Your greatest gift is what you give of yourself.

Stewart Brown

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.

lanceIt 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.

Watch “Be Well! Fish On! The Story of Reel Recovery” here