Being in nature, learning a new skill, and meeting new people going through a similar experience are all elements of the casting for recovery program. The nationwide program came to Montana in the past couple of years with fly fishing workshop retreats for Montana women recovering from breast cancer; one workshop runs annually outside of Yellowstone National Park, the other outside Glacier Park.
Fly fishing instructor Jane Latus Emmert volunteers with the Casting for Recovery program in West Glacier, “the program actually began in 1996 back in New York, a doctor and a breast cancer survivor who liked to fly fish got together, and he determined that casting is an excellent exercise for stretching the muscles that have been affected by a mastectomy,” Emmert said.
For participant and breast cancer survivor Gloria Badgett it was a chance to meet new people, and learn something she had wanted to learn, “my folks fly fished when I was a kid, only I was so little,” Badgett said, “but, my husband’s getting ready to retire in a few years, and we both were wanting to learn how, and I saw that, and I thought perfect, just perfect, and then when I went, of course it’s about so much more than just fly fishing.”
Badgett said they learned how to cast, knot tying, how to “match the hatch” and figure out what the fish are eating, but they also got to be part of a small group of women who knew what it was like to battle breast cancer.
“You know, everyone that goes through breast cancer, even their diagnosis, it’s all different, and everybody’s journey is different. But yet, everybody faces the same issues, and Saturday night we just talked about all of the issues all of us faced, and just… knowing everybody else had been through it, Saturday night was by far the best of the whole weekend,” Badgett said. She lives in Power, Montana, outside of Great Falls. Badgett was diagnosed in August of 2009 and finished treatment for breast cancer that December.
Badgett said she had a great support system while going through her treatment, but that’s not the case for everyone, “in fact, some of the ladies, their significant other left them while they were in treatment, and they really felt like they were going through it alone. But, at the retreat, you find out you aren’t alone, and the bonds you make with the other survivors- I’ve never felt anything like that, it’s just fantastic. And then, afterwards, you have this wonderful support system to help you get through it.”
This Friday evening, April 27th, Casting for Recovery is holding a fundraiser in Whitefish, a fly-fishing-film-fest at the O’Shaughnessy Center. People can also apply online to be a volunteer, to donate, or to be a participant. Emmert says 14 participants are chosen on a lottery basis. As of Monday there were 15 applications for the 14 spots for *this* Septembers West Glacier retreat. Its accepting applications for the West Glacier retreat until July. The Yellowstone workshop takes place in August, and applications will be accepted until mid-June.
Link to Casting for Recovery: West Glacier, Montana Retreat