Beat the Odds Retreat Session at Mary & Joseph Retreat Center May 26 – 30

The greenery at the Mary & Joseph Retreat Center

We’re pleased to be holding out Beat the Odds® Retreat Session at the Mary and Joseph Retreat Center. Join us for a unique 5-day healing experience, where we’ll follow a time-tested, evidence-based, support program for mind, body and spirit.

The view at the Mary & Joseph Retreat Center

Beat the Odds® – a Comprehensive Cancer Survivorship Program is designed to help patients and their loved ones more effectively deal with different aspects of cancer. The program is inspired by the work of Dr. O. Carl Simonton, radiation oncologist and the pioneer of psycho-oncology.

The program is based on modern medical and psychological research. Our focus is on practical skills and strategies to improve quality of life and feeling better NOW that include:

  • Strengthening vitality, joy and healthy hope
  • Reducing stress and negative emotions
  • Advancing capacity for relaxation, mindfulness, imagery and unconditioned awareness
  • Empowering trust and wisdom of the individual
  • Converting fear into peace of mind
  • Symptom management: effectively dealing with fatigue, pain, nausea etc
  • Bringing balance in activities of life including nutrition, exercise, play and purpose
  • Improving communication skills and enlarging quality support system

Faculty Members were close co-workers of the late Dr. Simonton for many years:

Mariusz Wirga, M.D., Medical Director of Psychosocial Oncology at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center who has over 25 years of experience in working with cancer patients and their families. In 2004, with his wife Aleksandra, they introduced the successful Beat the Odds program at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

Aleksandra Wirga, M.D., Board Certified psychiatrist and expert in cognitive-behavior therapy with over 20 year experience in psycho-oncology and mind-body medicine.

Erin Sommerville, Mind-Body Oncology Coach at Todd Cancer Institute, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, cancer survivor with over two decades of experience in mind-body medicine.

The benefits of the retreat include:

  • Dr. Wirga and his staff are available to help all day every day for individual or family  meetings
  • Focus is  on the process in an intimate and relaxed atmosphere
  • Minimal distractions from the healing work allow to assimilate new knowledge with little effort
  • Time allows for personal attention to each participant
  • Condensed learning experience (5 days instead of 10 weeks) allows the brain to form new associations and deepen insights with a profound healing effect
  • As each participant offers own perspective allowing for enriched  understanding of presented concepts
  • A unique bond results in healing and invigorating experience
  • Beauty and tranquility of surrounding nature promotes healing and peaceful contemplation

We help participants address religious, spiritual, existential or deeply philosophical dimensions of their lives but our approach is non-denominational. We draw from many religious, spiritual and philosophical traditions but preach none.

Schedule: Program starts Sunday May 26, 2013 at 1 pm with registration and concludes at 6 pm on Thursday, May 30, 2013.  We recommend that you arrive at least an hour early to allow yourself plenty of time for check in and registration.

The retreat is hosted at Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275, (310) 377-4867 Fax (310) 541-1176. While the place is rooted in Catholic faith, they invite people of all religions and traditions. Conscious effort is made to make everybody feel welcome. Please let us know how we could help you feel that way.


Room and Board:

Per Person/Double for 4 nights with 12 meals:                         $405.00 (2 people per room)

Per Person/Single for 4 nights with 12 meals                         $525.00 (1 person per room)

Commuter rate:                                                                         $243 Per Person



All sessions (most insurance plans accepted) please call for prior authorization

We hope to be able to recover most of the therapy costs from your health insurance. In 2004, when we started the Beat the Odds weekly sessions, it was new for insurance providers, but now costs are reimbursed by most health plans.

You’re invited to peruse the retreat schedule, which can be downloaded here: BTO_Retreat_Schedule-May_2013_updated

To sign up or for info and insurance prior-authorization please call: 562 427 3897