Reflecting on my nearly 29 years of writing columns for the Carroll County Times, my favorite memories are all of the times I participated in and wrote about four healing programs. Though the original stories were published in 2015 and 2016, I can still picture some of the faces and hear some of the words of participants.
These growing national organizations with local chapters offer free programs for people who qualify. All meals and lodging are covered for multi-day programs, and needed equipment is provided at all four programs including tackle, waders, vests and kayaks. In addition to their major offerings most local chapters offer additional activities.
These programs are supported by financial contributions and by large numbers of dedicated volunteers, usually several times more than the number of participants for each event
Casting for Recovery
CFR was founded in 1996 by a breast cancer reconstruction surgeon and professional fly fisher with the mission “to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing.” CFR weekend programs provide “opportunities for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer to experience physical, emotional and spiritual healing through retreats in beautiful natural settings and learn fly fishing, a sport for life.” The retreats are open to breast cancer survivors of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery.
Two of my favorite quotes from a past program include, “I came out to the evening bonfire and I was struck by the beauty of the full moon, the lanterns around the fire and the women’s faces shining in the lights as they talked and laughed and sang.” And from another participant: “I came here by myself. I’m leaving with 11 friends from our group and nine friends from the volunteer staff.”
This year CFR programs are scheduled for May 19-21 at Syria, Virginia (Rose River), and Oct. 13-15 at Sharpsburg (Beaver Creek). Note: Apply for programs two months in advance.