To learn a new skill, gain a respite from their everyday concerns and get social support in an outdoor setting, 14 women whose lives have been touched by breast cancer traveled to Mount Shasta earlier this month for a “Casting for Recovery” retreat.

Casting for Recovery is a national non-profit organization founded in 1996 that supports breast cancer survivors through a program that combines flyfishing and counseling to build a focus on wellness instead of illness.

Participants spent a weekend at the Mt. Shasta Resort and at the river near Ney Springs and Cantara Loop Sept. 17-19.
The dynamics of fly fishing provide a healing connection to the natural world, relieving everyday stressors and promoting a sense of calm. Fly fishing techniques provide a gentle exercise for joint and soft tissue mobility, according to the Casting for Recovery website.

Participants learned the fundamentals of fly casting, entomology, knot-tying, equipment basics – but most importantly, participants spent time on the water practicing catch-and-release fishing.

“We have 14 participants at each retreat who are picked at random back in our Manchester, Vermont home office,” said Peggy Miskin, program coordinator for Northern California.

“Ninety-nine percent of those who attend have not even picked up a flyrod in their life. They are in all stages of breast cancer and all ages. We seem to always have some who are in the middle of their chemo/radiation, newly diagnosed, newly recovered from surgery, out several years and doing great... and yes, some whose prognosis is not good.  It’s this spread of experience that helps to make the program work,” Miskin said.

To learn more about Casting for Recovery or to find out when they’ll be in Siskiyou County again, visit www.castingforrecovery.org.