The Dove’s Nest: A respite retreat

The Dove’s Nest: A respite retreat

TOWN OF ROME, Wis. (CBS 58) – Everyone could use a little getaway from time to time, but for those suffering from a terminal illness, time away can make a tremendous difference.

On Lake Camelot in Adams County, you’ll find what many call an escape. An escape from all the doctor’s appointments, treatments, and many other things that happen when someone you love is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness.

For families going through these tough times, oftentimes they feel like they have nowhere to go to get away from all the noise – and that’s where the Dove’s Nest steps in.

It provides people like the Shultz family a cabin retreat, at no cost.

Susan Shultz, her husband Curtis, three kids and grandkids recently stayed at the Dove’s Nest this past summer. It was a much-needed trip after receiving the news Curtis was diagnosed with stage four cancer.

“It was a time when he didn't have to think about anything else,” said Schulz. “He'd get up early before everybody and he'd have coffee, look outside the window and take a walk outside. It was just peaceful and all his worries were all gone for the week.”

Katelynd Anderson, Curtis’ daughter, said it was an amazing experience watching her dad soak in everything the Dove’s nest has to offer.

“We didn’t talk about [his diagnosis],” Anderson said. “We didn’t bring things up besides how are you feeling. He was just enjoying himself. He wanted to be outside the whole time and go fishing. Not have to worry about what was going on in his body.”

Access to the lake is just a few feet away, and if you’re feeling adventurous, paddle boards, kayaks and a boat ride are some extra perks the Dove’s nest provides families.

The cozy nest located in the Town of Rome has all the essentials for families who have all felt the pain of feeling like their world has been turned upside down.

“The emotional, physical, and financial stress a medical condition can take out of a person and a family and to come here and forget about that for a little while, that means a lot,” said Chad Dove.

The Dove’s nest wouldn’t be possible without Alex Dove. At the age of 21, Alex was diagnosed with Glioblastoma brain cancer.

Before he passed away in 2019, Alex told his dad, Chad, he wanted other families going through what they’ve experienced an opportunity to enjoy a trip Up North.

The idea for the Dove’s nest came during Alex’s last trip to his grandparent's lakeside cabin in Rhinelander.

“I was unloading the car and Alex had gone down by the water,” said Dove. “When I got done, I walked down by him and he turned to me and said, Dad, this is so relaxing here. And I said, do you think other people would like that? He said, yes I do, Dad.”

The Dove’s Nest, a nonprofit organization, was created six months before Alex passed away. A rare opportunity and one his family was so proud to be a part of.

“We were told by everyone that it's almost unheard of that a nonprofit like ours is set up when the person is still alive,” said Dove. “Normally it's after the fact.”

Since 2019, the respite retreat has been dedicated to giving families battling tough times a much-need break from hospital stays and everyday struggles at home.

For the Williams family, it came just at the right time.

“When Thomas was just two years old, he was diagnosed with a very rare leukemia,” said Lori Williams, Thomas’ mom. “What that meant for us was almost seven months of treatments at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin and almost all of that was in-patient.”

Williams said her stay at the Dove’s nest provided their family a chance to enjoy many summer activities they missed out on after spending nearly a year at the hospital.

“One of the hardest things besides watching your child go through treatment is not having that time as a family,” said Williams. “Just to have a week-long stay with a beautiful place to stay, beautiful weather, and all of these fun activities was amazing.”

Now the organization goal is to keep Alex’s dream alive by continuing to be a place where families can make meaningful, lasting memories.

“The Dove’s nest will always be a special place for our family,” Schultz said. “It's brought so much joy and happiness to us and just a place to be without worries.”

“Alex wanted this to be a place of hope and it seems that’s what it’s become for people,” Dove said.

You can learn more about the Dove’s Nest here and upcoming events on Facebook.

Share this article: