For a woman battling breast cancer, battling a rainbow can be powerful therapy.
This year, over 700 women with breast cancer will enjoy the therapeutic qualities of fly fishing, thanks to Casting for Recovery.
The organization was started in 1996 in Manchester, Vermont by two women – Dr. Benita Walton, a breast reconstruction surgeon, and Gwen Perkins, a former Orvis casting instructor. They felt that breast cancer survivors could benefit from both the physical and spiritual influences of fly fishing.
Today this volunteer-driven 4 star charity has volunteers across the country, where it focuses on improving quality of life for women with breast cancer.
According to Beverly Booth, Co-Program Coordinator for CfR-Georgia, volunteering for the group has been one of the most rewarding aspects of her life.
“I attended a retreat as a participant in 2004. The main reason I went, or so I thought, was to learn to fly fish so I could spend more time with my husband who loves it. And I came away with so much more.”
At that time North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia were all combined in one Casting for Recovery Program. In 2011, Beverly set out to establish a separate Georgia Program. This required approvals from the national CfR headquarters in Montana. She was approved, and in 2012, Georgia CfR had their first women’s retreat.
One retreat per year was held until 2017 when a Stage IV Metastatic retreat was added.
“After that, we held two retreats each year until 2020 when, nationwide, all retreats were cancelled due to COVID-19. In 2021, we held one retreat in November under strict COVID-19 protocols from our national medical advisory board.
“For 2022, we’ve gone back to two retreats. We’ve had one in May for women with any stage of breast cancer. Then we’re holding one in November that is for metastatic breast cancer survivors. We’ll have ten women attending that.”
The Georgia retreats rely on local funding. All expenses are raised by Georgia volunteers and staff for both of their retreats.
Anyone interested in donating to Casting for Recovery Georgia, or volunteering for our program, can do so online at www.castingforrecovery.org on the “Ways to Help” tab. We are always looking for volunteers to help with fundraising, events, planning of the retreats, and much more.
Christine Rogers was first diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 2010. In 2015, she learned that it had become Stage 4, and had mestatisized. A year later, she attended her first Casting for Recovery retreat.
“After I was in cancer treatment in 2015, a friend of mine told me about Casting for Recovery,” Christine said. “I got an application and filled it out, and Miss Diane and Miss Beverly called me and told me that I was eligible if I wanted to do it. I said, ‘Great!’”
“I was looking forward to it. It sounded like a great experience. My boys and my husband love to fly fish, and I love to fish, so I thought this was a good opportunity for me to learn to fly fish.
“It was a great experience. We stayed in beautiful cabins, we had great counseling, they prepared healthy meals for us – breakfast, lunch and dinner. They taught us how to fly fish, and how to tie flies.
“We also learned what was in the river. Different species, and organisms and things like that. Miss Diane is very good at teaching that. I was amazed at all that’s in the river that the fish feed on. We learned how to cast, and how to relax. Because fly fishing really is about relaxation. You have to be relaxed to do it.
“We took a day and went fishing with guides. And it was all about the women. They showed us how to cast, and reel them in, and release back into the water, so the next person can come along and catch them.
“It’s a good way to take your mind off things. You’ve got to relax in order to fly fish. You can’t be stiff. You just relax and enjoy the moment, being there in the peacefulness of the river. Just catching a fish and having a good time.
“There was also an oncologist there. She talked about what we should be eating, what we should be doing to stay mentally and physically healthy, the different treatments available, the many different types of breast cancer…a lot of really good information.”
- Casting for Recovery provides free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer
- 70% of the women who attend Casting for Recovery retreats have never been to a support group
- CfR currently offers 40+ retreats across the country, serving over 700 women each year. To date over 10,000 women with breast cancer have benefitted from the healing power of nature
- CfR relies on the support of more than 1,800 volunteers nationwide, including medical and psychosocial professionals, fly fishing instructors and alumnae
- National sponsors include Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Buff, Costa, Enell, Madison Rose, Orvis, Pfizer, SIMMS, Texas Oncology, YETI and Sycamore Capital
- CfR has inspired similar efforts in six countries outside of the U.S.
To learn more, or to make a donation, visit https://castingforrecovery.org/