Casting for Recovery (CfR) and Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing (PHWFF) teamed up April 21-23, 2017 to provide an all-expense paid retreat for female disabled veterans and active duty military women with breast cancer. OMA’s Mary Liebermann, a CfR volunteer staff member, retired Air Force RN, and 12-year breast cancer survivor, provided hand and foot massage and lymphedema education for the retreat participants along with fly fishing instruction.
CfR provides free 2 ½ day retreats that offer breast cancer education and peer support for women diagnosed with breast cancer through the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. PHWFF uses fly fishing to assist with the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled veterans and active duty military personnel through education and outings. When the two groups realized disabled veterans and active military women were recovering from post-traumatic stress disorder, physical disabilities from combat deployments, and breast cancer they saw an opportunity to conduct a pilot retreat to see if these women’s needs were more unique than the typical retreat participants they serve.
Thirteen women, ranging in age from the mid-30s to mid-60s, came together at Harman’s Luxury Cabins situated along the beautiful headwaters of the Potomac River in West Virginia. It didn’t take long for them to bond and share their military experiences as well as their challenges and needs in dealing with their breast cancer diagnosis. Undeterred by a chilly drizzle, the women and their fishing instructors ventured into the clear waters where several experienced the tug on the line and the shout out “fish on” when a beautiful rainbow trout gobbled up their fly.
“What an incredible group of strong, patriotic American women! Not only are they dealing with physical and psychological trauma from their military experience, but they also have to cope with a full-time job or an unexpected medical release from active duty service; how to raise kids or care for elderly parents; and undergo chemo, radiation, and/or surgery for their cancer and the potentially devastating side effects. The women shared their worries, hopes, and dreams and developed friendships that will no doubt last a lifetime. And they laughed hysterically with each other as they tried to gently handle one of nature’s most beautiful fish while trying not to take a dunk in the chilly water. By the end of the weekend there was no doubt in the staff or participants minds that there is a need for more support groups and events for this special group of women.”……Mary Liebermann, LMT
See https://castingforrecovery.org for more information about Casting for Recovery and future retreats for women with breast cancer.