OGDEN -- Anna Madry was at her breaking point. As the mother of a 7-year-old with multiple health conditions, including autism, she had reached the point of exhaustion.
"He has a lot of different issues. He was born with liver disease and also has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. There are a lot of different things going on," Madry said. "I am his sole provider, and we have a lot of different doctors that we see and different therapies. It can be hard at times, and things were starting to take a toll on me."
Madry was told about a support group for caregivers, called Soul-R-Eclipse, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3 group founded by Ogden Regional Medical Center labor and delivery nurse Yvette Campbell.
"I see the needs of women in our area that I feel fall under the radar," Campbell said. "For many years I have done 'chick trips' on the river or hiking the Southern Utah deserts. It is empowering, spiritual, fun and there is something about women and nature that heals and builds friendships."
Campbell said she wanted to share the experience with other women, especially those who could never do it on their own financially, so each year she takes a group river rafting in Utah or Colorado or hiking in the Southern Utah desert. Funding is provided by private donations and fundraisers.
"There is a $50 application fee that secures their spot, and this money and the gratuity tip goes to the other boat captains," Campbell said. "We work very hard rowing, setting up a kitchen, cooking for the clients and also taking care of human waste on the river."
The trip provides a nature and healing program and a professional experience designed for the individual groups, Campbell said. Doctors, nurses, social workers and counselors also go on the trips.
"Our goals are to have groups added every year that we feel need networking and support of others in their situation," Campbell said. "PTSD female veterans, women with loss, particularly stillborns, mothers of autistic children, substance addiction survivors groups, long-term caregivers and so on. I could go on and on. We want to reach out to the women that feel alone or are in need of support systems."
Last June, Madry signed up and went on a river-rafting trip down the San Juan River.
"It was wonderful. This big van came and picked me up, and we all rode down together," she said. "We had dinner together and stayed in a motel, and the next morning we packed up and spent the next three days out on the river. It was amazing. We didn't have phone reception at all, so it was a complete and total break from the world and very rejuvenating."
Soul-R-Eclipse can be found on Facebook.
"Seeing what it does for these special women has changed my life forever," Campbell said.