Beth Hoobler and her husband Matt were packing up for a normal weekend getaway on the water. Being out in nature and fishing their homewaters was a normal occasion and this trip seemed to be no different. The day before taking off, Beth visited the doctor for her first ever mammogram where she heard the news that she might have breast cancer. Returning home, Beth and Matt decided to go on their fishing trip as planned despite the shocking news. When the lab results came in, her doctor confirmed the diagnosis but with relief that they caught it early. And so Beth’s cancer journey began.
No stranger to cancer, the Hoobler family had witnessed its wrath when Beth’s mom was diagnosed with liver cancer. This disease ran in the family and affected several other relatives throughout her life. In 2016, Beth was diagnosed with breast cancer, and in 2019 her dad passed away from stomach cancer. Beth states, “Our family won the lottery, but just the wrong one.” One of Beth’s biggest concerns throughout her cancer journey was how this might impact her two daughters who saw firsthand what cancer could do.
After Beth’s first lumpectomy, her doctor noticed something abnormal on the MRI. Her doctor encouraged her to consider a double mastectomy which Beth ultimately decided to do. Around this time, Beth ran into another breast cancer survivor at her church who just returned from a Casting for Recovery retreat. She encouraged Beth to apply and she told her she’d consider it. Beth confessed, “My initial reaction was hell no. That sounds terrifying!” But the more Beth thought about it, the more she convinced herself that the fly fishing piece would actually be fun. So, in 2017 Beth applied and she attended her first CfR retreat in 2018.
“It was such an incredible dose of clarity and perspective. My faith in humanity was restored when I looked around and saw good people who genuinely just cared about me and wanted to help us all get through this.” Even though Beth has great family and friends, her cancer diagnosis made her feel isolated and lonely. It was as though her world had stopped and everyone and everything was moving on without her. Having to endure both parents’ cancer journeys as well as her own, she felt like there was no more kindness left in her to give. But the CfR retreat changed that. Seeing people who genuinely cared rekindled her desire to share kindness and feel true joy.
Upon returning home, Beth didn’t feel alone anymore. She had a network of women around Wyoming who understood what she was going through and surrounded her with grace, love, and acceptance. She left with an incredible desire to pay it forward and felt drawn to continue her story with Casting for Recovery.
Beth has been volunteering with the Wyoming program for several years now. “I always tell people that you’re going to feel like the world is going on without you and that there is a dark tunnel, but you will see the light again. It’s so hard to see that when you’re in it.” And for those women who are introverted and probably pushed to go by their families, Beth laughs and tells them, “ I was you and I promise if you trust me, you will love this too.”
Beth’s note to all other volunteers, donors, and friends of CfR:
CfR has become a family endeavor in the Hoobler household. My husband, Matt, approached the company where he worked to help sponsor the WY program so his first interaction was as a corporate donor. Matt brought the check from his company to present at the retreat celebration, but he was encouraged to jump right in and assist as an assistant River Helper that day! Since then, Matt continues to be a River Helper for our retreats. One of our daughters also got involved by making her own donation – handmade beaded earrings for the participants in 2022. As a participant…a volunteer…a donor…Casting for Recovery has made a difference for our entire family. We cannot thank you enough!
To all who make these life changing retreats possible, thank you. We don’t think most people understand how truly life changing these retreats are for breast cancer survivors and thrivers and their families.