Exclusively for women with metastatic breast cancer, Casting for Recovery (CfR), a national nonprofit organization providing free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer, recently held a specialty retreat at Smithgall Woods State Park in Helen, Georgia on October 5-7, 2018, which served 10 women with metastatic (Stage IV) breast cancer.
“Women with metastatic breast cancer have very different concerns as compared with non-metastatic cancer survivors.,” says CfR National Program Director, Susan Gaetz. “Our support for these women is most effective when it is provided in a metastatic-exclusive environment where women can openly express their hopes and fears without the need to protect anyone or hold back.”
CfR launched a Metastatic Retreat Program in 2016 giving participants the opportunity to learn an exciting new skill - fly fishing - as well as learn ways to balance a fulfilling lifestyle with ongoing cancer treatment and side effects. Oncologists, psychosocial facilitators, and experienced fly fishers supported these women for a weekend of hope and healing. Casting for Recovery is one of the first survivorship organizations in the country to implement a retreat program specifically for women with advanced breast cancer.
CfR’s powerful program combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. The Georgia retreat weekend offered opportunities for the women to find inspiration, discover a renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with nature and other women living with advanced breast cancer.
Women that participated in the program had this to say about their retreat experience:
“How can I ever thank all of the hands and hearts that put this weekend together? Since I am the one who always does for others, I didn't realize how much I would appreciate having others do for me.”
“I have thought of little else since I got home. The weekend was so meaningful to me. I’m now in a perpetual state of “chill” despite the sink full of dishes that awaited me.”
“It was an amazing weekend, from all of the special gifts to the group discussions to the wonderful meals and camaraderie.”
In 2018 Casting for Recovery will hold 60 retreats in 45 states, including 3 specialty programs focused on women with metastatic (Stage IV) breast cancer in Indiana, Georgia and Texas. CfR retreats are unconventional, allowing women an escape the clinical setting of a cancer diagnosis and are often described as life-changing. During this two and a half day retreat, an army of volunteers came together to empower the participants with educational resources, to facilitate connections and friendship, creating a new support community. The women also learned how to fly fish and had the opportunity to experience the healing power of nature.
Casting for Recovery® (CfR) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 1996 featuring a unique program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. Their retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR’s retreats are open to women of any age, in all stages of breast cancer treatment and recovery, at no cost to participants. For information: http://www.castingforrecovery.org