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Reel Recovery

Mission & Purpose
The mission of Reel Recovery is to help men in the cancer recovery process by introducing them to the healing powers of the sport of fly-fishing, while providing a safe, supportive environment to explore their personal experiences of cancer with others who share their stories.

Their purpose is to address the growing demand for and limited supply of support services specifically tailored for men with cancer. Their overarching goal is to improve the lives of the men they serve. They seek to give these courageous men a respite from their day-to-day concerns so that they might gain a fresh outlook on their fight with cancer; They facilitate discussions that give them strength, encouragement and a new network of friends and support; They provide cancer information and resources to enable better management of their disease; and they provide them new skills to bring joy, enthusiasm and renewed hope as they confront the challenges of their cancer survivorship.

Program Goals

  • To provide a safe, reflective environment for the participants to discuss their cancer experience with other men who have gone through it too, thereby providing support and information to help them in their recovery.
  • To provide introductory fly-fishing instruction that enables the participants to learn a new skill, form a healing connection with nature, and participate in a sport they can continue throughout their recovery and lifetime.
  • To provide participants information about cancer-related resources, both in the local community and nationally, to facilitate networking and enhanced management of their recovery.

    Your greatest gift is what you give of yourself.
    Stewart Brown made this comment to a group of men gathered at the first ever Reel Recovery Retreat in Loveland, CO, just three days before he was to go into surgery on his brain tumor. That was Stu, always thinking of others, even as he faced his own greatest challenge.

    It was Stu’s determination to give to others that formed the cornerstone of Reel Recovery. An avid fly-fisher, Stu spent many hours during the three years after his cancer diagnosis in the peaceful beauty of Colorado waters. He dedicated his final months to the creation of Reel Recovery, so other men facing similar battles could experience the healing serenity that fly-fishing had offered him.

    Inspired by his vision, passion and courage, a group of men joined with Stu to establish Reel Recovery in May, 2003. Though his health was beginning to deteriorate, Stu was able to attend the first Retreat in June, along with his son Tyson, who served as volunteer staff. The two were able to share moments of joy, pain, fear and love as they fished together and shared their stories with the rest of the group.

    In Stu’s last weeks, in failing health, he summoned his strength to meet with world-champion cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong. Stu was determined to share with Lance his vision of Reel Recovery and the importance of this program to future cancer survivors. Stu’s inspiring courage was met with a generous hand in return; the Lance Armstrong Foundation provided Reel Recovery with a generous three-year grant, ensuring that Stu’s legacy would live on through Reel Recovery for many years to come.

    Reel Recovery is dedicated to Stewart Brown.
    To get involved with Reel Recovery, please visit them at
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