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cfr retreat 2014


The mission of Casting for Recovery (CfR) is 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. The retreats offer opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR’s retreats are open to breast cancer survivors of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery, and are free to participants.

Why fly fishing and breast cancer?

The concept is unique. On a physical level, the gentle, rhythmic motion of fly casting can be good therapy for the upper body as a way to encourage increased mobility in the arm for women who have had surgery or radiation as part of their breast cancer treatment. On an emotional level, women are given the opportunity to experience a new activity in a safe environment amongst a supportive group of peers. The retreats provide resources to help address quality of life issues after a breast cancer diagnosis, and a new outlet – fly fishing – as a reprieve from the everyday stresses and challenges of cancer.

Fast Facts

National sponsors include Sage, Sisters on the Fly, Orvis, Cabela's Outdoor Fund, Genentech and Ashford Hospitality Trust. CfR relies on donations from individuals, foundations, corporations, and other non-profits. More than 1,600 volunteers are involved nationwide including medical and psychosocial professionals, fly-fishing instructors, and alumnae. 70% of the women who attend CfR retreats have never been to a support group.Extending beyond the retreat, annual alumnae events are organized, and many alumnae return as volunteers with Casting for Recovery.


Casting for Recovery (CfR) was founded in 1996 in Manchester, Vermont, by a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher. Casting for Recovery’s innovative program focuses on breast cancer survivorship and improving quality of life, and has garnered endorsements from medical and psychosocial experts.

  • Awarded 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 1998, CfR has inspired international efforts in Canada, UK/Ireland and New Zealand.
  • To date, CfR has conducted 527 retreats, serving more than 6,800 women nationwide.
  • In 2014, we held 41 retreats covering 37 states, serving more than 550 women.


CfR provides an opportunity for women whose lives have been profoundly affected by breast cancer to gather in a natural setting and address quality of life and survivorship issues with other women in similar circumstances.

Post-retreat evaluations show that after attending a retreat:

97% would recommend the program to others
95% felt connected with other participants
92% gained a new support base with new friends
88% felt better able to cope with their situation
89% felt more aware and accepting of themselves
88% learned something new about living with breast cancer

Program Highlights

  • The two-and-a-half day retreat is offered at no cost to the participants.
  • The retreat incorporates both fly fishing instruction and social support, ending with a half day of guided catch-and-release fishing.
  • The focus is on wellness, empowerment and opportunity.
  • 14 participants and up to 20 alternates are randomly selected to attend each retreat, based on service area of the program. We are committed to ethnic, socioeconomic and cultural diversity.
  • A trained volunteer team coordinates the Casting for Recovery program in their area.
  • The national office oversees financial, promotional, and registration processes, manages participant information, and provides mentoring and training for the volunteer base.
  • At least one medical professional, one psychosocial counselor, and four fly fishing instructors trained specifically for Casting for Recovery staff each retreat.
  • Participants range in age from 25 to 90 and are from all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds.
  • The program is appropriate for women in all stages of treatment and recovery and various stages of physical and emotional adaptation to breast cancer.

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