Fly fishing to help cancer survivors heal

18:54, Feb 13 2013
helen hayes
NEW SPORT: Cancer survivor Helen Hayes with a photo of her daughter Alison, in Wellington, who is also a survivor. The mother-daughter duo are attending a Casting for Recovery fly-fishing retreat in Nelson in April.

Timaru mother Helen Hayes and her 37-year-old daughter, Alison, are both recovering from breast cancer and are excited to hear fly-fishing lessons will be available in South Canterbury next year to help women like them heal.

Mrs Hayes is one of the 44 women in South Canterbury who was diagnosed with breast cancer last year.

A story in Tuesday's Timaru Herald on charitable organisation Casting for Recovery (CFR) teaching breast cancer survivors fly fishing has prompted Timaru's Jude McLauchlan to organise the project in South Canterbury next year.

The arm action of casting when fly fishing prevents scar tissue adhesion and being close to nature also has relaxing psychological benefits for the women.

Mrs McLauchlan's husband, Paul, is a professional fishing guide and will volunteer his time along with some of his employees to teach the women.

Casting for Recovery was founded in 1996 in America, by a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisher. It was introduced to New Zealand as Casting For Recovery by Sherrie Feickert in 2010.


In consultation with CFR, Mrs McLauchlan is planning a one-day session at Opihi River or Opuha in March next year.

Though CFR will help promote the lessons and share expertise, each district must find its own funding within their community.

The McLauchlans hope that if they get enough sponsorship they can look at a three-day retreat in Tekapo or the back country.

Like many people, the McLauchlans have had family and friends affected by breast cancer and want to do something to make a difference.

Cancer survivor Mrs Hayes, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994, has battled other cancers and then discovered she had another breast cancer last year.

Her daughter, who lives in Wellington, was diagnosed in 2011.

The Timaru Herald