How fishing helps breast cancer patients heal

Americans focus much of their time and attention on breast cancer during October Awareness Month, but it’s a new daily reality for an estimated 266,120 women each year. Why are we talking about breast cancer on a fishing blog? Many studies show that fishing can be relaxing – even meditative – and offers its participants a wide variety of health benefits. This included Casting for Recovery (CfR) co-founders, Gwenn Perkins Bogart, a fly fisherman, and Dr. Benita Walton, a breast reconstructor, when they founded their nonprofit in 1996 to improve the quality of life for women with breast cancer.

Why fly fishing and breast cancer?

Our healing program is unique! We connect women with nature and with each other. For women who have had surgery or radiation as part of their breast cancer treatment, the gentle movement of throwing flies can be a good physical therapy for increased mobility in the arm and upper body. Combine that with the emotional benefits of connecting with nature and you have powerful medicine. CfR retreats are unconventional and are described by many women as life changing. “Whitney Milhoan, CfR Executive Director

I’m sure you’ve heard some incredibly inspiring stories about recovery and perseverance over the years. Is there one that you notice?

Inspirational stories

Over the years I have met so many amazing, inspiring women. Knowing that over 70% of those attending a CfR retreat have never been to a support group, the stories of women who come to a retreat and haven’t told anyone that they have breast cancer except their team of oncologists really stay with me . And I think it’s great that the retreat experience gives them the confidence to be open and share their stories. “Lise Lozelle, Marketing Director of the CfR

What do you think are the other health benefits of fishing – even for those who don’t have cancer? “When you’re on the water, fishing is a great way to break away from the demands of everyday life and reconnect with nature. The only thing to focus on is casting your line. She keeps life simple and grounded. “Susan Gaetz, CfR National Program Director

Be included

Two and a half day CfR retreats serve women of all ages at all stages of treatment and recovery from breast cancer at no cost to participants. And 100% of participants would recommend the program to others.

Find out more about these #WomenMakingWaves and how to get a fishing license. For more information on how to get involved, see the Casting for Recovery website.


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