2018-01-10 / Arts & Entertainment

Reeling in donations for breast cancer retreat

By Dee Menear Irregular Staff Writer


Fish Tales and Cocktails silent auction will features items such as this handcrafted Pink Pack Basket with carry straps and bait bucket lamp, as well as gift certificates, apparel, jewelry and much more. The auction will be held Saturday, Jan. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Sugarloaf Hotel. (Nancy Taylor photo) Fish Tales and Cocktails silent auction will features items such as this handcrafted Pink Pack Basket with carry straps and bait bucket lamp, as well as gift certificates, apparel, jewelry and much more. The auction will be held Saturday, Jan. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Sugarloaf Hotel. (Nancy Taylor photo) CARRABASSETT VALLEY — The 19th Annual Fish Tales and Cocktails fundraising auction to benefit Casting for Recovery: Maine will take place at the Sugarloaf Hotel Saturday, Jan. 13 from 5 to 7 p.m. Proceeds reeled in from the silent auction —as well as cash donations collected throughout the year— help fund a weekend fly-fishing retreat for 14 women who have had a breast cancer diagnosis. Although Casting for Recovery is nationwide program, money raised at this auction fund the 2018 Maine retreat, which is offered at no cost to participants.

Since, 1998, Casting for Recovery: Maine Program Coordinator Bonnie Holding has organized the annual two-and-a-half-day retreats. Holding coined the term “Fish Tales and Cocktails” when she held the first fundraising auction two decades ago. Casting for Recovery picked up the catchy phrase and “Fish Tales and Cocktails” fundraisers are held nationwide to assist with retreats in other states.

Founded in 1996, Casting for Recovery is a nationwide organization whose mission is to enhance the quality of life for women with breast cancer. They provide retreats designed to promote and support mental and physical healing among breast cancer patients and survivors. The retreats use counseling, medical education and instruction in fly fishing to provide an opportunity for women at any age, or stage of treatment. Currently, 55 retreats are offered across the country each year, serving nearly 800 women and relying on 1,600 volunteers, including medical and psychosocial professionals, fly fishing instructors and alumnae.

Casting for Recovery participants are chosen at random from a pool of applications. The retreats incorporate fly fishing instruction, emotional support and overall well-being. Participants learn casting skills, how to tie knots, and basic entomology. They also build a community with fellow participants, which is an important aspect of the retreat since nearly 70 percent of Casting for Recovery participants have never been to a support group.

The weekend ends with a half day of one-on-one guided catch-and-release fly fishing excursion. To date, more than 260 women have attended Maine retreats, which have been held at premier sporting camps throughout the state. The 2018 Casting for Recovery retreat will be held at Red River Camps in Portage.

Most attendees have no prior fly fishing experience, so why offer such a focused retreat? The casting motion of fly fishing provides a movement for joint and soft tissue stretching. The dynamics of fly fishing relieves everyday stressors and provides a sense of calmness. The retreats provide an opportunity for social support and spending time in a beautiful, natural setting. The focus of the retreat is on wellness rather than illness.

Items donated to the fundraiser include guided fishing trips, fly rods, fishing gear, original artwork, unique jewelry and gift certificates. Many Mountain Princesses (as Holding refers to past participants) become involved in fundraising and promoting Casting for Recovery, and several donate items to the auction.

A cash bar will be available. Tiaras are encouraged. Cash, check and credit cards will are accepted payments for donations and auction winnings.

For more information about the Maine program and fundraiser or to make a donation, contact Holding at edgeofme1@yahoo.com or 629-7790. To learn more about the national program, visit castingforrecovery.org.

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