19 November 2010

Casting for Recovery

Anji, 2009 Participant
"To fish is to hope," and thus Casting for Recovery began in 1996 in Manchester, Vermont.  The brainchild of a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher, CfR started as a grassroots movement.  Casting for Recovery was founded on the principles that the natural world is a healing force and that cancer survivors deserve one weekend — free of charge and free of the stresses from medical treatment, home, or workplace — to experience something new and challenging while enjoying beautiful surroundings within an intimate, safe, and nurturing structure.

Natalie, 2010 Participant
Today, CfR appears in 42 states, and Texas plays host to two retreats--one in Apirl and one in November.  Cody and I have had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the North Texas 2009, the inaugural year for the North Texas retreat, and 2010 retreats.  Cody takes pictures, and I serve as a River Helper.  We fish the Pauluxy River in Glen Rose on the last day of the retreat with 14 ladies who have or have had breast cancer.  All the River Helpers are volunteers, most coming from area fishing clubs.

Cody and I find giving back to CfR important and pertinent to our lives.  Cody learned a new term--Co-Survivor--when we cheered the Susan G. Komen 3-Day/60 mile walkers two weekends previously, and has taken great pride in being a Co-Survivor for two reasons.  Cody's momma, Donna Bell of Upton Co., is a 24 year breast cancer survivor and was first diagnosed in 1988.  Cody said of his Mom's cancer, "I knew Momma was really sick when she couldn't tote a sack of feed and help take care of the cows."  Beginning in September 1994, doctors initially struggled to diagnose my breast cancer, but having reached a diagnosis and treatment plan, I am a 15 year survivor.  CfR was not available to Miss Donna or I at the time we were treated, but being a part of CfR now, offers Cody and I a form of therapy and pride.  Cody volunteers in honor of his Mom and me, and I volunteer to offer hope and be a walking billboard, showing the ladies that where I stand, so will they. 

My favorite fly rods and freshwater reels are Temple Fork Outfitters rods and Ross Reels.  They, along with Jim Teeny fly lines, have combined to create a fun and supportive fly-fishing rig.  TFO builds an 8½ foot 5# and 9 foot 8# cranberry-purple colored fly rod decked out with the pink ribbon breast cancer logo and a hot pink rod sock.  $25.00 of the rod's price goes directly to CfR.  Ross Reels designs a hot pink Rhythm Fly Reel with the breast cancer ribbon logo, numbered edition and anniversary year, and motto--"Reel in a Cure" engraved into the reel with all of its reel price going to the Susan G. Komen foundation.  Jim Teeny designs a weight-forward floating fly line, with the 30 ft. running head colored pink and the remainder of the line is a beautiful purple; 10% of the line's cost is donated to CfR.  I have this complete set-up, thanks in part to Cody Bell, who bought my reel and line at Blue Ribbon Fly Shop in Mountain Home, AR.  While it is a great conversation starter and has helped me catch many beautiful fish, Cody and I realize its real significance, and we give each other a knowing look as we fondly talk about this special fly-fishing outfit.  To fish is to hope, without a doubt.

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