Casting for Recovery: Making a difference

Casting for Recovery, East Tennessee (CFR) would like to thank Team UT-Battelle and the ATLC for making a difference in the lives of breast cancer survivors, including one of our own employees, Diane Ciarlette of Human Resources Directorate.

This year I was very fortunate to be selected to attend the 2014 Casting for Recovery retreat. I had a weekend I will never forget. The retreat gave me opportunity to receive powerful tools to overcome the challenges of breast cancer, and an opportunity for me to learn how to fly fish, but I realized it was more than that. It was chance for me to be with extraordinary women who have gone through breast cancer and to share our experiences. I feel we met as strangers, but we left as friends. It reminded me how much courage we all have—and how blessed I am. I can’t say enough about the volunteers and river helpers that helped at this event they were absolutely marvelous. I was able to learn to fly fish and catch two fish. The volunteers catered to our every need. The place they held the event was absolutely breathe taking. Some of these women who attended this retreat never have a chance to get away and to feel special. This retreat gave them that opportunity.  I want to thank UT-Battelle and ATLC for sponsoring this event, without their support this retreat would not be possible. It truly made a difference in the lives of 14 women who attended this conference.

Each April Casting for Recovery provides a no cost education and support weekend to breast cancer survivors living in Tennessee. Our unique program combines the physical and mental healing aspects of fly fishing along with health professionals to ensure that each woman is empowered with her own treatment and/or recovery.

Cindy Mayfield, also from Human Resources Directorate, served as one of our volunteer staff members throughout the retreat. Cindy was responsible for ensuring each woman felt as if she were a queen and was among people who truly cared about them as they came out of their comfort zones by attending a CFR retreat.

As a first-time hospitality volunteer I didn’t quite know what to expect, but I was really excited about going. What a weekend it was! I was truly impressed by the ladies who volunteer their time (before, during and after the weekend) to make the weekend retreat possible for the participants – they worked like a well-oiled machine. I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the participants throughout the weekend – helping to fit them  for their waders and boots, tying their first fly, putting their rods together, and catching their first fish on a beautiful day in the Smokies. However, the most special part was watching the volunteers’ commitment and passion for helping others, the sometimes tearful gratitude of the participants as they were showered with unexpected gifts, and the compassionate fellowship of ladies walking a similar path together. I’m already looking forward to next year and contributing to the opportunity for next year’s participants to experience a respite among fish and new friends.

Please join us for Casting for Recovery's 5th Annual Turning Leaf Tour on October 19, 2014, during the peak of fall colors. We have a new route this year and will begin at Knoxville Bicycle Company (KBC) on Hardin Valley Road and will ride to Melton Hill Dam. If you are adventurous, the long route will take you up Hwy 95 to Bethel Valley Road through ORNL and back to KBC through Solway. If you are not a bicycle rider, you can also help support our program by purchasing raffle tickets on the Turning Leaf Tour website.

If you are or know a breast cancer survivor and would like to apply for a chance to attend our April 2015 retreat or would like more information about this year’s bicycle ride, please contact Lindsay Long at; or 865-742-4143. You can read more about our program on our national program website.

Diane Ciarlette with her River Helper Matt Kulp
Cindy Mayfield holding hula hoops
Kathy Rimmer and Diane Ciarlette (back) and Cindy Mayfield and Sandra Price (front) fitting the ladies with waders and boots



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