Cancer retreat a winner

Lisa Brits and guide Russell Kennedy at the Owen River retreat last year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Lisa Brits and guide Russell Kennedy at the Owen River retreat last year. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

While fly-fishing may not seem like a typical breast cancer recovery strategy, it gave one Dunedin woman the space to come to terms with her illness.

With her health now in order, she wants other people with breast cancer to have the same opportunity.

Lisa Brits attended a fly-fishing retreat - Casting for Recovery - in Nelson two years ago with 10 other women from the South Island.

Casting for Recovery is a two and a-half day retreat which allows women with breast cancer the chance to get together in a beautiful natural setting and learn to fly-fish.

It offers participants an opportunity to experience the peace, solitude and feeling of being in the moment that fly-fishing provides.

Mrs Brits said it gave her the time to breathe and think about her diagnosis.

"It was the first time really where you get to step outside your family and everything else that is going on and learn something new in a supportive environment with like-minded people.

"We don't get the opportunity to stop and take time.''

As well as teaching fly-fishing, the retreat also incorporated other services to promote participants' wellbeing.

"It's about learning a new skill and getting out in nature as well as the pampering side.''

In April, Mrs Brits went on the retreat as a helper.

She found the experience so worthwhile she wanted to make it available to more people in the South Island.

Now, with the help of friend Kay Poulter, she has planned two retreats for people in the lower South Island - one in Wanaka in November and the other in Athol in April - called Casting for Recovery South.

"[We are] working really hard to get it off the ground.''

All the people involved, from the lodge owners to the guides, had volunteered their time and services to help out.

"They are just doing it out of the goodness of their hearts.

"These are just strangers to us doing something good.''

The pair have started a Givealittle page to raise money for the equipment needed for the trip. In total, they estimate it will cost about $11,000.

Mrs Brits said spaces on the retreats were still available.

To give to Casting for Recovery South, go to https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/castingforrecoverysouth.

JESSICA.WILSON @thestar.co.nz

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