When you’re raised on the fringe of Glacier National Park, there’s no telling where life will take you, but chances are, you’ll follow the call of the wild. Sisters Whitney Milhoan and Hilary Hutcheson were whitewater and fishing guides by the time they were 15. Today, the two still work together, through Casting for Recovery—Whitney as executive director and Hilary as an instructor.
For 20 years, Casting for Recovery has helped women with breast cancer through a program that combines education and peer support with the therapy found in fly fishing.
“The power of what we’re doing for survivors is applicable across the board,” says Whitney. “In terms of physical and mental wellness, the bottom line is the power found in authentic outdoor experience . . . But it’s certainly not specific to breast cancer. The benefits are universal.”
“You can see what fly fishing does for healthy people,” said Hilary. “So think about what it can do for people who actually need a bit more of a boost.”
This spring, CfR will for the first time ever team up with Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, a fly-fishing therapy program targeting disabled veterans and active military personnel. Many disabled veterans suffer from PTSD or from physical disabilities, and have additionally been diagnosed with breast cancer. The two groups are teaming up in April to offer a retreat for 14 vets at Harman’s Luxury Cabins in West Virginia, on the headwaters of the Potomac River. Harman’s donated all accommodations for veterans, staff, and volunteers. CfR is still looking for donors to defray the other associated costs of the event which amount to about $1,500 per participant.
Visit donate.castingforrecovery.org and in the comments section, specify you’d like your donation to be used exclusively for the veterans’ retreat April 21- 23, 2017.
Read the full profile on the Lange Sisters in the Apr/May 2017 issue of Fly Fisherman: