WON Landing Page March 2022

Retro WON: Forget about the ta-tas … save the person

She lay on the couch in her living room, scarf around her head, eyes sunken, looking gray as a cloudy day. “As soon as I get well, we’re going fishing again,” said my friend, Nancy. She’d had chemo treatment # 8 or #9 the day before this one.

I didn’t stay long, but promised her that as soon possible, we’d put on our waders and head back to her favorite fishing hole at nearby Bennett Spring. Her family has been fishing there for three generations, and they own a small cabin near one of the best honey holes in the park.

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(Jess Zink photo)

It’s almost been a little over two years now since that glorious day in the little honey hole at Bennett, when Nancy and I stepped in, cast and simultaneously caught our first fish of the day … the first fish of her remission!

And, now, with October being the 27th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I can’t help but think that the thought of being able to fish again inspired Nancy to get better. It’s not about catching a beautiful rainbow lunker so much – although trout with lemon and butter in a foil packet on the grill is delicious. It’s more about being outdoors and standing there in a stream that reminds you of life and its constant changes.

Or not … somedays, it’s about forgetting about life and going into the healing zone as you concentrate on whether the fish are going to like that midge or black ant. Let’s face it … it’s not about saving the ta-tas, or the rack or whatever vulgar term we want to attach to the word breasts. It’s about the person, the heart and soul that lie behind those physical pieces of body mass.

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Nancy Zink. One of the best high school teachers in the world! Photo by Barbara Baird.

For whatever reason, just know that it’s never too late to learn to fish. Or, that it’s never too late in the season to fish – just put on another layer or two under your waders. And, that if you know a woman who would benefit from a Casting for Recovery Retreat, then get her connected with it and others that promote healing the mind and the body through nature.

We have decided to highlight women who fought breast cancer this month at The WON. Maybe some of them aren’t classified as “victors” because they passed away, another name on cancer’s roll. But maybe they left a legacy because they loved the outdoors and shared their passion with others. Tell us about them. And we’ll tell you about the Nancy-like women in our lives.


A Retro WON (First published Oct. 2, 2011)

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Nancy Zink — fishing again! Photo by Barbara Baird.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.


The Conversation

  • Gretchen Steele says: October 4, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Barb – thank you for sharing with us not only your story and Nancy’s story but the most important thought of all – Save the PERSON.
    I know from experience that the outdoors is my best medicine, and my best therapy.

  • Tammy says: October 3, 2011 at 7:22 am

    What a heartwarming story, Barb! Thanks for sharing this with all of us. I know the outdoors can heal the soul, if you let it into your life.

  • Beth Boschee-Huseby says: October 2, 2011 at 10:10 pm

    My sister Barbara Baird wrote this article from heart and soul. This I know is true. As a Medical/Oncology nurse I have experienced many women with breast cancer and taking their mind off this awful disease even for a little while is sometimes the best medicine, thanks for taking them fishing! I loved the title Save the Person not the ta tas! Yes, we in the medical field love the world save, writers like you offer that hope thank you Barbara.

  • Teri says: October 2, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Great article. Being outdoors is life & living. And its Not about saving the ta-tas.. A woman is still who she is and enjoys her passions – with or without breasts.

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