Some years ago, three friends were diagnosed with cancer. I was in the fortunate position to be able to support them during their treatment. What I learned from this experience was that the medical system was focused on treating cancer but offered nothing to help people deal with the impact of such a critical and stressful event on their lives. I was spurred to set up a cancer retreat, where people with or recovering from cancer would be supported at all levels to fully heal and step back into life.
Puyssentut is a private initiative, founded by us – Dirk-Karel de Geus and Angela Wood. After a three-year search in Spain and France, we found Chateau Puyssentut in the Gers, in South West France. As soon as we saw Puyssentut we knew it was absolutely the right place to realise our dream of creating a retreat for people with or recovering from cancer. We bought the chateau in 2011 and immediately moved down to France with our two young daughters. One wing was inhabitable but the rest required major renovation. With the help of our families, many friends and a host of volunteers we completed the restoration work within 2 years, which many down here in the south of France regard as a record breaking achievement!
Collaboration and the sense of being part of a greater family lies at the heart of Puyssentut. Everyone who comes here, whether as a guest, therapist, teacher, chef, volunteer, family member or friend brings something with them that together helps to create a very special place and experience. All who have visited leave a part of themselves here and take a part of Puyssentut away with them.
While we oversee the day-to-day running of Puyssentut, we work with experienced, highly trained therapists and teachers from a range of backgrounds to create and deliver a programme of treatments and activities designed to support you, whether you are in treatment or recovery, at all levels – physical, emotional, mental and at your core. We also work with specialist chefs to provide food balanced to your needs while undergoing treatment and to help prevent its recurrence.
Puyssentut is a non-profit business supported by the Puyssentut Foundation, a registered charity in the Netherlands. The Board of the Foundation, supports our work by providing grants to those on low incomes who would like to benefit from a stay at Puyssentut but need a bit of extra help.