“Reel Recovery was founded in 2003 by a group of avid fly-fishers, inspired by their fishing buddy’s ongoing battle with brain cancer. Witnessing first-hand the beneficial impact fly-fishing provided their friend, they created Reel Recovery to provide the same opportunity for other men battling the disease. Combining expert fly-fishing instruction with directed “courageous conversations”, the organization provides men with all forms of cancer a unique opportunity to share their stories, learn a new skill, form lasting friendships and gain renewed hope as they confront the challenges of cancer”.
I was very fortunate to be able to help these folks out and the Mackay Idaho Retreat in July of 2015. I was honored to cook for the fishing buddies and help out where I could. Having seen my Dad fight (and lose) a long battle with Bladder Cancer for 25 years and losing my father in law to the deadly disease made me curious as to what they were feeling.
I learned that the most common complaint about friends and loved ones is some of them, and in some cases all of them fade away from the person living with cancer. I heard that they felt treated like they had communicable disease. Their friends didn’t understand it or didn’t want to be around it.
Listening to these courageous men put a punch to my gut. Is society mostly walking away from it and not giving their support? It breaks your heart. I felt so small like any of my troubles could compare to the emotional trauma caused by abandonment these men are feeling.
I know, my blog is about camp food, and there was food like that prepared at this retreat. I didn’t see it coming, I felt good initially about going and helping and came home humbled, saddened by the stories of loneliness and battles lost. Also there is a ton of positives, the Reel Recovery organization is incredible. The day we left for our different places of abode was warm and joyful but also full of tears. I for one plan on not taking for granted that people living with cancer. I am going to be there even if it’s a small amount of my life.
Be Well and Fish On!