It was the summer of 2018 and little did I know, my life was about to drastically change. My husband and I had just moved from central New Jersey to beautiful northeastern Pennsylvania. We were spending all our free time exploring the woods, relaxing in the lake, or floating down the river. Then, suddenly at the young age of 32, I found a lump in my breast and was diagnosed with breast cancer. We went from hiking mountains and kayaking, to endless doctor appointments and a roller coaster of emotions.
Shortly after being diagnosed with breast cancer, I quickly entered battle mode and dealt with a year's worth of surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation, doctor visits, second opinions, medications, more surgeries, and so on. After I completed my treatment, I was asked by a good friend to participate in a fly fishing retreat on the Delaware River called Paint the Delaware Pink.
Paint the Delaware Pink is a retreat providing women who have battled through breast cancer a chance to experience fly fishing on the Delaware River. It is a weekend long event that is hosted at The Delaware River Club in Starlight, PA. The participants are all novices to fly fishing who are taught the basics of casting, tying, bugs, and fishing.
Along with the basics of fishing, participants also get to experience a day on the river. Being out on the water allows you to reconnect with nature. It lets you forget about all the tough days spent in the chemo chair or on the radiation table. It clears your mind of all the negatives and forces you to focus on the fish (and how to catch that fish!). All attendees come away with technical skills, new fishing gear and gifts from the many sponsors.
But Paint the Delaware Pink is not only about fly fishing. A major part of the experience is about the time spent with other survivors. Time well spent sharing our stories, venting, comforting each other, laughing, crying, and everything in between. When I look back at my time at the retreat in 2019, I think about the friendships I made, the confidence I gained, and most importantly, I think about how I’m not alone. I was able to talk freely about my experiences through my breast cancer battle with women who all had a similar story. It was comforting to see many of the women THRIVING and it gave me hope for my own future.
— Diane L.