Casting for Recovery Iowa

Casting for Recovery Iowa I recently caught up with Casting for Recovery Iowa volunteer Kirby Nelson to chat about the organization and what they’re doing in Iowa.

What is CFR?
Casting for Recovery (CFR) is a national non-profit organization with local programming in a majority of states in the US. CFR was established in 1996 through the collaboration of a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher. The intention of this program was to incorporate the restorative powers of nature while also providing a weekend respite for breast cancer survivors- free of charge and the stresses of their daily lives. It’s a great opportunity for women affected by the disease to commune with other survivors and be introduced to the sport of fly-fishing. Each retreat incorporates counseling, educational services, and the trained facilitators include a psychosocial therapist, health care professionals, as well as experienced fly-fishing instructors and river helpers.

How did you get involved?
I heard about this organization through family members and was initially drawn to Casting for Recovery’s unique concept of offering an expense free weekend for breast cancer survivors. Women who have been affected by the disease have experienced so much and really deserve a relaxing weekend away. I wanted to be a part of providing this opportunity to these women.

Casting for Recovery Iowa

You recently had your first CFR outing in Iowa. How did it go?
Iowa’s first annual retreat was held on October 11-13th at the Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah. It was a beautiful fall weekend and fourteen wonderful women from all across Iowa participated. The women received a crash course in fly-fishing; ranging from what bugs fish eat, how to tie flies, and casting. In addition, medical and psychosocial sessions were held for women to open up with questions or concerns in relation to their experience with breast cancer and discuss in an intimate, nurturing environment. The weekend culminated in the Sunday morning fly fishing outing. Each participant was paired with an experienced volunteer fly fisher and spent a few hours on the stream near the Decorah hatchery. For a majority of participants, even though it was their first time fly-fishing, many caught fish! We have received great feedback from the participants and are already looking forward to the retreat next year!

How can I get more involved as a participant or volunteer?
The collaboration of the community is important in insuring the future success of CFR Iowa. We welcome any individual who is interested in supporting this organization, whether it is through volunteering or a financial contribution. In addition, we are currently seeking out women to participate in next year’s retreat. Facebook and email are two great ways to get in touch with us! Please feel free to “like” us on Facebook to receive updated information about future fundraising events and the annual retreat. You can find our page under Casting For Recovery- Iowa. You can also email us directly at More information concerning the national program can be found at

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