this is us

learn our heart.

We are two friends who carry women’s health and wellness very close to our hearts. After supporting a close friend going through the difficult wilderness of cancer, we realised that there is a dire need for women to have access to both emotional and practical support during their cancer journeys.

Disillusionment and seeing your life unravel in front of your eyes are something we both experienced going through our own personal traumas. This propelled us to complete our diplomas in trauma counselling and to start working on developing a support system to help women find their own path to healing from the physical, emotional, and psychological
effects of cancer.

We strongly believe that journaling is a powerful tool to help anyone gain insight, clarity, self-awareness, and the emotional resilience necessary to live their best lives. And so, our Wilderness to Wellness journal came to life, providing both
emotional and practical support to the brave women out there, in the comfort of their own homes and at their own pace.

We hope that this journal will support its brave readers every step of the way from Wilderness to Wellness.



Karien Basson

Karien is a human resources and labour law consultant. She also has a special interest in women’s health and well-being. She has been involved in the implementation of employee wellness programs for several businesses. After Karien had her three boys she decided to put her corporate career on hold and focus on her interest in women’s health. After completing her diploma in trauma counselling and a creative writing course, she started her journey of not only working through her own trauma but also empowering other women to focus on emotional ownership and healing. 

Karien’s husband is a medical professional who specialises in colon diseases and cancer. Being involved in her husband’s business, made her realise that when patients are diagnosed with cancer, the focus is undeniably on physical healing. There is however a dire need for patients and their loved ones to be assisted with the emotional trauma of a cancer diagnosis. 

And so Karien and Mariska’s business, Wilderness to Wellness, and this beautiful journal came to life. Karien also presents talks and facilitates interactive workshops to assist women confronted with traumatic life experiences such as illness, loss, divorce and infertility. Her other venture, Boxes of Blessings, does cancer care boxes with speciality items to assist cancer patients during treatment. Karien describes herself as adventurous and fun-loving with a caring nature. She loves a good book, baking and going on camping adventures with her boys.


Mariska Ford

Mariska holds a degree in psychology, a diploma in journalism and is trained as a nurse. She is currently a freelance writer and owner of a creative writing school where she inspires young and old to own their stories and create new ones. 

Stemming from her personal journey to own and take responsibility for her story, she aims to help individuals use journaling to explore their emotions in a safe and supportive environment. She is passionate about helping individuals explore their emotions, create change, and develop resiliency through using expressive writing. 

Mariska stays in Pretoria with her adventurous husband and their two teenage boys. Her favorite things include a feast table surrounded by loved ones, the sound of harmonious choir music and travelling to interesting places.

Be brave and keep going! A thousand beautiful things are waiting for you at the end of this journey.

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