The Second Annual

Encouraging and




Programs and



Presented by

was held

August 23-27, 2012

Miraval Resort

Tucson, Arizona

Participants discovered a healthy balance in their own personal health and well-being
and their community advocacy work and efforts!

We believe that healthy programs need healthy leaders. In order for both individuals and programs to grow, flourish, and prosper they need to be nurtured. ESCAPE offered the opportunity for them to do so.

ESCAPE brought together advocates from around the country who are involved in cancer-related projects to work with our speakers and facilitators to:

  • network with other community advocates, both novice and veteran;
  • share experiences and gain insight, tools, and skills for:
    • growth and sustainability of cancer advocacy efforts
    • volunteers
    • fundraising
    • legislative advocacy
    • burnout prevention
  • experience  methods of self-care through the integration of mind, body and spirit ;

We addressed the following questions and concerns shared by many advocates:

  • How to work with existing organizations?
  • How to incorporate survivorship into our advocacy work?
  • How to involve, supervise and retain volunteers?
  • How to sustain and grow a program/project/organization?
  • How to deal with dying and loss?
  • How to care for ourselves while caring for others?

The program agenda included plenary sessions and workshops, and informal networking groups. Please see the agenda for more specific information. To visit our speaker page with biographies and presentation information, see  ESCAPE Speaker Bios page.

Miraval Resort outside Tucson, Arizona was the home to ESCAPE. It is an integral part of the entire experience. It is described as a top-rated retreat that focuses on healthy and balanced living. Their core philosophy of “mindfulness” permeates every aspect of all they offer. Their programs and activities are the basis for our self-care agenda.

Preliminary evaluations are positive and generally, all returned home better equipped to utilize their precious time and limited energies to give back to their community and continue to help make a difference in the lives of cancer survivors and loved ones across the country.

A few participants share their thoughts about ESCAPE 2012:

“In my ten years as a breast cancer patient advocate and dealing with advanced breast cancer, this is the most enriching, enlightening, impactful, insightful, educational, empowering, well-rounded and valuable retreat I’ve been to. The speakers, staff and participants are open, compassionate, patient and ready to share their valuable expertise with the group to enhance and improve the personal and professional lives of the advocates, their NPOs and the populations they serve. This well-rounded approach is unique to ESCAPE. No other conference or retreat encompasses a whole person approach to advocacy and that makes ESCAPE special and invaluable and precious. It is an integral part of being an advocate. Every speaker was outstanding and every topic was invaluable. The spirit and soul of the conference was empowering.”

 “My work as a cancer advocate, a navigator, a volunteer coordinator and a social worker is very intense. I live and work in turmoil, and often let the pace speed-up to where I work without reflecting on what I can do better and how I can accomplish magnifying the impact of my endeavors. Escape was an opportunity to engage with others who are knowledgeable and resourceful, and share a passion for making a difference. It set a tone of appreciation, provided essentials tools for advocacy, and left me with a renewed determination to utilize everything I learned to make a larger and more meaningful impact. I learned about grieving and loss, not just the technical bullet points, but also the true experience. I understood the ways in which maladaptive coping mechanism used to burnout, despair and non-resiliency. My entire being was renewed with hope and with a sense of empowerment knowing that what I take with me from ESCAPE will impact many others.”

 Escape has provided more tools, contacts, an entire national network of supporters and advocates with which to connect and draw strength. The leadership team has provided experts in many crucial areas that will enable us to refocus our skills to better serve our clients in the community.”

 “What a gift of healing, restoration, strength in vulnerability, and strength building. I have learned so much about the importance of self-care in healing, of being our authentic selves and ways to integrate these practices into our daily lives. Additionally, I learned the importance of bringing these practices and values back to our communities.”

Partnerships and Sponsors

ESCAPE is a program of BAG IT, a grass roots community advocacy project in Tucson, Arizona. Eisai was our most honored presenting sponsor. This program was also funded in part by Genentech, Millennium Pharmaceuticals Inc., and Ventana Medical Systems, Inc. Miraval further supported the program through major rate reductions.

Other foundations and organizations are invited to join us as sponsors or partners for our next ESCAPE leadership conference in August, 2013. If interested, please contact Sherri Romanoski at

Application Information

If you would like to receive notification and information about a future ESCAPE Cancer Advocacy Leadership Conference and Retreat, please email your contact information to us:  Thank you for your interest..

For more information, contact:
Sherri Romanoski

© BAG IT 2004 – 2018