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2017 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Casting for Recovery

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Cancer, Counseling, Health, Health Care, Mental Health

Mission: 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 women of all ages, in all stages of treatment and recovery for breast cancer, and are free to participants.

Results: Since our founding in 1998, we have conducted more than 600 retreats serving close to 8,000 women across the nation. We currently offer 55 annual retreats in 42 states. Post-retreat evaluations show that after attending a Casting for Recovery retreat: 100% felt it was a worthwhile experience 99% would recommend the program to others 98% felt connected with other participants 95% gained a new support base with new friends 92% felt better able to cope with their situation 91% felt more aware and accepting of themselves 91% learned something new about living with breast cancer.

Target demographics: Any woman who has received a breast cancer diagnosis in her lifetime.

Direct beneficiaries per year: More than 600 breast cancer survivors at our retreats and many more through alumnae activities and events.

Geographic areas served: Nationwide

Programs: Healing retreats that combine breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. CfR retreats offer women respite from the challenges of living with a breast cancer diagnosis, and an opportunity to gain renewed confidence and connect with other women - all at no cost to the participants. Why fly fishing? The casting motion of fly fishing is similar to exercises physicians prescribe for women following surgery or radiation for breast cancer, thus promoting soft tissue stretching.

Community Stories

88 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

It was hands down the best experience in my cancer journey. Not only were the CfR team professional, caring, sharing and amazing, but it was great to spend time with fellow participants. I left the experience with new friends. How amazing is it to show up with only your toothbrush and everything else is handled? Fantastic. I'm so grateful.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

This is a life changing program of great and unexpected value. Loved it, start to finish.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

Casting for recovery was a great retreat and full of wonderful healing for the body,mind and soul. Getting outdoors and connecting with not only nature but women that have gone through or are in the journey of breast cancer. New friends, sharing,laughng, and cryng with each other plenty of hugging and sending love. Letting everyone know that no matter where you are on your journey we are here for you strong and ready to fight. Putting your fears on the end of that fly rod and casting it in to the river and letting go!!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2015 I attended a CfR weekend that exceeded my expectations. I originally applied as I have been a fisherman all my life, but never had tried fly fishing, and wasn't sure I even wanted to learn to fly fish or would gain a whole lot from this weekend adventure. I had a large group of supporters already and didn't think I would gain anything.

I am so glad I went and found it far more than just another support group. It was like finding another branch of a family. Everyone was helpful and interested in what I had to say and how I was doing. The leaders also cared about the technic I was using as I learned to cast (totally different from the fishing I had done in the past). I am still telling everyone and anyone that will listen about the "great" weekend I had at CfR and have found another discipline of fishing I enjoy. I really believe that this program deserves the platinum nonprofit status it has and should continue to have to be able to benefit all and anyone that choses to participate in the adventure. Karla B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was so scared to go to this retreat but I had heard how helpful and fun it was, so I went. I carpooled with 4 others, I had the opportunity to get to know these ladies and met more as well. They all taught me so much about cancer, learning how to cope, and just knowing we all had something in common, well it meant more to me and I'll never forget that weekend. The fishing was pretty cool, it got all of us a chance to learn something, I would've never learned and got some laughs out of it, plus meeting great fishing teacher's who really cared about each and everyone of us. It's the best experience, especially when going through something so incredibly scary. I am beyond grateful!

Judy184

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the CfR retreat last September and thought it was fantastic. It was not only learning to fly cast but also to reach down inside ourselves and heal with all the group sessions we had. It was much more than I had heard and was very impressed. I gained 13 new friends and have become close to one in particular. It helped all of us to know others who have been through the same journey, who are dealing with the same problems, and who are healing faster because of this retreat. I feel this is a great service to those of us who have had breast cancer and should be continued. I liked it so much that i am planning on volunteering wherever I can to help those like me who come to CfR retreats. The volunteers who led our retreat were so caring and helpful that I thought I would like to become one of them, too. By the way, the fly fishing bug bit me hard, and I am working on becoming a good fly fisherman! May you serve many, many women in the future by continuing CfR retreats!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a "river helper" for the Southern Oregon CfR retreat for several years. I've made great lasting friendships through the program, with the women I have helped and with other volunteers. I've gotten so much positive feedback from the participants and I know CfR has given so many women a learning and supportive opportunity that is unique and priceless. I joined CfR because I love to share my love of fly-fishing but also because my sister died of breast cancer. She would have been absolutely thrilled to have had the opportunity to learn to fish and to bond with other breast cancer survivors. Volunteering for CfR is a major part of my "giving back" to my community and I cherish my experience and friendships.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was granted an opportunity to attend a Southern Oregon retreat in 2008. My diagnosis and treatments were during 2007. I was very ready to embark on the journey to find joy and learn that there can be a good life after being diagnosed. When I arrived at Big K Ranch I was welcomed warmly and enthusiastically. The coordinators helped me get settled and I was made to feel very comfortable. It was a few days of crying, laughing, learning, and having a wonderful time in nature. During the course of our time together, I made good friends which I still have today. And, because there are past participant events, I've made some truly deep connections. Since my attendance, I have continued to participate, as an active volunteer. CfR remains an essential part of my life. I describe the CfR Retreat gathering as "the most memorable and impactful experience of my life".

