Innovative healing through the power of nature and sport
Last updated 1/31/2023 at 12:46pm | View PDF
For over 25 years, Casting for Recovery has provided healing outdoor retreats for women with breast cancer. These retreats, using the sport of fly fishing, bring hope, inspiration and empowerment.
The retreats are open to women with breast cancer of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery, at no cost to them.
CfR's healing program is unique.
Teresa Adams, co-coordinator for CfR Southern California, said, "It is a combination of many factors, but the main thing is to try to get women out in nature. It gives them a venue for relief from their treatment and the opportunity to connect with other women who are in the same disease situation."
"You are out in nature, so you can observe everything around you, like wildlife and flowers. It's a sport where women can center themselves and feel calm and happy."
The retreats are a small and intimate experience with 14 women served at a time. There is also a team of volunteers, including medical and psychosocial professionals, fly fishing instructors and alumnae.
For those women who have had surgery or radiation as part of their breast cancer treatment, the gentle motion of fly casting can be good therapy for increasing mobility in the arm and upper body.
Adams said it is life-changing for the women that participate.
"Even those who are metastatic and their life expectancy is very short, some of them realize they are still alive, and they can live a vibrant life as long as the time they have before the cancer takes them over."
Adams is also a breast cancer survivor and was diagnosed two years after joining CfR as a fly fishing instructor.
This has given her a deeper connection with the women she works with.
"For me, when I teach women, I don't see their cancer or treatment."
She said she loves the sport.
"It's a passion for me and all of the volunteers. It is a way for us to give back."
A key takeaway for the women is the positive relationships and camaraderie that is built.
"It is a sisterhood."
The results are powerful, with 100% of participants saying they would recommend the program to others, 98% improved their support base and 94% said they learned something new about living with cancer.
CfR was founded by a breast reconstruction surgeon and a professional fly fisher to create a program focused on improving the quality of life for women with breast cancer.
The belief is that the natural world is a healing force and that women with breast cancer deserve one weekend, free of medical treatment, home or workplace stresses, to take part in something new and challenging in a beautiful, safe environment.
Currently, over 40 retreats across the country are offered, serving more than 700 women with breast cancer each year who have benefited from the healing power of nature.
CfR's success has inspired similar efforts in six countries outside the U.S.
Adams said she wants the women in Wasco and Shafter to learn about what CfR has to offer them during their difficult times living with breast cancer.
"We want to raise awareness because so many women do not know about us. Our presence can only grow and expand as we move into new areas."
To learn more, visit castingforrecovery.org or call 888-553-3500.