Tender Loving Care and Inspiration for People with Cancer
We are Dirk-Karel and Angela. Together with our two young children, six cats and a dog, and with the invaluable help of family, friends and supporters, we are realising our dream to create a well-being retreat in the south of France for people with cancer.
Sadly, like most people, family and friends of ours have had cancer. Having seen first hand their struggle but also their courage and determination, we felt inspired by them to do something that could combine our resources and skills to help others with cancer. While supporting our loved ones, we found that they received good medical treatment, but advice about steps they could take for themselves, emotional support and nurture was often lacking, particularly once treatment ended. Seeing this need we decided to open a retreat for people with cancer where they can relax, recharge and re-focus.
We do not have a cure for cancer. We offer cancer fighters and survivors a beautiful haven from the tumult of treatment schedules and the strain of managing every day life, where they can enjoy a personalised programme of body-based therapies, take pleasure in nutritious, healing meals, and engage in activities that can bring lasting inner-peace, focus and inspiration. Our aim is to help improve the success of cancer treatments and aid recuperation, and encourage people to take steps in their lives to be healthier and, ultimately, happier.
We are very close to achieving our dream. This Autumn we entered into the final stage of renovating a ruined, medieval manor house - called Puyssentut. Surrounded by flower filled gardens and nestled amongst gently rolling hills, Puyssentut has become a very warm and welcoming house thanks to a team of experts and over a hundred volunteers who have offered their hands to its transformation. Here we have created restful, homely bedrooms; a comfortable lounge with a well-stocked, inspiring library; a cosy and sociable dining room; an inviting kitchen; relaxing therapy rooms; several sun terraces for that essential dose of vitamin D; a salt-water swimming pool; a juice bar; and extensive grounds to take a wander through, relax in or simply find a quiet spot to sit and enjoy the beauty of nature and the simple pleasures of life.
Even before Puyssentut has opened (we will open in April 2013), visitors and volunteers have found themselves affected by the convivial atmosphere, combined effort and shared vision.
Ciaran - a friend of ours with cancer - had this to say about her stay at Puyssentut in July this year:
"I can't tell you how deeply touched and healed I feel after just my tiny short visit there [Puyssentut] - partly because you guys are such warm, loving hosts and partly because of the hope it gives me for all the future possibilities I can involve myself in with you."
Meagan, who was prompted to volunteer at Puyssentut after her father died of cancer last year, experienced that:
"Puyssentut has been, for me, a place of restoration, in every sense of the word. This past Summer, I not only had the opportunity to help recreate some of the ancient beauty of this breathtaking manor house, I experienced renewal of my own health, confidence and perspective. I found myself amongst a community of people who know that life can be unpredictable and that everyone, at one time or another needs a safe space in which to rediscover who they were, who they are and who they might yet be. I am so excited to contribute to this incredible and important project."
How can you contribute?
We have put everything we have into bringing Puyssentut to life again: our lives, our love, our energy, our money, and even our family and friends. But now we need your help!
We need 190,000 dollars (equivalent to 150,000 Euros) to complete Puyssentut's transformation and convert the ancient, stone barn into a meditation and yoga studio and creative workshop. This space is important because it is where we will offer our guests activities through which they can discover untapped inner resources; connect with forgotten and unknown aspects of themselves; feel supported by and give support to others; and find peace, acceptance and inspiration. Converting the barn into an activity space will give people who stay at Puyssentut the chance to experience something new or find something precious within themselves, which they can take home and into their daily lives.
The money we are asking for is needed to pay for the work that we are not able to do ourselves. It will be used to pay for a new roof, the installation of electricity, plumbing and heating, insulation, and stone construction work.
How will your donation be spent?
In total we need 190,000 US Dollars (150,000 Euros) to convert the barn. This will be spent as follows:
- 114,000 US Dollars (90,000 Euros) for a new roof;
- 25,400 US Dollars (20,000 Euros) to install a heating system and insulate the building;
- 25,400 US Dollars (20,000 Euros) to install electricity and plumbing;
- 19,000 US Dollars (15,000 Euros) to put up new walls
- 6,350 US Dollars (5,000 Euros) for materials, such as, wood for the floor, plaster, and paint.
What you will get?
We have put together many great gifts to thank you for helping us with our 'barn-raising', including: being invited to our opening party; receiving a voucher for someone with cancer (plus their carer) to stay at Puyssentut; and having the barn named after you.
Other ways you can help
Be a part of Puyssentut history by helping us spread the word about our 'barn-raising' appeal through Facebook (www.facebook.com/puyssentut) and Twitter (@puyssentut)and encouraging friends, family and acquaintances to donate.
Donate to the Puyssentut Foundation (a registered charity) and help people from all walks of life to stay at Puyssentut. The Puyssentut Foundation has been set up expressly to subsidise the cost of staying at Puyssentut for people on lower incomes: www.puyssentut.org/donating
Volunteer with us and help complete Puyssentut's transformation. See the volunteering section on our website: www.puyssentut.org/volunteering
If you are a therapist or run workshops promoting health and well-being tell us about what you can offer: www.puyssentut.org/contact or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who are we?
Hello, I am Dirk-Karel and for the last 18 years i have run my own business. After supporting three close friends with cancer I decided I wanted to do something which had a greater social impact, and I was inspired to set up a centre of well-being for people with cancer.
I have studied Zen meditation and macro-biotic cookery, both of which keep me centred and focussed. My own experience of the importance of these practices in my own life has spurred me on to offer these at Puyssentut.
Hello, I am Angela and I am a qualified counsellor and Core Energetic Therapist. I hold a Masters degree in Development Economics, and have worked extensively on social and economic policy issues in developing countries. I am also a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher.
After working for 10 years on international poverty issues I realised that I wanted to focus on issues in my own community while still feeling I was contributing to a better world. So I decided to retrain as a counsellor and Core Energetic therapist, and as a yoga teacher.
I became a therapist because I am fascinated by people and what it means to be human, and am intrigued by how different people react and respond to the challenges of life. I feel very moved and privileged to be able to support people at critical junctures in their life journeys.
I really enjoy providing a welcoming and caring environment for people. I love cooking and receive a great deal of pleasure from preparing delicious food for guests, family and friends, shared in convivial surroundings.
Thank you to everybody for looking at this campaign and contributing to it.