Casting for Recovery Helps Breast Cancer Survivors Adjust to "Life After"
Kim Ward, 60, of Saratoga, Wyoming, joined 13 other breast cancer survivors this summer for Wyoming's second annual Casting for Recovery retreat. After two grueling bouts with cancer treatment over a decade, Ward was given a clean bill of health in 2010. Last year, the opportunity to apply to the unique program offered by Casting for Recovery arose.
"I was anxious to see whether other women had the same anxieties and hopes," Ward said. "What treatments other women had received, where they had received them, what programs they had gotten into. There's no support system here."
For 17 years, Casting for Recovery has been a national leader in providing opportunities for breast cancer survivors to enhance their quality of life. Its visionary program model, with a focus on survivorship issues, was developed long before those of other cancer recovery organizations. Their unique 2½ day retreats around the U.S. provide life-changing opportunities at no cost to women at any age and stage of breast cancer, helping them to adjust to new realities in their lives.
Another Casting for Recovery participant describes the program's relevance, "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."
The psychosocial issues involved in the cancer battle were not the only reason Casting for Recovery appealed to Ward. "We tend to forget that we need to exercise the surgical area," Ward said in describing the program that incorporates the basics of the therapeutic sport of fly fishing into its retreats. "You lose mobility and flexibility. Fly fishing puts you at one with nature. And I'm telling you, there's nothing that reminds you of why the fight was worth it as to be with nature."
In 2012, over 250,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and currently, 2.5 million women live as survivors. Though the numbers of younger women being diagnosed are increasing, 80% of these women will be alive ten years post-diagnosis, thanks to education about screening, self-care, and rapid advances in medical science.
These encouraging statistics have dramatically increased national interest in understanding how to improve the long-term quality of life for breast cancer survivors. The term "Quality of Life" is a phrase used to describe total well-being, which includes the emotional, social, physical, and spiritual aspects of life, and it has become an important concern in chronic disease management.
"We all started with the same story: cancer," Kim Ward says about her Casting for Recovery retreat experience. "We all ended with the same story: survivor. But our journey in between was different."
About Casting for Recovery
Since 1996, CFR has served over 5,000 breast cancer survivors, with the help of over 1,500 volunteers, in retreats that provide emotional and medical support and teach new skills through catch-and-release fly fishing. In 2012, 44 retreats are scheduled across the United States in 32 states.
Casting for Recovery retreat programs are offered at no cost to the participants. Casting for Recovery is supported by generous donations from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Its leading national sponsor is The Hartford and other national sponsors include L.L.Bean, Under Armour®, SmartWool, and Sisters on the Fly. Casting for Recovery is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
For more information about the Casting for Recovery program, please call: 802-362-9181 or visit www.castingforrecovery.org.
Articles by the same author
- Casting for Recovery Partners with World Fishing Network
- Casting for Recovery Helps Breast Cancer Survivors Adjust to "Life After"