SIMSBURY, Conn. - The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG) today announced a new sponsorship of Casting for Recovery, a national non-profit organization that provides a unique approach for women to recover both physically and emotionally from breast cancer through fly fishing.
The sponsorship will be used to support weekend fly fishing retreats that are specifically designed for women who have or who have had breast cancer. By learning to fly fish, women experience emotional and physical healing, interact with others who have battled the disease, and gain confidence from learning new skills. The retreats, which are provided at no cost to participants, take place at top lodges and inns across the country.
The Hartford is sponsoring Casting for Recovery as part of its efforts to raise awareness about the fight against breast cancer and spotlight the considerable progress being made against the disease in recent years. Last year, The Hartford became the first life insurer in the nation to offer life insurance to women age 40 and older who have been treated for early stages of breast cancer at the same rates as other healthy women their age. Previously, women treated for this disease would have to pay more for coverage or would be denied coverage.
"We are committed to improving the lives of women who have or who have had breast cancer," said Michael Kalen, executive vice president and director of The Hartford's individual life division. "Whether it's enhancing their family's financial security by making life insurance more affordable -- or helping them physically and emotionally recover from fighting the disease -- The Hartford wants to make a difference."
"There is a growing waiting list of women who want to participate in Casting for Recovery's retreats and The Hartford's sponsorship will make it possible for more women to experience our program's healing powers," said Seline Skoug, executive director for CFR. "Breast cancer is known to affect one out of every eight women in the United States at some time in her life. So there is a tremendous need for rehabilitation and recovery."
Each CFR retreat relies on local volunteers and organizations for support, and accommodates 14 participants. Women learn the fundamentals of fly fishing, entomology, knot-tying, equipment basics and, most importantly, spend time in the water practicing the joys of catch-and-release fly fishing. The retreats feature a psychotherapist, a physical therapist, nurse or other health care professional, and four fly fishing instructors. Any woman who has experienced breast cancer is eligible to attend a retreat providing she receives clearance from her physician.
The techniques learned in fly fishing provide a gentle exercise for joint and soft tissue mobility, important for the physical recovery of breast cancer patients and survivors. Wading into the waters of a stream or brook with a fly rod provides a healing connection to the natural world, relieving the stress of every day life, and promoting a sense of calm.
Counseling and medical information is available throughout the weekend, and the retreats offer a forum for women with similar experiences to meet, share new experiences, and gain a respite from their everyday concerns.
"By joining hands with Casting for Recovery, The Hartford can help women recover from this disease with confidence and a great support network," Kalen said. "The Hartford is proud to cast a line of support to Casting for Recovery as it builds its national infrastructure."
To make a donation to Casting for Recovery, or to learn more about its program, call 1-888-553-3500 or visit its web site at www.castingforrecovery.org.
The Hartford, a Fortune 100 company, is one of the nation's largest financial services and insurance companies, with 2005 revenues of $27.1 billion. The Hartford is a leading provider of investment products, life insurance and group benefits; automobile and homeowners products; and business property and casualty insurance. International operations are located in Japan, Brazil and the United Kingdom. The Hartford's Internet address is www.thehartford.com.