17 Providing Compassion Through Escape The Lavender Inn offers respite to women battling cancer. by Heath Croft
ne night in January, in an upstairs shower at the Lavender Inn, a woman began losing her hair. It had been two weeks since her first round of chemotherapy. Until then, she had been in denial about this unavoidable side effect of her treatment. How grateful she must have been that the inevitable happened in the company of other women like her instead of at home with her husband and children. She wouldn’t have wanted her children to worry. Another woman there offered
to show her how to fashionably wrap a scarf around her head. These women understood better than anyone what she was facing because they had all been where she was in their own cancer treatment. Some of them were facing it again. It was no coincidence that these women were together at that precise moment. They were all attending the Lavender Inn’s INNcourage retreat, a three-day transformational getaway for women undergoing cancer treatment at
the Ventura County Medical Center in California. Kathy Hartley, owner of the Lavender Inn, has hosted the retreat in Ojai for three years. She says she does this because it provides moral and emotional support to underserved women who are facing one of life’s greatest challenges. Hartley says the retreat is not limited to any type of cancer. In fact, some attendants are suffering from multiple forms of the disease. “Everybody’s touched by cancer in various ways,” Hartley says. Her father is a cancer survivor, and she says it was the support they received at the City of Hope
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winter 2011 • innkeeping quarterly
Published on Feb 1, 2011