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Casting for Recovery: A Current of Hope Flowing through Western Montana

By Lance Trebesch April 17, 2012

Fly Fishing, Cancer Survival, and Movie Ticket Sales

The tranquil waters of the Middle Fork River in West Glacier bring peace and a strong sense of belonging to the hearts of 14 women each year. For three days, these women cast their flies into the water and allow their battles with breast cancer to drift away.

Western Montana’s Casting for Recovery program currently has 11 community volunteers who support women with all different stages of breast cancer by providing them with an all expenses paid fly-fishing retreat. Community volunteers lend a guiding hand and are “River Helpers” who share their knowledge of the river with participants. Those struggling with cancer may find it hard to remember that they are not alone, but Casting for Recovery works to reverse this trend. As one participant expressed at the end of last year’s retreat, it was the “first time she felt strong community support.”

“My Heart Just Keeps Smiling”

The three-day retreats include more than just fishing. Medical counseling and group sessions fill the last day, providing time to reflect and build a network of support. Participants leave with new friends, new skills, and renewed hope. “It was an incredible weekend,” one woman stated. “My heart just keeps smiling.”

Casting for Recovery is a national organization but is rooted in local communities across the country. It was brought to the winding banks of the Middle Fork River by a woman moving from the East coast who had herself been a participant. While she was unable to make the first retreat in Western Montana, community members helped continue her mission to bring women with breast cancer closer together and provide them with therapeutic skills through fishing.

The Connection Between Fly Fishing and Breast Cancer

While the connection to fishing and breast cancer recovery may not at first seem apparent, participants come to an understanding by the end of the weekend. A participant shared with the group, “I was grateful to have been chosen, but I didn’t yet see the connection between fly fishing and breast cancer. Sunday morning, standing in the river, I got it.”  At the end of the weekend she shared her experience:

Fly-fishing is a “be here now” activity. It takes focus, balance and being centered, physically and emotionally, to stand in the river and cast. Living well after the diagnosis of breast cancer is best done in the moment as well. It takes focus, balance and being centered to avoid feeling victimized by the diagnosis or anxious about any future recurrence.  In both fly-fishing and living with breast cancer, the best that one can do is “be here now” and hope.

Fundraising with Film Tickets

Casting for Recovery in Northern Montana typically has one major fundraiser each year to support the program. This year, they have teamed up with the Fly Fishing Film Tour to show a screening of the film to the community.  Admission tickets, donations, and raffle tickets sold at the event provide the funds needed to make the special annual retreat possible. TicketPrinting.com has been thrilled to be able to play our small role of printing to help make their fundraiser successful. We love working with nonprofits and small community organizations which are making big changes in lives across the country.

To learn more about Casting for Recovery, visit their website: castingforrecovery.org