Sarnia Journal Guest Column: Thea’s weekend of tending and befriending

The ‘Women’s Worth Wellness Retreat for Worthy Women’ was held in honour of Thea DeGroot, an educator and community advocate who passed away in May 2018 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

By Lauren Bus
(Original Article:

Thea deGroot

Earlier this summer, a women’s wellness retreat was held at a beach house in Camlachie. The ‘Women’s Worth Wellness Retreat for Worthy Women’ was born from conversation between elementary teacher Sheila Ward and a handful of local wellness practitioners, after they observed that many who could benefit from wellness services often experience barriers to accessing them.

The retreat provided services like yoga, massage, aromatherapy, art therapy, counselling, and life coaching, and was offered to women from Lambton Circles and The Hub.

The weekend retreat was dedicated to late local activist Thea DeGroot, whose involvement with Lambton Circles spanned ten years.

“I don’t think there would be a better way [to honour her] than for someone to reach out and continue to share her compassion and her heart,” said Gayle Montgomery, Lambton Circles co-ordinator.

Thea passed away in May 2018 after a battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 69. This retreat will continue to honour her for years to come.

For those involved, the retreat meant a weekend of tending and befriending. It meant connecting with others who have experienced similar traumas and understanding what love and support can do to connect a group of strangers.

Before Thea passed, she told her family to look to the stars when they were missing her, that she would become stardust.

The night of the retreat was overcast, but as the women looked out across the lake, the stars shone through the clouds.

For more information on Lambton Circles and to read the full article about the retreat, visit: To learn more about The Hub, visit:


Lauren Bus recently completed her Master of Media in Journalism and Communication at Western University. She holds a degree in Communications Studies and English from Wilfrid Laurier University and consumes way too much caffeine. She can be contacted at [email protected]