The mission of Casting for Recovery® (CfR) is to enhance the quality of life of women with breast cancer through a unique retreat program that combines breast cancer education and peer support with the therapeutic sport of fly fishing. The program offers opportunities for women to find inspiration, discover renewed energy for life and experience healing connections with other women and nature. CfR serves women of all ages, in all stages of breast cancer treatment and recovery, at no cost to participants.

Casting for Recovery is proud to hold the highest marks on charity rating sites:

Why fly fishing and breast cancer?

The concept of Casting for Recovery is unique. On a physical level, the gentle, rhythmic motion of fly casting is similar to exercises often prescribed after surgery or radiation to promote soft tissue stretching. 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 every day stresses and challenges of their cancer.

Fast Facts

  • Casting for Recovery provides free fly fishing retreats for women with breast cancer
  • 70% of the women who attend Casting for Recovery retreats have never been to a support group
  • CfR currently offers 55 retreats across the country, serving 800 women each year. To date 8,000+ women have been served
  • CfR relies on the support of more than 1,600 volunteers nationwide, including medical and psychosocial professionals, fly fishing instructors and alumnae
  • National sponsors include Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, Stevinson AutomotiveSage, Sisters on the Fly, SimmsAshford Hospitality Trust and Orvis
  • CfR has international program partners in Canada, UK/Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and Italy.
Breast cancer ribbon and trout


Casting for Recovery was founded in 1996 in Manchester, Vermont, by a breast reconstruction surgeon and a professional fly fisher. Awarded 501(c)(3) non-profit status in 1998, Casting for Recovery’s innovative program focuses on improving quality of life for women with breast cancer, and has garnered endorsements from medical and psychosocial experts nationwide.

  • “This was a fantastic retreat. I feel so much calmer now and have a renewed spirit!”

    Liz Graham
  • "Words will never cover the depth of my gratitude for being able to participate in CfR and how much my life has changed. I love fishing! I love the adventures my new life has given me. I used to be afraid of dying. Now I realize I need to be more concerned with not living."

  • "You gave us a weekend that has changed our lives, and friendships that will last our lifetimes.   You are a catalyst and an inspiration for many positive things."

  • "I was able to attend Casting for Recovery a few years after completion of treatment. The opportunity to learn a new skill and interact with others that had also experienced Breast Cancer was amazing."

  • "The best part is that you get the chance to experience a new skill that provides a challenge and hope to move forward. I've thought numerous times about standing in that stream with my river guide trying to cast my line to catch the elusive fish, and the sheer awesomeness of it all. And that gives me hope."  

  • "My experience was so wonderful. I still think about it often and get a wave of positive feelings every time I do! I now love fishing and go with my grandchild a few times every summer."

  • "I can still remember the laughter and tears I shared with my fellow breast cancer survivors...but mostly the laughter. Learning how to fly fish was a wonderful experience; I've even continued to try my hand at it. I cannot say enough about the caring and compassionate staff."

  • "The fishing was great, but the friendships we made and the long talks among all of us is something to remember."

  • "There is so much more to the CfR weekend than fishing.  Learning to fly fish was great--I'm looking forward to trout season already. But it couldn't touch the interaction of the women; lasting friendships were forged over those three days."

  • "My Casting for Recovery weekend was priceless. It helped me discover how to believe in tomorrow again. All the kindness, compassion, and warmth of the volunteers and participants has had a ripple effect to help me find hope and begin to heal inside and out."

    Mary Kay
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