Casting for Recovery

14 11 2015

casting for recovery logo (2)

This was a great group of women to be paired with! We had many aspects of life covered with our survivors including; doctor, accountant, nurses, homemakers, legal professions, and government workers. Photo: Beth Gazda

This was a great group of women to be paired with! We had many aspects of life covered with our survivors including; doctor, accountant, nurses, homemakers, legal professions, and government workers.
Photo: Beth Gazda

Casting for Recovery is a very unique program designed to “enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.” They offer retreats for all women breast cancer survivors, of all ages, and in all stages of treatment and recovery. They try to enhance the women’s lives with inspiration and the ability to network with other women going through their own stage of breast cancer; all done in a truly inspirational setting of nature. The program is offered on a lottery system, with participants applying annually, and is free of cost to the participants!

DSC_0172 2During the 28th to the 30th of August 2015, I participated in the Western Pennsylvania retreat, held at the beautiful Home Waters/The River Village in Spruce Creek, PA. They have been holding retreats in Western PA since 2009, and more than ninety breast cancer survivors from throughout Western Pennsylvania have participated. Home Waters is a private fly fishing club with amazing fishing on Spruce Creek and the Little Juniata River. The Casting for Recovery retreats have been held at Home Waters for the past five years; this particular retreat is open to breast cancer survivors who live in the Western Pennsylvania area. There are programs stretched across the United States and Canada. Check out their website for a fly fishing retreat near you, http://castingforrecovery.org/events/retreat-schedule/.

The participants getting suited up to go fishing. Photo: Beth Gazda

The participants getting suited up to go fishing.
Photo: Beth Gazda

I signed up to car pool, and because of that, I was able to have a partner in my truck for the three-hour drive. By the time we arrived at the lodge, Kay felt like an old friend! We were assigned to rooms, in one of the four buildings used for this event. I was paired with Pam, who along with Kay and her roommate Kathy, we had a great time together. The rooms were as spectacular as the views; there is nothing like waking up to the sounds and sights of water rushing down the river. As soon as we got settled into our rooms, we were outfitted with waders, boots, vests, and a plethora of “gifts” from the many sponsors of the retreat!

Some of the support circles took place around the fire, with S'Mores! Photo: Beth Gazda

Some of the support circles took place around the fire with S’Mores!
Photo: Beth Gazda

There were many segments to our weekend, and a great majority of them centered on food! Whether it was full course meals, or S’mores over the fire, no one went hungry, and we didn’t have to wait long for our next meal! The fishing seminars included learning to fly cast, identifying and matching the hatches, areas to target in the creek, and lots of laughing and fun. We were also treated to medical

Learning to cast was intimidating, but with our skilled helpers, everyone mastered the casts needed! Photo: Beth Gazda

Learning to cast was intimidating, but with our skilled helpers, everyone mastered the casts needed!
Photo: Beth Gazda

and emotional support through group circles and some one on one. No topic was taboo and off-limits, although I will not be mentioning some of the more delicate issues that the breast cancer survivors were concerned about. Relaxation techniques were also explained and practiced, many of which I will be using for years to come.

Sunday we started the day off with an optional spiritual meeting, held on the porch of the Fly Shop. Readings and songs brought home the message of recovery of more than just your body but also your mind and soul. During the service, we had to pause for a train that thundered down the tracks. Just like the cancer, we had to pause during the passing of it, and when we were able, as soon as possible, we returned to normal activity.

The fishing was superb!! I was assigned my river helper, Ashley, and the matching couldn’t have been better. We had a wonderful time, sometimes missing a fish because I was talking instead of paying attention. I started off my morning with a native brown trout, followed by a native rainbow. By the end of several hours, I felt confident in my casting, and I had landed and released five trout and lost as many. To me losing a fish on a line isn’t really losing; you still have had the thrill of the hook up, and the battle of wills between your line and the fish. Sometimes the will of the fish is just greater than your skills with the rod and reel.

All too soon, it was time to head for home. Many friends were made this weekend, and many skills for life were learned. If you or someone you love has battled breast cancer, and would like to be involved with one of the up coming Casting For Recovery Retreats, go to http://castingforrecovery.org/.  If you would like to get involved either personally or with a donation, information can be found at the same website. This was a great way to interact with others that have gone through the same battle with cancer, in a very positive setting.

All of the participants, staff, river helpers and support staff. Photo: Beth Gazda

All of the participants, staff, river helpers and support staff.
Photo: Beth Gazda

Casting for Recovery name and logo are the sole property of its rightful owner and used within this writing solely for the promotion of products herein as requested by the product’s manufacturer.

¹ http://castingforrecovery.org/about-casting-for-recovery/

This post originally published at http://ladiesincamo.com/licpr/2015/10/05/casting-for-recovery-diane-hassinger/

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