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Fly Fishing as Cancer Therapy for Men

fly fishing

Fly fishing has often been thought of as relaxing and therapeutic.

For men with cancer, fly fishing is a very beneficial form of therapy.

Reel Recovery, a nonprofit organization, runs three-day fly fishing session for men with any type of cancer, at any stage of treatment.

“The sound of the stream has a calming, healing effect,” says Vic Brugh, co-coordinator of the Virginia chapter. “Once on the river, the men feel like they’re in another place, where fears and worries seem to fade away.”

Reel Recovery was founded in 2003 by a group of fly fishermen whose friend battled brain cancer. He was a bit downtrodden because there weren’t many support groups for men battling the disease.

The group saw how the activity helped him, and the outfit was formed. Included in the sessions are lodging, meals and equipment. Each man is paired up with a “fishing buddy” to help.

During a session, Brugh says the men learn how to fly fish and take part in catch-and-release fishing. In addition, the men gather and talk, sharing personal stories and experiences with cancer.

Participants are inspired by one another, leaving with a more hopeful outlook, and a new skill.

In 2016, Reel Recovery conducted 28 sessions during the season.

Reel Recovery sessions cost about $700 per man. However, participants take part for free. The organization is always open to financial donations.

NEXT: PEACE AND CALM: WOUNDED VETS AND THE POWER OF FLY FISHING

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Fly Fishing as Cancer Therapy for Men