do what I can to help Epic.

When i attended my first camp I was excited to go out into the wilderness and try new things, but I didn't realize until the week was almost over that what we were doing really was secondary to who we were with. Being in an environment where open discussion with like minded folks that have been through the same difficult times that you have is invaluable and I can't thank Epic enough for allowing me to experience that. I learned so much from all the people I met at camp and am grateful to still be in touch with many of the campers.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended Epic Experience camp for cancer survivors in January of 2017. The experience was truly epic. The week with cancer survivors was a game changer for my cancer recovery and the activities were amazing. The entire week was perfectly organized and included an incredible location and fantastic healthy food. Epic Experience has put together something unique for cancer survivors since it is for all ages 18+. The are simply a great non-profit!

Client Served

Rating: 5

Epic Experience changed my life! I spent a week out of my comfort zone, in completely vulnerable situations, challenging my limits - physically and mentally and I left camp a better version of myself. The best version of myself since my diagnosis. I want any person that had a run in with cancer to have the opportunity to go on an EE camp!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have witnessed first hand the good that Epic experience brings to the cancer community. Not only are their camps life changing (I’ve been a volunteer at one) but their willingness to go above and beyond for the cancer community is unparalleled. I highly recommend this nonprofit to everyone!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I came across information about Epic Experience in a Google search for cancer retreats. Reading their mission statement, seeing the videos and pictures on Facebook, and reading other's stories on the blog encouraged me to apply. It took three years before I was able to attend camp. The first year, my oncologist said no. The second year, my mother whom I cared for passed away not long before camp. Then, I finally made it to camp August 2018 that was specifically for Hodgkin's Lymphoma thrivers/survivors.

I was filled with nervous excitement as the plane landed in Denver. Not only was this my first time in Colorado and to meet a group of cancer survivors. Little did I know this group of strangers would quickly become family.

The beauty of the ride up to the 7W Ranch was only surpassed by seeing the 7W Ranch and all of the surroundings. It was just breathtaking.

After everyone settled in and had dinner, several of us played glow in the dark bocce ball under the star-filled sky.
Everything about camp was perfect, and all the adventures from hiking, whitewater rafting, horseback riding and stand-up paddleboarding really pushed me to try more physically than I had in years. However, the best part of camp for me was the small group sessions each morning, and the conversations with my new family members about our journeys.

The support and friendship I found during this week was something that had been missing since my initial diagnosis in 2013. It will be something that I will be grateful for and will not forget for the rest of my life. It truly made my week Epic!

Ali S.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In March of 2014, my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. It completely shook her world. For the first few months, life became a difficult journey of rearranging and re-envisioning her goals, her new reality, and her expectations of what the future held. For my mom, who is a healthy, non-smoking marathon runner, uttering the words “I have cancer” to her loved ones seemed impossible. These words were so foreign to her, but as time passed on, they also seemed to become more defining.

That summer, she was given the opportunity to attend a free, week-long camp called Epic Experience, and she decided to take the risk and do it. This camp is for individuals who have been diagnosed with cancer, and is based upon outdoor adventures such as stand up paddle boarding and white water kayaking. Leading up to camp, she worried about leaving the comfort of home and family to be with complete strangers and talk about her cancer. There was certainly apprehension about whether she would enjoy herself, or whether she would be able to participate in all of the activities with her new health concerns.

My mom could not have been more wrong. She came back from camp a changed woman. She had made lifelong friends, and had developed a new sense of positivity and determination to live her life to the fullest. She has Epic Experience to thank for her change, because Epic encourages participants to recognize that cancer is a part of their story, but it no longer defines them.

Treatment and doctors have the potential to heal those that are battling cancer, but more than anything, I think that positivity and attitude can heavily influence the healing process and quality of life of a Cancer Thriver. Epic Experience seeks to provide that change in attitude through life-changing experience and lasting friendship and support.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Epic Experience provides adult cancer survivors and thrivers a place in which they can feel empowered both mentally and physically. They are surrounded with like minded people that understand what a cancer community are all about. The founder Nancy wants everyone to know Epic Experience is more than a camp, we are a community that will support you as best we can during your cancer journey to make sure you do not feel alone.

Kathy Ilk T.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was finished with treatment for breast cancer after almost two years and in the reconstruction phase. I was very active before my diagnosis but was unable to continue through treatment. I applied to a camp with Epic Experience not fully knowing what was involved, but I knew it would be with other survivors and thrivers. It was so thrilling to learn I was accepted!! I struggle with trust, but was able to take that leap and let go while they took me on a trip of a lifetime! They treated us like royalty and every day was a memorable adventure. I was pushed to my limits physically, and it felt so good! Epic Experience helped me to cross off some things on my bucket list and I am so grateful to have participated in their camp. It was so inspirational to be around others who also struggle with cancer and the after affects and I hope I forged some great friendships from the experience.

Lynda Wolters

Client Served

Rating: 5

After a year of treatment for Stage 4 Mantle Cell Lymphoma, I needed to figure out how to live my life again. I was overwhelmed and felt under-supported in connecting with my true feelings of fear, heartache and life changes. I found Epic Experience just at the right time.

At camp, we learned how to recognize and work through some of our toughest cancer-related issues and we learned that we had strength beyond what we could ever imagine.

The week was filled with fun adventures on the Colorado River, hiking at sunrise, riding horses, laughing and crying with new, life-long friends/supporters around the campfire. I cannot recommend Epic Experience enough; it is a game changer in learning to experience life beyond cancer.

Jessica G.4

Client Served

Rating: 5

Epic Experience changed my life. As a young adult cancer survivor who thought that I was alone in this Cancer World. Epic Experience showed me that I wasn’t and gave me the opportunity to meet other survivors like myself. This allowed me to create strong bonds and friendships that will last a lifetime. They selflessly give all they can to make the slightest difference in the lives of people who have been affected by cancer, and they are doing that and so much more! Thank you to Epic Experience for helping me find my way and helping me find the confidence to do so.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My name is Paula, aka Caliente at Epic Experience. I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 36 in 2010. In 2012 I was treated for stage 3 vaginal cancer. I went through 12 rounds of chemo, 25 rounds of radiation and 3 rounds of high dose radiation (HDR). Treatment took its physical toll but I got through it fine. Post treatment I started to hit rock bottom emotionally. I came across Epic on the internet, I was desperate for a reprieve from it all, appointments, hospitals, and not having peers that really understood me. Epic changed all of that and more. I went from being the living dead, to living epically! And with new found family and friends for life! Since attending camp I went skydiving and got my motorcycle endorsement. I got the courage to date again and found the love of my life! I also returned to Epic as a volunteer. Epic gave me back more than a sense of renewed living, it gave me back HOPE! I love and live intensely now. Please support Epic and help them give that much needed reprieve to others! They really do help you live beyond cancer. Here are some of my pics, one during treatment in December 2012, post treatment February 2013, skydiving in 2015 and my 42nd birthday in 2016 =]

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a cancer survivor. I have been to epic as a survivor and as a volunteer. Epic threw me a rope in some of my darkest s hours....then gave me the chance to throw someone else a rope in theirs.....still not sure what was more meaningful to me...forever grateful..
expo

1 Ann_156

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteer with Epic Experience in their office. I see the day to day work that Nancy and Colin do behind the scenes. They are wonderful people who have their heart and soul into their work. I enjoy reading and watching the videos that the cancer thrivers post on their website and Facebook. If you read or watch these you will know how important the camps are that they provide to the cancer survivors who attend.