Mission: Our mission is to help men in the cancer recovery process by introducing them to the healing powers of the sport of fly-fishing, while providing a safe, supportive environment to explore their personal experiences of cancer with others who share their stories.
Programs: Reel recovery provides a unique and innovative program of support and education to men in cancer survivorship. We conduct free 3-day fly-fishing retreats that blend outdoor activity with directed psychosocial support activities, to offer a relaxed, reflective environment for men to come together, share their stories and gain a network of support among people with common experiences. Fly-fishing and cancer. Why? To those of us with a passion for the sport and for the outdoors, the connection is easily understood: life's troubles drifting away as we focus on rod, fly and rising trout; the peace and serenity we receive from the healing connection with nature; the power of friendship as we stand with a fishing buddy and share the day's triumphs and failures. For people with cancer, a day or two on a stream brings relief from their suffering, and hope for their future. Reel recovery is dedicated to providing cancer patients with information, education and a network of support that will help them as they proceed through their cancer treatment and/or recovery. We are directly enhancing their ability to learn about and manage their disease. We provide participants an opportunity to gain new insights about living with cancer and about coping with the psychological, social and emotional aspects of having the disease. Our participants learn about treatment options, navigating the healthcare system, facing mortality, coping with stressful family and work related situations - in sum the whole gamut of experiences that life with cancer entails. By learning from others in similar situations, our participants can gain a fresh perspective about their disease and renewed hope about fighting and surviving it. Reel recovery has grown from our boot-strapped beginnings in 2003, to a thriving, successful non-profit, that has now offered a total of 182 retreats in 19 states, all completely free to the participants, serving well over 2,000 men. 25 retreats were conducted in 2014, serving approximately 300 men. By all our measures, every single retreat has been a success, providing a powerful, meaningful and enjoyable experience for the men served. We have succeeded with a very lean budget and low overhead, with only two full-time staff members, teamed with a very active board of directors and a dedicated crew of over 600 active volunteers across the country.
I feel fortunate to have spent a couple days fishing and hanging out with a great group of survivors. The group consisted of a wide variety of men who had a great sense of humor despite cancer and all the unfortuante things that go with it. This organization is truly wonderful, and it's difficult to sum up how incredible the expereince was -just as a fly on the wall. It seemed many (probably all) of the participants left with a new sense of support, life long friends, and great fish stories. "Be well, Fish on!"