Casting for Recovery: A Weekend Retreat for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors
Turns out June is National Cancer Survivor Month. Congratulations to survivors reading this post. May you keep up the good fight, may you be guided by compassionate doctors and healers, and may your journey be smooth.
I celebrated by spending a weekend with the program Casting for Recovery (CfR) at a retreat center in New Hampshire. As a long-time naturopathic doctor, and cancer survivor/thriver, I teach and recommend all the many ways to impact quality of life and health outcomes related to diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, botanical medicine, the head game, and more. I work with patients in treatment and survivors/thrivers across the cancer spectrum. I walk the walk and model healthy living for all my patients. That includes finding ways to spend time in nature, learning new things, and being part of community with others. These last part is what motivated me to apply for this program.
I have never been fly fishing. The closest I ever got to casting was the beautiful scene in A River Runs Through It. But a patient of mine shared how much she enjoyed a CfR retreat and encouraged me to apply. CfR is an organization that offers fly fishing retreats for breast cancer patients and survivors. Applicants are chosen by lottery, and all lodging, meals, loaner gear, and instruction is provided at no cost to participants. While fly fishing is the focus of the retreat, there is so much more going on by the intentional creation of time and space for meaningful social interaction. CfR’s mission is “to enhance the lives of women with breast cancer by connecting them to each other and nature through the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.”
In its 26th year, CfR will hold 55 retreats across the country this year serving over 700 women. More than 10,000 women with breast cancer enjoyed the opportunity to participate. Perhaps even more impressive, the organization depends on more than 1,800 volunteers who help with hospitality coordination, medical talks and group support, fly fishing lessons, photography, and individual water guide instruction. I am fairly certain that everyone in our 11 person group felt safe, taken care of, encouraged, and inspired throughout our several days together.