WARM RIVER, Idaho - Eleven men wrapped up a weekend of fly fishing in Warm River Sunday afternoon, but it wasn't just a weekend getaway for a group of buddies. These strangers came together to share their battle with cancer.
Men, by nature, aren't exactly known to discuss their inner thoughts and fears, but at Three Rivers Ranch a room full of men did just that. Dick Wilson organized the weekend retreat for the nonprofit support group Reel Recovery. The program is nationwide and has been operating in Idaho for three years.
"Jokingly, we say fly fishing is the hook to get them to come to the retreat," said Wilson.
When the men aren't fly fishing with guides they have six-group therapy session to renew their hope.
"You get them away from the hustle and bustle of their daily life," said Wilson. "You get them in a circle with other men facing similar problems and they open up amazingly."
Participant Allyn Kyes was diagnosed with colon cancer in December. He finished chemotherapy treatments in July and said he's feeling much better.
"I got to understand that a lot of people had it a lot worse than I did," said Kyes.
Kyes and the rest of the men don't have to pay a penny the whole weekend. This time, Reel Recovery didn't have to pay either. Lonnie Allen, the owner of Three Rivers Ranch, was thrilled when Wilson approached her about a retreat.
"I was so taken by it that I said, 'you know this would work really well into our season,'" said Allen.
Allen took care of everything.
"He said, 'What would you like us to pay?' I said, 'You know what? You don't have to pay anything,'" said Allen.
Virtually everything was supplied by Three Rivers Ranch, including lodging and food. Allen said it's something she may do again for Wilson and Reel Recovery in the future.
"If you can teach men, encourage men to bring forward their most optimistic thoughts, you've done a huge service," said Wilson.