SUN VALLEY -- Fourteen men facing the toughest battle of their lives got the opportunity to escape their cancer diagnosis for one weekend.
For the third year, the national Reel Recovery program held a retreat for men of any age with any type of cancer.
The participants spent three days on the Lost River fly fishing, and also got the chance to take part in group counseling sessions.
For three days, the participants get to fly fish on a crystal clear river beneath the Pioneer Mountains.
The men stay at the Wild Horse Creek Ranch, not far from the water.
While most of their time is spent fishing, they also take part in group counseling sessions called "courageous conversations."
Dozens of volunteers are at hand, and each participant has a fishing buddy to help them on the river.
The weekend is completely free for the men. The only thing they need is a fishing license.
The participants are all ages, with all stages and types of cancer.
Some are seasoned fishermen, while others have never cast a line before.
ONE PARTICIPANT'S STORY
Dan Higgins is 41 years old.
He found out he has rectal cancer in May and has already been through chemotherapy.
His energetic spirit is easy to see and is reflected in his promise to beat cancer.
"I'm going to fight this thing, and I'm going to win," said Higgins. "I don't have an option."
But Higgins admits that before the Reel Recovery retreat, he felt like his was fighting the battle alone.
"When you get diagnosed, it's all you think about," said Higgins. "You get out of bed, and it's with you the entire day."
He says the weekend away, on the river with new friends, has completely changed his perspective.
"Coming here you have earned a new family or gained some understanding you are not alone, and every one of these guys has similar stories," said Higgins.
One of those guys is his fishing buddy for the weekend, Larry Boyd.
Boyd was diagnosed with the same cancer at the same age 20 years ago.
"There were times it brought back memories and a fair amount of emotion for me." said Boyd.
Higgins says its the support from people like Boyd, along with all the other participants, that really makes a difference.
If you would like to learn more about Reel Recovery, just click HERE.
You can also make donations to the organization.
The retreat was held at Wildhorse Creek Ranch, and the weekend was absolutely free for each participant.