These flies are quite special to me, because each is tied with a prayer. I will never fish them. I will probably never meet the ones who become the eventual owners. Perhaps they will fish them, perhaps not. Perhaps those who fish them will catch a fish, and perhaps not.
None of that really matters so much. These flies, tied with my meager abilities, are part of the healing process for a select group of breast cancer survivors.
Each year, one of my fellow members of the Guadalupe River chapter of Trout Unlimited, sends out a call for the fly tiers in the club to donate some flies to Casting For Recovery , a nonprofit group that introduces breast cancer survivors to fly fishing.
The ladies are given a weekend of fly fishing, complete with guides, gear, and lodging.
I tied flies for the retreats for two years before my own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was caught early, and she made a full recovery. This will be my third year donating flies.
As I tie, I smile at the stories relayed to us about the reactions of the ladies when they receive their flies.
Some like the bright pink flies we tie as much for show as anything else. They love to put the pretty ones in the brims of their hats, not wanting to risk losing them in the river, or worse, getting them dirty.
But the story I cherish the most is the one that recalls how every time the flies are given out, tears are shed because the ladies realize that they were tied by someone who cared about them even though they never met.
I like to think that some of the good things we do generates good deeds by the recipients, and like the movie of a few years ago, we can pay if forward. Now that’s change I can believe in.
If you know of a lady who you think might benefit from what Casting For Recovery offers, get them signed up. No experience is necessary, and the benefits can last a lifetime.