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Casting for Recovery (southern Oregon) is a wonderful program! When I went through treatment for breast cancer in 2008 I had pretty good support, but so many women don't get the kind of (non-medical) help that can be so valuable to survivors. When I attended the Casting for Recovery program in 2012 it was such an amazing group, both staff/volunteers and participants! Women in all stages of treatment, survivorship, and late stage in a relaxed setting supported by a caring, knowledgeable, and loving staff were able to open up our hearts and share what each of us needed at whatever place we were at the time. The fly fishing activities provided enough structure to tie all that caring together, and we got to spend the weekend in a beautiful setting that I would otherwise never have been able to experience.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

A year after I had stage 3 breast and both breasts removed and 15 lymph nodes taken out, finished 5 1/2 months of chemo and 30 radiation treatments, I was fortunate to be selected to participate in Oregon's Casting for Recovery weekend.

I am not a "group person" so did not expect it to be such a remarkable experience but it was. The sessions, the support, the honesty and the caring that were present in those 2 days helped me so much.

Breast cancer (well probably any cancer) is a life changing experience. You never quite trust your body again but the support and caring and opportunities that I experienced that weekend 6 years ago still remains with me.

This opportunity is critical for those of us who have breast cancer. It should continue and grow so that more women are helped on this journey.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Breast cancer is a disease whose treatment ravages not just your body, but also your spirit. Casting for Recovery provides a supportive environment to learn a skill that helps to bring you peace. The beauty of the outdoors, the focus required to cast, the comradary of the group, and the shear joy those bring are a treatment for your damaged spirit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began my journey with Casting for Recovery 14 years ago. Our small group of friends got together to fly fish for several days. My friend brought up a great program she had read about, CfR, and an idea was born. We knew it was a natural fit for all of us! Each of us had been touched by breast cancer in some way and we all loved fly fishing. We raised money and brought Casting for Recovery to Oregon for the very first time. We had so much success and fun that our retreat has continued each year since then. This fall we will hold our 14th retreat!

I've have found every retreat to be as unique as the 14 women involved. Each brings their own story to share and walks away with a support group that lasts a lifetime. It is so much more than the fishing. That is the catalyst that brings us all together. The sisterhood and friendships that develop is what makes it extra special. I've seen women 15+ years out from treatment engage in conversation with those newly diagnosed. I've seen those in their senior years sharing fears and successes with those in their thirties. Every woman has a special story and most haven't had the opportunity to share with another that has walked the same path.

Every single retreat...every one...the women highly recommended that others on this journey should attend their own retreat. That is a powerful testament to the importance of Casting for Recovery. Addressing the well-being of survivors can often be overlooked. This amazing program puts them first.

I am proud to say I was on the team that brought CfR to Oregon. I love how it has grown and that past participants now run most of our retreat and fundraising events. It's a perfect example of paying it forward!

1 Jill113

Client Served

Rating: 5

I started volunteering for this organization 7 years ago. I thought it would be good to be on the river with women who needed the therapy of a few days of fishing. Doctors agree that fly fishing also has certain physiological benefits to the upper body that can help breast cancer patients and survivors move more freely and break down scar tissue. Then, of course, there are the mental and spiritual benefits for those who have been affected by breast cancer, able to hear from experts and spend time with other women who have shared the trauma of the experience. I felt privileged to be in their presence at retreats, grateful that I hadn't been through the experience myself but happy I could be of service.

Then it happened to me.

I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in 2011, and had a lumpectomy (including lymph node removal) and radiation. To say that I had a built-in team of trusted advisors in the staff and volunteers of Casting for Recovery would be understating the enormous impact this organization has on its community. I got advice, referrals, coaching, and support from women I'd volunteered with, and some I'd never met.

I volunteer with other charities, but will always be impressed with CFR's capacity to create and sustain a community of women who educate, support, and help one another through (and after) one of life's most difficult ordeals. Oh, and they can cast a mean line, too!

Jill Dyche

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

CfR is my favorite non-profit!
As a health care provider, a fly fisherman & a River Helper, I've seen firsthand the tremendously positive impact the program has on its participants. The healing power of water and shared experience combines to give all involved unforgettable memories and, most importantly, hope for the future.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2012, having just been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer - and a broken foot - I was fortunate to be selected to attend CFR in September as an alternate. After a devastating diagnosis, the CFR experience addressed my physical, emotional and psychological needs. The all volunteer staff included Lori, who insisted on being my "Sherpa," schlepping my luggage to my assigned cottage. It seemed someone was always "right there" to handle any physical challenge. And then the fun began with a rollicking presentation of fly fishing gear. I've never been sure how they made it all so funny. There were quiet moments, engaging in related crafts [meditation or distraction?], spiritual [not religious] experiences and after much practice, one on one fly fishing on the gorgeous Umpqua River. Meantime, we were sure to gain weight during the fabulous meals which usually began with a small "present" at each place setting. I felt understood, loved, cherished and included. It would be impossible to find a superlative sufficient to encourage others to attend.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a river helper several times for the CFR event at the Big K Ranch in Douglas County, Oregon. Each time I have been struck by the deep connections between the women who participate, their obvious shared experiences, and the effort they expend to learn the craft and lore of fly fishing. The constant message seems to be "if we can conquer this we can do anything!"

I have a vested interest in the effort to beat breast cancer. My grandmother, mother and sister have all contracted breast cancer, with grandma and mom succumbing to it. Now my good friend Carol La Branche has succumbed as well. Through CFR and its good works Carol showed the way as she struggled for years with the disease and yet sought and found joy and fulfillment through fly fishing. It's a great connection between physical treatment through muscle development, mental treatment through concentration and confidence and a hoped-for recovery.

One need only attend one of their retreats to know the organization meets its goals.

Bill Swift

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Before attending the Casting for Recovery retreat, I heard it could be "a life changing weekend". And, I thought that was a bit of an exaggeration - until I attended in 2007. I was a 27 year survivor by then and questioned what I could get out of the weekend. A lot, I soon learned. In 2007, I attended along with 13 other women I did not know at 3PM on a Friday, and by Sunday afternoon friendships and support systems and support communities had been formed that would last well beyond the weekend. The retreat offered an opportunity for us to share our experiences and learn from one another; from women who were still in treatment, to participants like me whose treatments were but a memory. A special bond formed among the participants, sharing, laughing, crying and learning. Amazing how the love and support of the retreat program volunteers, and the beautiful location could actually help me take my mind off of being a breast cancer survivor even though we were there because we were breast cancer survivors. After the retreat, my support circle was larger, I was part of a new support system (not just for breast cancer issues, but life issues as well), and my friendship base grew. I was so changed by this weekend experience that when asked to volunteer I enthusiastically said yes. CfR says "to fish is to hope" and the retreat does give hope and does provide skills and tools to look at the future in a positive way.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

It is hard for me to speak about my CfR retreat without smiling and crying. It meant so much to me to meet so many women with our disease in common (breast cancer) but little else and yet I felt as though I was understood. I am not really a "group" person, I usually feel like there is to much complaining. Fly fishing was something that I had always dreamed of doing but it always came in second to family and work. Being offered an opportunity to spend a weekend being "taken care of" and learning to fly fish was a much needed respite from the rigors of treatment and returning to work afterwards.

Our retreat staff was wonderful, most were survivors themselves so could relate to the experiences we had while in treatment. We had the opportunity during the retreat to join evening discussions with an oncology nurse and a social worker, their insights into the effects of diagnosis and treatment were very illuminating. They understood the difficulty of balancing work and family while trying to adjust to the new you, the one with scars and thin hair and maybe a little less lightness of heart. They were kind and offered to be there for us not only at the retreat but afterward. I have seen their compassion and commitment in action, when one of our retreat members recently asked about depression in our private chat group our crew was quick to respond to her with encouragement and support and kind words. It did not end there but continued with follow up to make sure she was doing ok.

This retreat changed my life in so many ways. Not all of the women on our retreat have become avid fisher women but all have become friends and supporters. I have the council of knowledgeable women with whom I feel free to discuss things that may be hard for my family and other friends to hear and understand. I have learned to be kinder to myself and not to put off trying new things, I am learning to tie flys and soon hope to be casting in the surf near my home and in waters far and wide. I love Casting for Recovery, I love their mission and believe that nature and the sunlight shining on water can soothe the worried soul. I am forever grateful for the gifts that CfR has given me.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been privileged to work with Casting for Recovery in two different roles for 19 years. The supportive and healing environment, the renewal of nature, and the adventure of fly fishing for women who are breast cancer survivors of all ages and stages is a tranformational experience provided at no cost to participants. To watch the bonding, love, and support grow among the women from the beginning to the end of the retreat is nothing short of miraculous. Staff provide medical, psychosocial, fly fishing expertise and experience that creates a holistic setting embracing these deserving women for 48 hours in a beautiful setting that provides a respite from the challenges of managing day to day life. Casting for Recovery is a stellar non-profit organization and a treasure.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I attended the retreat in 2016, and am impressed with and grateful for the new friends I have met. Sharing the stories of breast cancer treatment and how it changes lives, and then learning a new skill, fly fishing, creates bonds that are strong. I have now become involved in planning the next retreat so more women can benefit from this tremendous program.

4 Tonja J.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of an Ohio retreat, in 2015. The best thing that came out of this whole thing, is I can finally talk about breast cancer. Before I couldn't even say the C word....and the fact that I learned how to fly-fish was a plus too. It has opened a whole new world to me! Thankyou so much Casting for Recovery! You have made me so happy...and I now have some really good friends...