Last year was my third year at River Discovery and each successive year brings me more happiness and hope through friendship and adventure. There are many great aspects of River Discovery, but its best attribute is that it treats everyone on the trip as a healthy adventurer able to take on challenges they are faced with despite their current medical condition. When I am on the River I forget about my struggles with cancer and the weaknesses I harbor; instead I am absorbed with the beauty of the river and the genuineness of the staff. One of the main reasons why River Discovery is so successful is that it is a metaphor for life. To me the river symbolizes the flow of time, the rapids represent adversity and challenge, and the flat water sections embody the stagnation of life energy. But despite the challenge of the rapids or the slowness of the flat water, we steadily journey down the river with hope and eager anticipation. River Discovery tempers its participants for real life experiences and teaches them the value of facing challenges that you know are inevitable, all while having a great time in a safe environment. River Discovery is successful on many levels of self development and gives the inspiration of strength to its participants. It's impossible to participate in River Discovery without transforming into a better version of yourself and discovering new strength inside you.
River Discovery was the best! I met some really amazing people! And best of all I got to raft on the MIddle Fork of the Salmon River. Something I never could have imagined doing after having cancer. During which time it was a very real possibility that I could have my leg amputated. Although I kept my leg thanks to the amazing doctors and other medical staff at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center I spent a year on crutches. That year was particularly depressing for me. At least when I was in the hospital I was one of the more mobil patients, but at school I was always being left behind and stared at. Getting to go on an amazing week long trek into the wild beauty of the Salmon really put me back on track with my life. I really can't wait until next years trip.
I was able to participate in River Discovery in 2011 as a breast cancer survivor, 6 months following chemo. My body still hurt, my hair was almost non existent and I was pretty defeated emotionally. The river trip addressed all of my needs and helped me "put my life pieces" back together again. I have since volunteered for and with River Discovery. I will always owe them a great debt for a life "reborn."
River Discovery gave me new life and freedom. Two years ago when I had a mascectomy, I learned very quickly, people were uncomfortable talking about cancer. I carried my fears and was depressed. However, sharing with other courageous women released me. I resumed my life but with a profound outlook. I have hope and courage. River Discovery made this all possible. I am in gratitude to the staff as they were selfless, guiding us and building trust.
I've been having the problem that words fail me when it comes to this experience. River Discovery runs an amazing program that provides just the right amount of adventure, relaxation, camaraderie and FUN with healthy doses of emotional support and opportunity for reflection. The volunteers and staff are some of the most caring and compassionate people I've met. When wildfires threatened to cancel our trip they went out of their way to make it happen when it surely would have been much easier for them to give up. This was truly the experience of a lifetime for me and I not only highly recommend it but will also continue to support this organization any way I can.
River Discovery is my favorite new nonprofit, EVER. As someone who has worked in nonprofits for 20+ years that's quite an endorsement. As a cancer survivor, heck as anyone, rafting the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho was a trip of a lifetime. White sand beaches, 3 squares a day, unsurpassed weather, incredibly competent River Discovery volunteers and river guides, and the most beautiful river. (A huge hurrah also goes out to whomever saved the Frank Church Wilderness area. Wild and scenic is where it's at.) It shook some deep healing loose inside of me. My first day kayaking rapids elicited laughter from deep within, like being a little kid on a roller coaster for the first time - sheer joy at the adrenalin rush. And the camaraderie - cancer survivors from throughout the U.S., who just "got it." No need to explain the hell I've been through, just a set of awesome people focused on healing. The river literally moved us forward. I came home so deeply relaxed that it was revelatory - so that's what it feels to be unstressed! That was life changing, and it's not something that I get in a day-to-day setting. It's a gift of the wild and scenic, campfires, good company, and one amazing river. Floating down a river for days and days, and laughing so much left me feeling like *I* was floating, and so light of heart. Thanks to River Discovery, I found the healing I'd craved the entire 5-yr cancer journey. Now I know what that feels like. ( NB: I felt completely safe and cared for the whole week. The lack of cell phone service was a blessing - remember when we weren't on electronic leashes and could just be?) I thank River Discovery from the bottom of my heart, and I am so honored to have been included - I think this is *the* healing retreat for cancer survivors and I expect it to be mobbed for years to come.
