Casting for Recovery, Lily Renzetti Gives Strength To Breast Cancer Survivors
By Maria Sonnenberg // June 28, 2015
central florida humanitarian spotlight
ABOVE VIDEO: The Florida chapter of Casting for Recovery was launched in 2010 by Lily Renzetti who owns a Titusville-based manufacturer of fly fishing equipment. Renzetti, impressed by what she had witnessed at Casting for Recovery retreats around the country, began efforts to bring the concept to Florida.
2013 CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIAN
Anyone who has ever tried fly fishing knows that the pastime is more than just a sport. It can change your perspective on life.
For women battling breast cancer, the fly fishing sessions provided by the Casting for Recovery program are an opportunity for life-changing experiences.
“I found answers, hope, support and friendship at Casting for Recovery,” said Debbie Bradley, a breast cancer survivor that lost a breast and 29 lymph nodes and required extensive chemotherapy, radiation and reconstructive surgeries.
“I found strength in our group of wounded warriors. I found hope that life would return again to normal.”
The Florida chapter of Casting for Recovery was launched in 2010 by Lily Renzetti who owns a Titusville-based manufacturer of fly fishing equipment.
Renzetti, impressed by what she had witnessed at Casting for Recovery retreats around the country, began efforts to bring the concept to Florida.
Every April in Florida, 14 breast cancer survivors selected in a random drawing of applicants meet in Brevard for a weekend of camaraderie, exercise and discovery.
The group is kept small to take the best advantage of the interaction between survivors, counselors and the fly fishing guides.
“That way we can really make an impact for the participants,” said Renzetti.
Originally founded in Vermont by a breast cancer reconstructive surgeon and a professional fly fisherman, Casting for Recovery is based on the healing power of the natural world.
Participants are given a weekend, free of all costs and free of the stresses of medical treatment, home and workplace, to be challenged in beautiful surroundings within a nurturing structure.
FISH TALES & COCKTAILS
The retreats incorporate counseling and educational services led by trained facilitators, including a psycho-social therapist and a physical therapist, oncologist, nurse or other health care professional.
Alumni groups meet twice a year for an outing where volunteers are also invited to attend. “They become friends, and go fishing or kayaking,” said Renzetti.
Casting for Recovery is not the only charity Renzetti supports. The former president of the Pilot Club of Titusville, Renzetti remains active on the board of this organization, which promotes mental health through support of Joe’s Club, The Children’s Center and the North Brevard Sharing Center, among others.
To make the Brevard Casting for Recovery retreats reality, Renzetti had to cast throughout Florida to organize a corps of more than 30 volunteers that include counselors, fly fishing instructors, boat captains and river guides.
Events such as “Fish Tales and Cocktails,” held at the Institute of Military Technology at Knight Armament help raise the $15,000 to $18,000 the annual event costs. Renzetti also hosts an open house for the “who’s who” in the fly-fishing industry to benefit Casting for Recovery, as well as other charities the company supports.
Breast cancer forever changes a woman, no matter how many years she lives. Deborah McGauley, a 17-year survivor, participated in a Casting retreat.
“The truth is that it doesn’t really go away,” said McGauley. “There are scares along the years, and it is strange for those close to us to see the need for confirmation again and again.”
Through the use of fly fishing as a “hook,” the healing retreats empower women to overcome the challenges of breast cancer.
“The whole concept is so beautiful,” said Renzetti. “It’s magic, what happens on those Casting for Recovery weekends.”
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The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
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