Time tested, evidence-based
support program for mind, body, and spirit

Beat the Odds®

Survivorship Residential Retreat

Join us for a unique 5-day healing experience!

Next Retreat Fall 2018

About the Beat the Odds Program

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

Based on modern medical and psychological research, the program is focused on teaching practical skills and strategies to improve your quality of life so you can feel better NOW. You will learn how to:

  • Strengthen vitality, joy and healthy hope.
  • Reduce stress and negative emotions.
  • Increase your capacity for relaxation and mindfulness.
  • Foster more trust and wisdom.
  • Convert fear into a peace of mind.
  • Effectively manage symptoms such as fatigue, pain, nausea, etc.
  • Bring balance in all aspects of your life, including nutrition, exercise, play, and purpose.
  • Improve communication skills and build a quality support system.

This program can also help you address religious, spiritual, existential, or deeply philosophical dimensions of your life. However, our approach is non-denominational. We draw from many religious, spiritual and philosophical traditions BUT PREACH NONE.

The Beat the Odds Residential Retreat: High-Impact Immersion Therapy

The Beat the Odds Residential Retreat, held at the Mary & Joseph Retreat Center in Rancho Palos Verdes, is a condensed version (five days instead of ten weeks) of the Beat the Odds program.

Participants will spend five days amid eight acres of idyllic gardens, which invite quietness and peaceful contemplation. With immediate access to therapy staff, interaction with peers, and many informal therapy sessions, participants will benefit from a broader and deeper acquisition of the concepts and techniques taught in the Beat the Odds program.

To make for an even more profound healing experience, additional classes such as drumming, qi gong, and guided imagery are offered during the retreat.

Family and Support People:

We strongly encourage that the family members and/or primary support people participate in the retreat with the patient so the skills can be shared and reinforced. Also, we have a special session on being an effective support person and on healthy communication. In addition, all the skills and techniques taught at the retreat are enriching to any person in any life circumstances.

Other benefits of the retreat include:

  • Faculty members and staff are available to help all day, every day.
  • The beauty and tranquility of the surrounding nature is an ideal environment for healing.
  • There are minimal distractions from the healing work, allowing for participants to process the material and apply the presented concepts in practice.
  • Each participant receives a lot of individualized attention.
  • Plenty of time each day to delve deeper into issues and practicing new skills.
  • Through group work, each participant offers their own perspective, allowing for an enriched understanding of the presented concepts.
  • A unique bond is forged among participants that results in an invigorating and inspiring healing experience.

Faculty Members
Each faculty member was a close co-worker 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 working with cancer patients and their families. In 2004, he and his wife Aleksandra Wirga 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 and a cancer survivor with over two decades of experience in mind-body medicine.

Schedule: Therapeutic program starts Sunday 6 pm with dinner and concludes on Friday at noon. We recommend that you arrive at least an hour early to allow yourself plenty of time for check-in and registration. The training program for therapists starts at 3 pm on Sunday and ends at noon on Friday.

Location: Our retreats are usually hosted at Mary & Joseph Retreat Center, 5300 Crest Road, Rancho Palos Verdes, California 90275, phone: (310) 377-4867, fax: (310) 541-1176. While the Mary & Joseph Retreat Center is rooted in Catholic faith, they invite people of all religions and traditions. Conscious effort is made to make everybody feel welcome. Upon arrival, please let us know what we can do to make you feel more comfortable.

Cost (based on the previous pricing):
Room and Board:
Per Person/Double for 5 nights with 14 meals:       $579.00 (2 or more people per room)
Per Person/Single for 5 nights with 14 meals:         $759.00 (1 person per room)
Commuter rate: $300 Per Person

All sessions (classes, group/couple/individual & elective):  $2350.00 $1250* (recently reduced). Support person $275.

Residential 5-day BTO retreat with supervision – $2,500.00 (not including room and board or commuter rate) – substantial discounts available for the 2nd and 3rd participation in the training at the residential retreat.
Special discounts for MemorialCare and City of Hope staff.

*We hope to be able to recover a significant part of the therapy costs (not Room and Board) from your health insurance (most insurance plans accepted – please call for prior authorization and learn your actual cost). To obtain more information, sign up, or get insurance prior-authorization please call at 562 427 3897.

Surviving Cancer One Healthy Thought at a Time!