This River Discovery is for adult cancer survivors. On my trip it was all woman with our "token" 83 year old man... what a hoot! I have some mobility issues because of my past medical problems and I was not sure I was going to be able to handle this trip. I found out on this exciting 5 day raft trip of the Middle Fork of the Salmon River that my life still has many exciting things to experience! The staff, rafting crew, and fellow survivors made this a trip of a lifetime for me.
Taking the week long trip down the Salmon River was life changing. The river shows you with each rapid, that while the waters are rough in spots. It does not last long and, and calmer water lies ahead.
Review from Guidestar
Summer of 2010 was probably one of the toughest times, if not the toughest, in my cancer journey. While my treatments and most of my surgeries were over, the emotional term-oil cancer would cause was only just beginning. Through out my fight I was in warrior mode. I was determined to beat this disease and leaving my young family behind wasn't an option. Once the fight was over and life started to get back to "normal" I found myself suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All of the emotions that I refused to let in while in the heat of the fight came straight to the surface and all at once. It was so hard to sort through everything and it came on so quickly that I felt very overwhelmed and lost in my feelings. I felt like I went from a warrior to a scared child overnight.
River Discovery showed me that the scariest part was already over. I fought my battle and won so life could only get better from there. River Discover provided a structured and safe atmosphere where I could go outside of my comfort zone almost daily, face fears, and prove to myself that I could do anything I set my mind to. It showed me that although I had cancer, it didn't have me and things I used to be terrified of were nothing compared to the battle that I had already fought, and won.
I took rapids head on in an inflatable kayak (something I would have never done before), flipped the kayak, and swam the rapid. The fear of doing so is what kept me away from kayaks, yet once I faced it and lived through it, I came out the other side feeling empowered to face more fears.
I repelled down the side of a steep rock cliff and faced my huge fear of heights.
I went an entire week using a pack in/pack out toilet, soaping up while standing in the middle of a 5 gallon bucket, set up my own tent nightly, and lived with much less than I ever imagined possible.
I enjoyed some of the best meals I've ever had - all of which I didn't have to cook, clean up after, or prepare.
I enjoyed nature hikes and was astonished by the passion and knowledge the guiding company had for the river and the land. The history lessons alone would have made the trip great.
Finally, I met a group of amazing survivors both young and old, men and women, which inspired and encouraged me along the way. We were all from different walks of life and most of our paths would have never crossed had we not experienced this incredible journey together. I still keep in touch with many and I walked away with the realization that cancer is cancer. It doesn't matter what kind you had, you still connect and understand other survivors on a level that no one else can.
Thank you so very much for a once in a lifetime trip and a week long adventure that I will remember for the rest of my life!
My first connection with River Discovery was as a participant on one of their Salmon River adventures for cancer survivors in the summer of 2008. It was a phenomenal experience. The staff, the river guides, the whole process was a great transitional time for me. Experiencing the river with qualified individuals and other cancer survivors has had a great impact on me. I highly recommend anyone who recently, or even not so recently, experienced cancer to look into this week long adventure.
Review from Guidestar
River Discovery is a river rafting trip which serves a unique niche - adult cancer survivors and teen survivors (who travel with the parents.) This organization provides an Idaho raft trip for cancer survivors. Most of our group had recently completed treatment, so it was a particularly welcome relief to leave behind the daily medical grind and also the cell phones, e-mail.... We were able to focus on living. My son and I, both having undergone cancer recurrences in 2007, attended this trip in 2008. The River Discovery team is phenomenal, with a true love of the river and an appreciation for the environment and local lore. The outfitters provided top-notch equipment and phenomenal food including fresh fish, meat, vegetables and fruit. Our six days on the river involved idly riding the raft, the challenge of paddling a kayak thru the rapids, fishing and hiking, and exploring settlements and native American writing on the walls. After a personal loss to cancer, the River Discovery founders and board have succeeded in their goal of giving back by providing a unique experience for cancer survivors. It was apparent that this is a costly trip to outfit. The rafts, kayaks, camping gear and food not only need to be purchased and maintained, but also transported several hours to and from Salmon. I heartily endorse this nonprofit as worthy of your support.
Review from Guidestar