Suzie catching rain water to wash a pan...
What does True North Treks do?
We support young adult cancer survivors in the transition from cancer patient to cancer survivor. We achieve this through short-term wilderness experiences, during which participants learn outdoor skills as well as mindfulness meditation.
What ages are considered “young adult”?
Our trips are available for cancer survivors ages 18-39.
Why young adults?
Young adults diagnosed with cancer are at a unique time of transition between childhood and adulthood, and have even been labeled “lost in transition”. The young adult cohort is the only age group which has NOT seen improvements in survival rates since the 1970s.
Young adults with cancer face unique challenges related to disruptions in education, career plans, dating and relationships, fertility issues, social activities, emotional health, financial constraints, along with the physical challenges of cancer treatment.
What happens on a trek?
Treks take place in beautiful, remote wilderness locations around the U.S. Over the course of a trek, participants learn outdoor skills as well as mindfulness awareness practices. The purpose is to give young adult cancer survivors the chance to re-connect with the natural world, re-connect with themselves, and to connect with peers who have experienced a cancer diagnosis and treatment as young adults.
There's lots of laughter and fun as well as room to create your own experience, learn new skills, explore a beautiful place, and challenge yourself physically and emotionally in a safe environment.
How much does it cost?
The cost for a week-long trek is around $1,500 including airfare. At True North Treks we recognize that many young adults face financial constraints due to loss of wages during treatment, medical bills, interrupted education and career plans, and more. That is why we offer our treks at NO COST to participants who could not otherwise afford a trek (if you can afford to pay for it). We ask all participants to help us pay-it-forward by raising a minimum of $1,500 for another young adult to attend a trek in the future.
Katie's awesome vegetable chopping on a pot lid...
Liz breaking into dance on the trail...
What does it mean to “Pay it Forward”?
True North Treks alumni agree to “pay it forward” by raising at least $1,500 for another young adult cancer survivor to participate on a future trek. Alums pay it forward to support their cancer survivor peers who want to participate. We help out by providing a free personalized fund raising web page, fund raising ideas and tips for different kinds of events.
Do I have to have any outdoor experience?
Our trek leaders will teach you everything you need to know to be safe and comfortable in a wilderness environment on your trek. It’s OK if you’ve never slept in a tent before! Being away from “ordinary” life commitments, doctors, hospitals, and stressors at home gives you the opportunity to re-evaluate life as a cancer survivor and where you want to go from here.
What are mindful awareness practices?
Mindful awareness is a way to slow down and re-connect to our whole selves through the deliberate practice of paying attention from moment to moment in a nonjudgmental manner. Developing MAPs (Mindful Awareness Practices) helps one to live more intentionally, which increases appreciation and sustained connection to the present moment. MAPs equip us with the ability to respond to stress and adversity instead of reacting to it. Through gaining greater awareness and acceptance for one's self and others, participants learn to navigate their own "indoor environment," and to know where they are, moment by moment.
What if I am a survivor of a childhood cancer?
At True North Treks, we are focused on people who have been personally touched by cancer between the ages of 18-39. We understand there can be long-term repercussions associated with childhood cancer, but as of now we are geared towards those who have been diagnosed and treated as a young adult.
I noticed the website says participants must be through with treatment. My treatment is maintenance chemo and I can still function normally. Can I attend?
All participants are asked to have their primary physician, oncologist or medical provider who is most knowledgeable of their medical status complete an extensive medical form, which is also reviewed and approved by Medical Advisory Board members of True North Treks. As a primarily field-based organization, we do not have the capacity to accommodate people currently receiving active treatment that could potentially raise their risk of infection in the back country. We look at each person on a case-by-case basis to ensure each participant will be able to safely and successfully complete the trek.
Maritza making a mustache from tree moss...
Amber soaking in a glorious summit hike sunrise...
I’m out of shape because of what I've been through with cancer and treatment. Can I still attend?
Yes, as long as you have been cleared by your physician and our medical team, we would love to have you participate. There is often time between deciding to attend a trek and the actual trek start, and we are happy to give basic training ideas for improving physical fitness before your trek. Our treks are not about getting to the top of Everest, but rather about getting out and exploring a beautiful place together.
Who leads the treks?
Treks leaders have experience and training in wilderness education, Leave No Trace principles, wilderness medicine and mindfulness meditation instruction. Check out Our Team page for more information about trek leaders.
Can I speak with another young adult survivor who has participated on a trek?
We'll do our best to pair up trek alumni with new participants for Q&A prior to beginning a trek.
Gina ridin' cowgirl on a dead log near a mountain lake